Performance Appraisal for Remote Employees: Top Challenges to Address

A successful performance management process asks HR people to set clear objectives, timelines and priorities for workforce needs. This is hard to do in a normal office, and even harder when HR has to do a performance appraisal for remote employees in a decentralized office. A decentralized office can be any one of the following scenarios:

  • Several regional offices with varying cultures, management styles and workplace dynamics;
  • A contracting agency whose workforce includes onsite construction workers and offsite administrators
  • WFH-style companies with a high percentage of remote workers or workers using co-working spaces.

According to Forbes,  43% of employees spend some of their time working outside of the office. That number is only expected to increase. There are serious challenges that comes with implementing a performance management system for these modern office environments. Some HR people may feel these challenges may bring into question the efficacy or necessity of doing a performance appraisal for remote employees, but that shouldn’t be the case.

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One leading food and beverage company executive says the performance review is, “the glue that holds an organization together across geographic, technical, and cultural boundaries.” Performance management is an integral component of a company’s organizational strategy.

Without it, executives are unable to answer the ‘how’ before the ‘why’ when identifying their workforce needs.

PerformYard clients are no exception to the shift from the traditional office environment. Our Customer Success Team has first-hand exposure to some of the challenges imposed on HR leaders and solutions our clients have adopted using PerformYard.

Here are the top challenges and takeaways:

1. Employees Feel Disconnected from Their Company’s Mission

Off-site employees don’t see their daily work impacting the ‘bigger picture,’ leading to decreased productivity and accountability.

Solution: Manage off-site productivity the same way you manage on-site productivity; with clear goals and accountability.

Think about setting goals before you think about performance management software solutions. Here are some examples of how that plays out in businesses:

Wrong approach:  “How will my performance management be able to enhance connectivity between our corporate and regional offices?”

Right approach: “Does my performance management allow for goal transparency and have an intuitive way for workers to track and update progress?”

You can't "enhance connectivity" between employees until you can link employee work to goals. These goals, as part of your performance management process, help employees see the impact of their work and understand how others are impacting their work.

Wrong approach: “Can my performance management system accommodate a remote team tasked with only special projects?”

Right approach: “Does my performance management process let me to set top company goals that departmental or individual goals can align to?”

A good starting point is to adopt a top-down mentality that begins with clarity and transparency. Once you've established how individual impact department goals, and how department goals impact company goals, you can move forward. It's all about aligning the remote employees with the overall goals of the company.

remote employees goal setting

2. Standardizing the Reviews Process Seems Impossible

Your dispersed workforce has multiple managers with multiple management styles. Some teams take a hands off approach; others are in Zoom meetings with each other all day. You might even deal with different cultural norms depending on how spread out your workforce is. When you think about all these differences across your company, standardizing the reviews process seems nearly impossible.

Solution: Assign one person to oversee the performance management software implementation from a corporate standpoint.

Standardizing the reviews process starts with standardizing the tools used to run reviews. Your process won't work if people are sending forms back and forth over email, tracking reviews in a spreadsheet, and failing to document review meetings. Find a performance management software tool and assign one HR person to learn the software inside-out. This person should also be willing to initiate frequent dialogue with individual managers to ensure the software is used correctly and adds value.

In some ways, the solution here is similar to the first challenge. Both solutions require a high-level corporate approach. That's the way effectively reach each remote worker.

Having a ‘performance management guru’ in HR allows companies to create a standardized process as a foundation. Companies can also empower managers to make tweaks and modifications that may be more suitable for their specific needs. Using this approach, each team can incorporate performance standards that work for that particular department.

3. Employees Feel Left Out of Office Dialogue

The concept of ‘water cooler talk’ that once built office camaraderie and rapport is no longer prevalent.

Solution: Establish a method of communication that is frequent and informal where employees can interact with each other.

Even if your company uses  communication platforms like Teams, Slack, or an internal system, it's helpful to add a feedback system in performance management software. PerformYard allows teams to write feedback that can be private, public, specific to individuals, or sent out to entire departments.

performance appraisal feedback

This additional layer of communication is useful for two reasons:

1. Studies show that remote-site workers require more frequent dialogue than those in the office to absorb new information and to help them feel aligned with the rest of the team. Having additional channels of communication for specific work functions helps these remote teams get the performance feedback they would normally get in-person.

2. Using a feedback feature within your performance management software establishes a link between daily conversations surrounding performance and a more formal reviews process. All this feedback can be pulled into quarterly and annual reviews.

PerformYard connects remote employees in one review platform. Learn More

Work From Home Performance Review Examples:

Use these template examples from PerformYard to kickstart start your remote performance management process.

Using the same templates for remote workers and in-office workers will help standardize your review process across your dispersed workforce.

Performance Evaluation Questions to Ask Remote Employees:

While you shouldn't make drastic changes to your performance review process from one employee to the next, these questions will be useful for a fully remote workforce. If your entire company "works from home," you should incorporate these remote-specific questions into your review process.

  • Are there any other technologies that you need to improve your remote work experience?
  • How do you feel about the level of communication you have with your manager? With your team members?
  • What is one example of an work issue that was made more difficult by the remote aspect of your role? How can the company address this?
  • Do you prefer to communicate with your team over video, email, or direct messages? Why?
  • How can you improve your communication with other team members in a remote environment?

Performance Appraisal for Remote Employees Examples

Positive Feedback Examples

  • Your ability to maintain productivity and meet deadlines while working remotely is commendable. You've demonstrated excellent self-management and alignment with our team's goals, effectively showcasing how remote work can be highly efficient.
  • You've excelled in staying connected and contributing to team discussions despite the challenges of remote work. Your active participation in virtual meetings and consistent communication have helped maintain team cohesion and a sense of community.
  • Your innovative use of technology to streamline tasks and collaborate with the team has been a significant asset. Your approach aligns well with our objectives for enhancing remote work efficiency and sets a great example.
  • I appreciate your consistent efforts to stay aligned with the company's mission and values in your remote work. Your understanding of the larger organizational goals and how your work contributes to these is evident in your output.
  • Your adaptability and positive attitude toward remote work challenges, especially in times of change, have been instrumental in maintaining high performance standards and team morale.

Critical Feedback Examples

  • There is a need for more proactive communication from your end. Enhancing your engagement in virtual meetings and team discussions could improve your integration with the team and alignment with project goals.
  • While your contributions are valuable, there's room for improvement in collaborative tasks. Focusing on better leveraging team resources and seeking more collaborative opportunities can enhance overall team performance.
  • I've noticed some difficulties in managing your workload efficiently in the remote setting. Let's explore strategies to improve your time management and prioritization skills to meet project deadlines more consistently.
  • It appears that there's a disconnect between your understanding of the company's broader goals and your daily tasks. We should work together to ensure that your efforts are more closely aligned with our overall mission and objectives.
  • Adapting to technological tools and software for remote work seems to be a challenge for you. Embracing these tools is essential for effective remote collaboration, so let's identify any gaps in your skills and address them through training or support.

How Software Helps with Performance Appraisal for Remote Employees

Customization is the driving force behind the PerformYard platform. Our resounding answer to any performance management related challenge is that there is no one-size fits all solution. At a minimum, a successful implementation of performance appraisal for remote employees will involve the following:

  • Having your ultimate corporate objectives thoroughly established
  • A willingness to make tweaks and adjustments to accommodate varying processes
  • Software management tool designed to do both

PerformYard connects your entire workforce on a simple platform. Your performance management process will improve, but so will your culture of accountability and improvement. Schedule a demo today to learn how PerformYard can help you monitor and improve performance across your remote workforce.

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