Team KritikalhireFebruary 25th, 2023
Performance reviews are the perfect opportunity for employers to communicate an employee's current standing in the company and how they can progress, says Forbes Human Resource Council. They add; it's also the best time to discuss future goals and exchange constructive criticism each party can work on for the following review.
Given the paradigm shift that evolved during the pandemic, performance management in a hybrid working scenario has brought about its challenges and opportunities.
Scott Behson, in his latest article in HBR - Making Performance Reviews Fairer in a Hybrid Workplace, says, "One of the biggest challenges managing in a hybrid work environment is finding ways to assess performance accurately. With some employees working mostly at the office and others working remotely, evaluations mustn't be unduly influenced by how often a manager sees their employee face-to-face."
One has to accept that the 'hybrid workplace' is here to stay, and all human relations practices will have to evolve and get this new norm. Although challenging, the optimist will see an opportunity, considering other advantages.
Hybrid work can be difficult; however, evaluations for hybrid employees need not be so.
Scott states that assessing performance in a hybrid work environment can be challenging. Still, ensuring fair evaluations are not influenced when the manager sees an employee face-to-face is essential. Creative approaches to performance evaluation are necessary at hybrid workplaces to ensure all employees are evaluated and developed according to their merit, regardless of where they do most of their work.
Whatever the methodology of working, there are a few common essential elements that fit into managing performance. Living the organization's culture and values is a must-do, regardless of whether the employee works from the office or home. From a Manager's perspective, frequency and clarity of communication, setting expectations, instant feedback, building trust, and having an informal conversation are some elements applicable in both environments.
Scott has observed that workplaces that have successfully managed the evaluations of hybrid employees under the below three broad methods:
One, they define performance in customer satisfaction, company values, core activities, and project completion. Where a set of 'agreed-upon performance metrics' is in place, continuous tracking of such metrics provides a fair and transparent evaluation system. It also creates accountability for managers in engaging and retaining employees.
Another is to leverage technology. A company can use an app-based system that allows employees to share performance milestones with their teams and managers. This approach focuses on continuous improvement and development, promoting frequent feedback and collaboration. The app-based system levels the playing field by ensuring employees, managers, and co-workers can provide feedback and recognition, regardless of where the work is done.
Finally, companies encourage collaboration and team building by sharing performance assessment responsibilities across the workforce. With these requirements in mind, any company can develop its system for performance evaluations, helping its employees grow and improve regardless of where they are located.
Values-based evaluation approaches create a common platform for assessing the performance of differently situated employees while promoting a unified workplace culture. While incorporating values into performance evaluation isn't necessarily new, redoubling efforts towards this seemed to resonate particularly strongly in hybrid environments.
One of the outcomes of performance evaluation is to decide the future growth in the career path of employees by promoting them to the next level. Deloitte suggests that HR teams and managers have had to adapt their performance management frameworks as work schedules become increasingly flexible. Hence, they are "fit for purpose" within the new hybrid model. Examples include managers not showing unconscious bias when choosing whom to promote between in-office and home-based workers and ensuring that the metrics used to assess worker performance are standardized and objective. In a hybrid work environment, performance reviews should be carried out regularly, and workers should provide feedback consistently so adjustments can be made in real-time. In addition, grading staff on the quality of their output should be prioritized over hours worked.
In conclusion, Scott emphasizes adapting evaluation processes to the changing work environment. Companies should define performance in terms of customer satisfaction, company values, core activities, and project completion. Regular goal-setting and feedback sessions should be incorporated. Performance assessment responsibilities should be shared across the workforce to encourage collaboration and team building.
The use of technology is highly advised to help create a level playing field by ensuring employees, managers, and co-workers can better "see" each other's work and provide feedback no matter where work gets done. The evaluation process has to change to keep up with the times.
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