Managers need to be empathetic and compassionate, and figure out how to award employees without penalizing those who might be struggling during the pandemic
Managers need to be empathetic and compassionate, and figure out how to award employees without penalizing those who might be struggling during the pandemic

As workplace circumstances change due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many variables and systems within organizations must change and adapt. Perhaps the biggest challenge lies with the human resources team.

The HR department needs to respond quickly, but it also needs to create new ways to manage job interviews, onboarding processes, and overall communication channels within the company. On top of that, human resources personnel have to reassess its feedback channels and performance evaluation processes.

How do you manage appraisals with minimum disruptions, and how do you do it reasonably, seeing that every employee faces different changes when working from home?

Why the performance evaluation process needs to change during pandemic

Millions of people worldwide are working from home during the pandemic. They are in different home setups and circumstances at home. Some also need to manage workloads along with childcare, remote schooling and elderly care. And each of these scenarios can affect employees' well-being differently.

In view of these circumstances, managers need to be empathetic and compassionate, and figure out how to award employees without penalizing those who might be struggling.

Adjust the way you evaluate performance

Organizations must consider what they value and take this opportunity to reflect on the challenges associated with the pandemic on employees' performance.

While calibrating appraisal parameters, managers should also consider adding other metrics such as adaptability and change management, as these would demonstrate the traits needed to face today's business environment.

As there is lesser interaction between managers and their teams with remote work, managers should communicate regularly with their teams and not leave any feedback until the end of the year in order to better track employee performance and work on any prevailing issues.

These check-ins can be weekly or monthly informal check-ins instead of formal evaluations. Companies that used to do annual reviews before the pandemic could consider switching to mid-year reviews.

The way organizations manage performance reviews is crucial. It allows a company to look at its overall performance and reflects a company's motivations and priorities for its employees. And when it comes to performance reviews, employees need to feel supported or valued. If not, they would naturally leave. And in this market where talent is often short in supply, companies have to put people first to set up their organisations for success in the long run.

(Nicolas Dumoulin is Managing Director, Michael Page India)

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