How to Conduct an Effective Remote Employee Evaluation

With employees working remotely, the value of employee evaluations has skyrocketed. An effective remote employee performance review allows employers to track progress and performance, offering a clear view of what’s working and what isn’t, giving both employers and employees an opportunity to create a roadmap for improvement. Although job performance evaluations may seem more complicated when employees are not in an office environment, there are great tools and best practices that allow teams to achieve a comparable result.

At the office, it’s certainly easier to observe employees and meet with them one-on-one to discuss performance - this dynamic has of course changed drastically with staff working from home. Geographic barriers make it nearly impossible for employers and supervisors to oversee employees on-demand, often leaving struggling employees without assistance, and employers out of the loop.

So how do you go about evaluating performance when team members are working from home? It’ll take the right combination of intelligent cloud technology and a renewed focus on effective communication. 

Why are employee evaluations so important?

Evaluations are a critical part of maintaining an efficient and productive workplace, offering supervisors and managers a chance to address bad habits, reallocate resources to assist overwhelmed workers, and recognize exceptional performance. Without regularly evaluating remote employee performance, you can’t possibly know how well individuals are actually performing, nor can you go about improving performance and eliminating bad habits.

According to a recent survey on the value of transparency in the workplace, less than 50% of respondents reported finding annual performance reviews helpful. Instead, they believe active coaching sessions are more useful. By regularly engaging with team members about performance, management has an opportunity to address employee needs, and focus on building a stronger and more motivated remote workforce.

Rather than offering feedback once or twice every year, immediate feedback lets an employee know how they performed while a project is still fresh, allowing them to see exactly what they did right and what could be improved on in the future. This method impacts results right away and allows employees to view their progress on a more regular basis, encouraging continuous growth. Plus, offering real-time feedback takes far less time than holding irregular performance reviews where many projects are discussed all at once, and employees need to spend time gathering a years’ worth of work in preparation.

Implementing productivity intelligence to better inform evaluations

An important step to improving remote employee evaluations is to implement the right cloud technology solutions that offer improved visibility into employee productivity. Productivity intelligence tools like Prodoscore give employers visibility into how productive their teams are, integrating seamlessly with office suites like Google Workspace and Office 365, CRM tools including Salesforce, Zoho CRM, Bullhorn, SugarCRM, and HubSpot, unified communications systems from RingCentral and Vonage, and many others. Each employee is assigned a unique productivity score, which can be used to evaluate employees, compare their performance to other team members and the organization as a whole, and also identify daily, weekly, and monthly trends.

Productivity intelligence allows employers to enhance employee performance by using concrete data to drive decisions relating to employee coaching, training, and growth plans. This means you’ll be better prepared to reallocate resources to aid overburdened employees, reshuffle teams to work together more effectively, intervene before employees can burn out, identify disengaged employees with a focus on improving employee retention, encourage healthy competition amongst your teams, and promote employee growth in real-time.

Prodoscore also makes it easier to increase the adoption of cloud workplace tools, allowing you to gain insight into how each tool is being used. Underutilized tools might present opportunities for phasing out redundant technologies and setting your sights on more versatile cloud tools.

Focus on clear and transparent communication

Since the dynamics of employee performance evaluations have dramatically changed, employers need to fundamentally change the way they’re conducting these reviews. Focusing on clear communication is the first step to an effective remote evaluation; and, as noted earlier, real-time feedback plays a big role here.

Individual meetings are another essential part of improving performance reviews. If you can’t sit down with an employee physically, finding a way to build rapport with them is more important than ever. Prioritizing regular one-on-one meetings with employees allows you to build these connections while offering useful feedback. This gives you an opportunity to understand where your employees are coming from, and can make it easier to improve an employee’s performance when the results of their evaluation are less than ideal. Nobody likes a negative performance review, but regular one-on-ones let you and your employee build a realistic roadmap to improvement and let you track successes and failures along the way.

Give room for poor performers to improve and celebrate your stars

During these difficult times, businesses need to tread lightly with employees who receive poor performance reviews. While evaluations offer an opportunity for employers to confront poor performers, these are not normal times. Employees may be faced with increased levels of stress due to the pandemic, and this should be taken into account by management. Don’t kick your employees while they’re down. Instead, focus on working with them to overcome the challenges they’re facing in order to improve their performance going forward. Ask them about what is affecting their performance and offer them workarounds if possible. If employees consistently disappoint and attempts have been made to work with them, then you might be faced with making difficult decisions. Unfortunately, if your business’ bottom line has been affected by the pandemic, you may have no choice but to let these employees go - but at least you’ll know who the poor performers are and have data to back it up. Quantitative data helps employers make informed decisions rather than decisions based purely on gut or emotion. 

On the other side of the fence, it’s important to celebrate your highest performers. Employees who have continued to work to an exceptionally high level despite difficulties being faced need to be recognized. Doing so can boost their morale and show them that you notice and value their hard work, making it far more likely that you retain them for the long term. Celebrating high performers can also motivate other workers to improve their own performance - after all, everybody likes to be recognized for their hard work and commitment.

It’s also a good idea to recognize employees who consistently meet deadlines and exceed baselines, even if their performance can’t exactly be called exceptional. For these employees, give them pointers on how they can improve. Good employees shouldn’t have to constantly worry about not being good enough to keep their job during these difficult times just because they aren’t superstars, and recognizing their efforts can relieve some of this stress and anxiety.

Clear and transparent communication and holding regular one-on-one meetings will go a long way in building trust and offering genuinely helpful feedback regarding performance. Remember to give poor performers some leeway as these are highly unusual times, and celebrate high performers and consistently solid employees for their hard work and commitment. With these strategies, your workforce will grow to be more effective and efficient than ever before.

With many businesses operating from home for the foreseeable future, conducting employee evaluations is not just important, it’s necessary. And, informing your decisions on concrete data offered by productivity intelligence solutions like Prodoscore will make it much easier to evaluate your workforce on an individual and team basis.

How will visibility impact your business?