Remote work offers increased freedom and flexibility, but it poses a few challenges, too. As a manager in a hybrid workplace environment, you may face difficulties in delivering effective performance reviews to your remote employees. If so, you’re not alone. In a recent survey, more than a third of hybrid workers agree that getting feedback is a challenge. Here are five tips that make performance reviews more meaningful when you can’t be with your employees.
The first step in conducting a remote performance review should happen far in advance of the meeting. This step involves regular check-ins with your employees. Be in the habit of asking how they’re doing, what they need, and how you can help them succeed. Covering these questions regularly allows time for a more profound dialogue between you and your team during the performance review.
When conducting a remote performance review, make sure to use video. Body language is key when delivering open and honest feedback, and facial expressions cue you into whether employees are excited, enthusiastic, embarrassed, bored, distracted, or annoyed. Being able to see one another makes it easier for everyone to better understand each other and avoid miscommunications.
Video technology also allows you to assess your employees’ working environments during the performance review. Minimizing distractions and improving a home workspace go a long way toward helping your employees increase their overall enjoyment and productivity.
Tip #3: Have Remote Employees Complete a Self-Assessment Before the Performance Review
Make sure your employees complete a self-assessment before the performance review. You don’t want them to rush through it, so set aside sufficient time for this step.
To be effective, self-assessment tools must be relevant to your employees’ roles and responsibilities. The goal is to help your remote employees find individual strengths and weaknesses to address during their performance reviews. An effective self-assessment gives you an idea of your employees’ current performance level, helps employees see themselves from another perspective, and enables them to set realistic goals for the future so progress can be discussed during the review.
When conducting a remote performance review, schedule enough time to listen and take notes. Instead of ticking off a list of bullet points, try to make your reviews feel like friendly conversations over coffee or lunch.
To accomplish this, you need to come to the performance review thoroughly prepared. Bring specific information to spark personal discussions about each employee’s strengths and areas for growth. Be prepared with questions, and don’t be afraid to ask them! Asking insightful questions will help your employees understand the importance of the review process and how it benefits them personally and professionally.
Above all, don’t rush the conversation. If necessary, schedule multiple sessions over several days or weeks so everyone can take their time and focus on what’s most important at each stage of the process.
The ultimate goal of performance reviews is to enable your employees to improve, and with this in mind, your focus should be on the future. Instead of rehashing things that happened in the past, focus on what you want to happen next and how your employees can achieve it.
For example, a statement like “I wish you had done more research before presenting” dwells on the past. A statement like “In future presentations, I’d like for you to do additional research” looks ahead to the future.
During performance reviews, consciously focus on the skills and traits that will help your employees move forward. Take time to ask what they hope to accomplish in their work and what they need from you. In addition, draw out a detailed road map that empowers them with timelines, support, and clear objectives.
Effective performance reviews are a crucial part of any company’s HR strategy. They allow you to track your employees’ progress, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and ensure they’re happy in their roles.
Traditionally, we have relied on face-to-face interactions, but more and more, employers are conducting the process remotely. By checking in beforehand, making use of videoconferencing technology, providing self-assessments, scheduling ample time for conversation, and focusing on the future, your remote performance reviews can be just as effective as the ones you do in person.
Shiela Mie Legaspi is President of Cyberbacker.