If you manage a remote team, performance reviews may feel a little daunting. Whenever you have feedback, you can't just pop into your remote employee's office for a quick chat.
However, performance reviews for remote workers don't have to be difficult. With a little planning, they can be an incredibly valuable tool for supporting your remote team and helping them grow in their roles.
Remote Performance Reviews vs. In-Person Performance Reviews
Performance reviews for remote workers are generally similar to those for traditional employees, with a few key differences.
For one, because remote workers are not in the office every day, their supervisors may have less day-to-day interaction with them. As a result, performance reviews for remote workers may place more emphasis on objective measures such as project deadlines and milestones (rather than on subjective measures such as "attitude" or "teamwork.")
Another key difference is that performance reviews for remote workers may give more weight to written and oral communication skills. This is because remote workers rely heavily on written and oral communication to stay connected with their team members and colleagues. As such, supervisors will be looking for clear, concise, and effective writing and speaking skills when assessing remote employees.
Finally, performance reviews for remote workers may place greater emphasis on time management skills. This is because one of the challenges of working remotely is staying disciplined and avoiding distractions. As such, supervisors will be looking for evidence that remote employees are able to manage their time effectively and meet deadlines.
Here are a few tips to get the most out of performance reviews with your remote employees.
Related Content: Key hiring metrics for new employees
Set Clear Expectations From the Start
One of the most important things you can do to set your remote team up for success is to communicate your expectations early and often.
When you're hiring a remote employee, take some time to explain what your company's culture is like and what you expect from your team in terms of work ethic, communication, and collaboration. Make sure your new hire has a clear understanding of their role within the company and what kind of tasks they will be responsible for on a day-to-day basis.
If you haven't already had that conversation, now is the time!
Before you sit down for a performance review, take some time to review the expectations you set at the beginning of the relationship. This will help you identify any areas where your expectations haven't been met and give you a chance to address them head-on. It will also help ensure that both you and your employee are on the same page moving forward.
Related Content: What is an open door philosophy?
Schedule Regular Check-Ins
When you have employees working remotely, it can be easy for communication to break down. To prevent this, schedule regular check-ins with your employees. This will give them an opportunity to receive feedback when it matters most and make adjustments. It will also give them the opportunity to ask any questions or voice any concerns they might have.
Related Content: The most important HR metrics
Be Direct & honest
When it comes to feedback, there's no room for sugarcoating things - especially during performance reviews.
This isn't to say that you should be needlessly harsh or critical, but it is important to be direct about any areas where improvement is needed. The goal of a performance review is to help your employees grow in their roles; therefore, honesty is key. If you're not honest about the areas where improvement is needed, your employees won't be able to make the changes necessary to succeed.
Be specific in your feedback and avoid general comments like "you need to do better."
Instead, focus on specific instances where improvements can be made.
For example, "I noticed that you didn't respond to my email about the Smith project until after the deadline had passed. In the future, I'd appreciate it if you could reply to my emails within 24 hours."
By being specific, you'll help your employees understand what they need to change and how they can improve.
Related Content: What is a skip level interview?
Create an Action Plan
After discussing areas for improvement with your remote employees, it's important to create an action plan outlining how those changes will be made.
What steps will your employee need to take in order to meet (and exceed) your expectations? What resources do they need in order to make those changes? By creating an action plan together, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that concrete steps are being taken towards meeting goals.
Related Content: Your guide to the perfect employee appreciation lunch
Be Prepared to Provide Documentation
To back up your claims during the performance review, be prepared to provide documentation of your successes or challenges throughout the year. This could include emails, reports, or other written materials. If possible, have this documentation easily accessible so that you can refer to it during the meeting if necessary."
Performance reviews may feel daunting if you manage a remote team - but they don't have to be! With clear expectations and open communication, performance reviews can be an incredibly valuable tool for supporting your remote employees and helping them grow in their roles. Use these tips to make sure your next performance review is productive, positive, and successful!
Keep Reading: Common signs an employee is about to quit