COVID forces change to performance measurements

Author: 
Paul Nolan

COVID-19 has accelerated change in the workplace, as evidenced, most obviously, with a higher corporate acceptance of working remotely. Another area of work life where change has been accelerated is performance reviews.

Many companies abandoned reviews for the rest of this year. In doing so, some are realizing their existing performance review process is ineffective, arbitrary and potentially harmful.

“The new approach to performance management will have to be more collaborative, adaptive and individualized based on conditions on the ground,” states a Gallup report on the imperative evolution of performance reviews. It identifies three essential characteristics of modernized performance management:

Agile Goals – Employees should set and own their goals and expect change as business opportunities and needs evolve. Managers should have authority and be expected to tailor goals to the team and the individual as work changes.

Ongoing Reviews – Performance assessment should be an ongoing conversation that is focused on the future. “Great ongoing coaching conversations create a two-way street of communication that makes it easy to discuss needs and challenges and deliver highly individualized recognition,” the Gallup report states. This coincides with the increased importance of regular communication as more workers
plan to be in the office less or not at all.

Adjusting Incentive Structures – Employees should not be held to metrics that don’t make sense in the current business environment. Have open conversations with sales professionals and non-sales personnel about incentive structures. Gallup has found that when people have conversations with their manager about progress and pay, they are more engaged and feel better about the pay they receive, even if they don’t get a pay increase.