When used correctly, employee evaluations can help further the goals of your staff and your organization. Unfortunately, great performance reviews also seem to be elusive. One study shows that only 14% of staff members think their evaluations helped them improve. With so many people working from home, switching from face-to-face to remote performance reviews has increased the challenge exponentially.
But it doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ve put together five tips plus some employee gift ideas that’ll help ensure your reviews “Exceed Expectations.”
Tip #1: Give the team member your undivided attention
You see an email come in from a customer and want to scan it to see if it’s urgent. An instant message pings with a question. Your phone rings and you automatically reach for it.
Because we’re so often in remote meetings where we won’t be missed if we answer an IM or send a quick email, it becomes easy to get off-track and give remote discussions less than your full attention. But when done during a performance review, the person being reviewed may feel like they aren’t valued.
Staff will know you’re focused on them when you:
- Avoid multitasking by putting your chat on do not disturb, closing your email and turning off your phone.
- Turn on your video chat so you can talk “face-to-face” and feel less tempted to look away from the screen.
- Pull up all the necessary evaluation paperwork before you start talking—and make sure that’s the only thing open during the conversation.
Tip #2: Document performance throughout the year
Let’s face it—performance reviews can be stressful. In fact, 22% of employees have called in sick because they were anxious about their review.
Much of that stress comes from the fear of unpleasant surprises. Help alleviate those concerns by:
- Documenting feedback throughout the year: By connecting every week or month and documenting any changes a staff member needs to make (or already has made), the employee should have an idea of what’s to come.
- Sharing feedback ahead of time: If you and your employee are going to talk over what’s been documented, give them access to the documentation early so they can review it and be ready to discuss any questions or talking points.
- Addressing concerns as they occur: If you have concerns about your employee’s performance, those concerns should be addressed immediately or during a regularly scheduled meeting, not saved until the performance review.
Tip #3: Praise outstanding performance
As you strive to help your staff members improve, it can be too easy to focus entirely on things that need to be fixed—and forget about all the great things your employees did this year.
Try starting your review with a list of things the staff member does well—or accomplishments that have made a difference for your organization. Consider a few employee gift ideas, like a wireless speaker, collapsible picnic basket or a blanket-lined jacket, to show your gratitude.
Tip #4: Be empathetic and provide advice for improvement when giving constructive feedback
As great as your staff might be, a critical part of every performance review—remote or in-person—is finding ways to improve performance.
To make the process go smoothly:
- Choose empathy: When discussing areas to improve, acknowledge the emotions, concerns and challenges that might have made it difficult for associates to do their best work.
- Have a plan: Offer ideas that can help them improve, whether it’s setting them up with a mentor or buddy or offering online training.
Provide items that might help them achieve goals, like a book of adhesive notes so they can create highly visible reminders, or a journal to track progress toward their goal.
Tip #5: Collect peer feedback
When your staff isn’t sitting at a desk nearby, it can be challenging to see the full scope of an employee’s strengths and interactions throughout the company.
Instead of relying solely on your perceptions of the employee’s challenges and accomplishments, reach out to their peers, team members and other managers who frequently interact with your staff member and ask them to offer their insight.
Reach out and review someone
As remote performance reviews become more common, these tips can help ensure that your reviews make your staff—and the entire organization—better.