Performance management in a post-pandemic world – tech and best practice
The pandemic forced us to transform face-to-face teams into remote ones – which took some getting used to. Now that the dust has settled, here are some of the HR best practices and technology that are now driving effective performance within typical post-pandemic remote teams.
The pandemic demanded that we transform our face-to-face teams into remote ones, immediately. This took some getting used to! Back in March 2020, the ensuing turmoil led Facebook to cancel performance appraisals and give 45,000 workers the same ‘exceed expectations’ rating for the first two quarters. Plenty of companies adopted similar approaches, while others sought to re-engineer their face-to-face appraisal at breakneck speed.
This jarring move out of the office to remote teams has been a huge learning curve for organisations seeking to performance-manage remote employees. But much has been learned from this sink-or-swim scenario and is now being deployed post-pandemic.
Below are some of the HR best practices and tech that are now driving effective performance management in the typical post-pandemic remote team.
A supportive culture around flexible working
During the pandemic Gallup polled 1200 supervisors and managers in 24 countries and found that 40% of them were not at all confident in their ability to manage workers remotely. The managers all felt they had a lack of organisational support around flexible working.
The confident remote team managers who self-reported greater efficacy around performance management enjoyed an environment committed to flexibility, in which they received practical support and training around remote working and a supportive culture that included positive messaging and openness about remote working. QED, a supportive culture around flexible working is crucial for effective remote team performance management.
More frequent appraisals tailored to your organisation
The move to hybrid working has rendered the annual appraisal obsolete as it leaves remote managers woefully out of touch with their teams. In fact, hybrid workers who receive performance feedback once a year or less are about 15% engaged compared to those receiving it a few times a month (47% engaged) and a few times a week, (57% engaged). Increased appraisal frequency boosts engagement.
These days half of companies now conduct 3 or more appraisal meetings with employees a year and as a result ‘employees now feel more coached and valued’, according to this article on People Management. One size does not fit all of course as Belgium’s Eurofins, for example, moved to weekly pulses or check-ins to maintain employee support and inspiration, according to that same article.
Pre-pandemic, Adobe led the way in modernizing performance appraisals, being one of the pioneers of the move away from annual paper-based appraisals to a more frequent appraisal style. They developed an HR tool kit for their doing Check-ins as they called them, which you can find here.
Trust is needed for remote worker engagement
The NHS conducted a homeworking study during the pandemic and discovered that 52% of staff reported that, ‘feeling trusted to complete their work at home was one of the most positive benefits of working from home. Through its ‘Managing Homeworkers Policy’ the NHS HR team encourages its staff to engender a culture of trust around homeworking in several ways:
- Allow flexibility around hours where possible so staff can self-optimize working time around ‘quiet or noisy periods at home, availability of IT access, and caring responsibilities for dependants’.
- Managers are asked to focus on results, not activities by setting SMART objectives that are specific, measurable, and have a time frame for delivery to maximize productivity. Managers are expected to clarify how performance will be reviewed and how regularly feedback occurs.
This new kind of dynamic remote performance management does generate a management overhead which can and is being alleviated by HR software designed to automate and augment the goal setting, performance tracking, and setting up appraisal meetings process.
Adobe’s remote-working environment is supported by its own in-house HR software app, called Adobe Life which allows remote employees and teams to stay connected, boosting collaboration and engagement. It’s kind of like their own personal Facebook, including a chat/instant messaging tool, a curated newsfeed specific to their location, including wayfinding, conference room booking, and pre-ordering meals from the café.
Of course, not everyone designs their own app and many just buy an off-the-shelf remote team collaboration and engagement tool like Slack.
Next-Gen Project Management tools like Clickup, Asana, Monday.com and Trello are redefining remote team project management. They are browser-based, user-friendly, and intuitive, have drag-and-drop style functionality, include lots of automation options, and allow remote teams to plan and collaborate on projects with the same efficacy as working face-to-face.
Only in America
And finally, but sadly only available in America, is Pizzatime, which is used by thousands of companies including Nike, Adobe, and Spotify. Pizzatime’s app can arrange for your entire remote team to receive pizza at the same for a team-bonding Zoom-based pizza-eating event!
The post-pandemic world demands that employers deploy a range of technologies and remote working practices to enable effective performance management and optimal employee engagement. Explore our website further to learn how SenseHR is helping organisations manage a more modern workforce.