According to 74% of UK employees, traditional performance reviews are not useful, with most employees going so far as to call them ‘time-consuming’ and ‘pointless’. At the same time, effective reviews are a necessary component of a productive work environment. How can managers bridge that gap?
The majority of employees don’t enjoy performance reviews, and yet 96% of employees actively look for regular feedback on their work and overall performance. This shows that the problem isn’t with the concept of giving feedback, but rather with how that feedback is delivered.
Managers need to find ways to leverage those dreaded performance reviews so that they change from a mutually disliked event into a motivational boost.
The reviews themselves
Right now, most employees are working for home as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 crisis. This means that any performance reviews have to be well-adapted to the remote working situation we’ve found ourselves in.
The key is that employee experience has to be at the center of the entire process. Since in-person reviews are likely to be impossible for the foreseeable future, managers will have to find other ways of providing feedback that align with their team members’ needs. This way, they can focus on empowering remote employees while still providing them with valuable feedback.
Making remote reviews work
Providing a great remote experience for your employees involves being prepared to consider many different options that will help make the switch from in-person, face-to-face communication as smooth as possible.
For example, when giving employees their performance reviews, there are many kinds of software that can help. The review itself could take the form of a written report, a video call, a voice call, or various others.
Voice calls in particular are very useful. To be cost-effective they require VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) software, which means it’s important to look into VoIP advantages and disadvantages before making a final decision. It will also be very helpful to ensure your managers have a voice over IP solution they can rely on, prepared ahead of time.
The impact of performance reviews
When managers are able to give their teams helpful, constructive performance reviews, the members of those teams become more motivated. This is because an excellent review helps employees feel recognized and appreciated – an especially important factor to consider when 1 in 4 employees leave companies because they do not feel recognized.
Motivated employees who feel their achievements are being noticed will be happier to contribute to the company they work for. Regular reviews that address accomplishments and areas that need improvement also help to combat the feeling of not knowing what to do that 50% of employees experience.
Or, to put it more simply: really great performance reviews will keep employees motivated, which creates a boost in their productivity.
Helpful topics to cover
One thing should always guide how you leverage the creation of performance reviews: the important topics that will help employees improve the most.
An example of one of these is shift planning. Does your employee seem less productive on days when they’ve taken many long shifts in a row? Then perhaps it’s time to advise them to change up this pattern, and to let their manager know to amend the shift plans accordingly.
It would certainly also be helpful to consider the benefits of a flexible work week, and to decide whether this would be a productive solution to the employee’s problem.
Another is training. Many employees can benefit from further online education, which can help them prepare for a variety of situations and improve their responses to circumstances they encounter often. This is especially important in a remote work environment, since mentors can’t speak face-to-face to mentees and thus learning becomes more difficult for many people.
One topic that’s especially important in the current crisis is employee welfare. It can be harder to spot whether employees are struggling when their managers can’t see them all the time, which is an unfortunate consequence of the impact of COVID-19.
Advice going forward
When you’re looking to make the most of employee performance reviews, there are three things to keep in mind.
Firstly, the reviews must be tailored to the employee. If they’re struggling with CTI (computer telephony integration) as a result of working from home for the first time, they’ll need to be advised to seek out the best CTI call center help that the company has access to.
Secondly, managers should look to make sure that they’re delivering the reviews in a format that’s productive to both them and the person they’re reviewing. Whether that’s video calling, online voice chatting, or another medium, it’s crucial to check that it’s the best option for all parties involved.
And lastly, reviews should cover the right topics. Those topics have to be relevant to the employees, and more importantly, they’ve got to help them improve. This includes picking up on and praising areas where the employee performed well, so that their morale stays high and drives their motivation.
Elea is the SEO Content Optimization manager for RingCentral, the leader in global enterprise communication and collaboration solutions on the cloud. She has more than a decade's worth of experience in on-page optimization, editorial production, and digital publishing. She spends her free time learning new things.