How to Handle Performance Reviews This Year

By Kaitlin Hurtado on August 2, 2020

As we hit the tail end of the middle of the year, many companies are facing impending mid-year performance reviews. While performance reviews are usually a process all on their own, they have become even more exhaustive this year.

2020 has proved to be a year unlike any other and there is no denying that current events are going to have an impact on employees’ performance this year. That being said, many in leadership roles are reevaluating their stance on performance reviews and how they should proceed given the circumstances of the world right now.

If you are struggling to decide how you should navigate performance reviews this year while balancing your employees’ wellbeing and performance, keep these things in mind to help guide you to a decision:

Photo: Pexels

Consider postponing performance reviews for the time being

LinkedIn reported several companies, including Google, that have announced their decision to postpone performance reviews for employees. 

Google typically holds performance reviews twice a year. However, they have announced that performance reviews would be suspended for six months They also announced that promotions and goal-setting would be put on hold. They reasoned that performance reviews were a time-consuming process and could possibly be a distraction from more time-sensitive issues companies are facing during the pandemic.

Postponing performance reviews can also help alleviate the stress that employees may be facing when thinking about performance reviews. While performance reviews can normally cause stress among employees, they can bring on an entirely new type of stress this year. As they adjust to their new normal, both inside and outside of work, your employees could be experiencing stress typically not considered in performance reviews. Employees are also considering how the pandemic has negatively impacted their performance or workload and how that could impact their performance review.

Some, however, are saying that performance reviews or check-ins where employees can receive feedback are more important than ever with remote work.

Rhiannon Staples, chief marketing officer for HR management platform Hibob, told Fast Company, “A lot of employees are missing real-time feedback.”

“A lack of immediate access to a manager increases the need for organizations to put these types of mechanics in place to force them to happen versus organically,” she said.

Ease up on the performance review process 

Culture Amp suggests that companies may want to consider lightening up the process of performance reviews.

They write, “During a pandemic, employees might not be as productive due to crisis-induced circumstances. They might be adjusting to fully-remote work, dealing with unexpected life changes, or juggling caregiving responsibilities.”

These factors mentioned are typically not considered in most performance reviews. Ignoring them during this year’s performance review can be harsh to your employees, who are working through very different circumstances than they are used to.

They also suggest employers take performance reviews as an opportunity to reevaluate the daily tasks they are asking employees to commit. Some processes or projects may have been completed with no issues prior to the pandemic when everyone was in office, but working remotely can have them taking up more time than usual. If so, performance reviews can be a time to reflect and see if the project can be shelved or reworked so that it can be completed more efficiently, even while working remotely.

Changes to performance reviews may be more long term 

While current events have prompted those in leadership to reconsider midyear performance reviews, they are also giving leaders a chance to consider changes to the way they conduct performance reviews overall. There’s plenty to debate on doing fewer performance reviews over longer periods of time versus frequent check-ins, but the pandemic added even more to the argument.

Anyone can understand how things can change day-to-day during the coronavirus pandemic. Whether it be an employee dealing with personal health issues or something going on in their home life to the pandemic reorienting the kind of work you and your employees are doing, things are likely not going to be the same over the span of six months.

LinkedIn identified one company, Shapiro Negotiations Institute (SNI), that announced its change from conducting annual reviews. Now, managers at the company check in with their employees on a weekly basis. Checking in more frequently can help prevent stress over “major” performance reviews and also help identify issues as soon as they come up, rather than leaving them until a performance review prompts them to be brought to light.

Not every company is the same, so it is more important than ever to take your individual company’s factors into consideration when making decisions about this year’s performance reviews. Reviews can be pivotal in keeping employee morale up, whether it be because it makes employees feel validated or because it may make an employee feel more certain with their remote work. If a major benefit to performance reviews is evaluating your team and seeing how they can improve, consider these ways to improve team performance.

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
UC Irvine
Hello! I'm Kaitlin. I studied Literary Journalism and Film & Media Studies at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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