Performance management conversations are daunting at any time. They often induce a sense of discomfort due to stress in employees. The outbreak of the COVID pandemic has added to the woes of employees and organisations alike. We are seeing reduced working hours, adjusted goals, shutdowns, or even layoffs as a common phenomenon in these trying times. Businesses have been struggling to stay afloat for a major part of the 2020 year.
How do we talk about performance management in these times? Assessing employees based on their past standards of performance, excluding the time when there were disruptions to the work environment, is not fair. Organisations must devise new ways to assess employee performance in the new world. We have listed the three pivotal considerations that can help organisations revamp their performance review process for the better.
The 3 Things to Consider for Performance Management Post COVID
Biases are the proven factors that can impact our ability to provide objective performance reviews. Performance management systems developed and observed for workplaces before the COVID-19 outbreak must be amended to better align with the present circumstances. Some of the common biases include:
Recency Bias is the phenomenon that you remember more recent information better than older information. When information is presented in a series, the last items in that series are more “recent” so you remember them better. If an employee is unable to perform as per the standards and meet the deadlines, do not be in a hurry to call them out. First, analyse their past performance reviews and look at the entire performance period. If they were doing better in the “normal world”, there can be infinite reasons that can disrupt their work performance in the remote working scenario. You might not be aware of the conditions all your employees are going through during the pandemic.
Preparing managers to consider the entire performance period of an employee and offer help when needed to keep employees motivated will be a fair performance management practice.
Most businesses have switched to a remote working model. Many of your managers might be placing a higher value on the work done in the workplace than the work being done at home. This is often referred to as proximity bias and it can be harmful when assessing performance in a virtual environment.
Coaching and enabling managers to have regular check-ins with their teams to keep up with the progress of projects and day-to-day work done by employees can help overcome this bias. Managers should also talk with employees about their general well-being when working remotely. Implementing a 360-degree feedback method can also work well during these times.
Idiosyncratic Rater Bias
Idiosyncratic rater bias is the tendency to judge the work done by others based on your skill level instead of the skill level of the employee being rated. This bias causes the rater to assess employees solely based on their perception of how difficult or easy the work is done.
Most of the time employees face unfair judgement as the managers rate them down if their skillset is higher or lower than that of the employee. Managers must be made aware of the situations that employees go through each day in a remote working scenario. A task that appears quite simple for the manager might take more efforts from the employee because of the new work conditions. Hence, the importance of feedback increases even more during the pandemic.
Biased performance reviews based on the gender of an employee are prevalent. As the world struggles with the crisis, women find themselves juggling work and personal life. Ensure that your managers don’t assess employees based on their gender and more based on their behaviour towards work. Establish a formalised criterion for assessing performance for all and make sure managers follow that.
Employees who reflect on their work honestly can be valuable assets to an organisation. Self-assessments lead to employees reflecting on their current situations, integrate learnings, plan future goals, and celebrate accomplishments. This reflection is helpful to keep employees in a balanced state of mind. Encouraging employee self-assessment can bring more value to the business.
3. Employee feedback
Performance management can play a key role in determining whether employees feel valued. Businesses must make their employees feel that their contribution is valued. This helps establish the feeling of stability and motivation in employees moving forward. Organisations can emerge stronger than before by recognising and rewarding employees, helping them learn and develop, and treating them fairly.
Organisations need to take a step back and re-work their performance management processes post-COVID-19. What seemed ideal a year ago might be detrimental to the growth of your business and employees. Considering factors such as those mentioned above can take businesses a step ahead in enhancing their performance management strategies.
There are many benefits of using an online performance management system in this remote working scenario. These performance management systems can help your managers focus more on constructing strategies rather than spending valuable hours managing data on paper or spreadsheets. Contact Sentrient for more information today.