7 Tips for Conducting Remote Worker Performance Reviews

This article offers HR professionals 7 tips for conducting performance reviews for your remote workforce. The remote workforce is the future of work. 

As per the recent hiring stats already 80% of companies have adopted a virtual hiring process. Seventy percent have made half of their onboarding process virtual. In addition, 73% of teams are expected to work remotely by 2028. 

The Importance of Conducting Performance Reviews

Whether you have a virtual or physical in-person workforce, employee performance reviews are vital for running your business operations smoothly.

In remote work, the evaluation of worker performance is more challenging than before. But it is not a reason to cancel performance reviews altogether. In fact, remote working conditions may require a more nuanced approach.

Corporate goals, earnings per share, and revenues do not retract on account of remote work. In fact, human resource professionals are eager to increase remote worker productivity and improve their nd user experiences. This is where the importance of effectively designed remote worker performance reviews comes into play.

The Benefits of Conducting a Performance Review

 Following a well-designed performance plan through an entire performance review cycle:

  • Holds remote workers more accountable
  • Helps with the tracking and monitoring of progress toward goals, 
  • Provides a forum for positive and constructive feedback,
  • Makes remote workers feel heard and valued.

Research has found that fair and objective feedback is vital to successful business operations. It includes the achievements of employees and discusses areas in need of improvement. This feedback provides targeted goals and expectations to enforce corrective action and supportive plans. In the end, remote workers and their supervisors are more productive and motivated.  It gives workers working remotely a way to know how they are doing and to work on improving areas of weakness. It also helps supervisors provide much need support in their weak areas while at the same time allowing for more independence in their areas of strength.

Why Remote Worker Performance Reviews are Important

Virtually conducted performance reviews help managers stay apprised of remote work performance and monitor team productivity and efficiency.  Regularly reviewing remote worker output and quality aligns the remote worker who works from the home with the organization’s vision and mission. In addition, performance reviews also result in employees’ personal growth. Managers should arrange monthly or quarterly sessions with remote employees to discuss what can be accomplished and identify some stretch goals.

Practical performance reviews can provide data metrics such as the productivity level of individual team members. In addition, this will help human resource professionals and supervisors provide constructive feedback to employees who are not working as per the established standards. In this regard, using a modern performance management system can help the business establish an efficient performance review cycle with continuous real-time feedback, engagement surveys, and performance tracking no matter the location of employees.

Remote employee performance reviews maintain the same principles as a traditional performance review plan targeted at workers reporting to an office. However, these 7 tips will guide the Human Resources executive on-site on the core differences between the two. First, you must create a proper remote performance review program adhering to your remote work culture for the best results. Let’s see how to do that! 

Easy Tips to Review Remote Employees’ Performance 

Giving and receiving feedback is crucial for a productive work environment. Performance reviews are more important for the remote workforce as they don’t have the privilege to meet their managers daily, or chat informally by the water cooler with their colleagues and supervisors. The interaction missed may serve as a barrier to staying abreast of the latest product feature, most talked about technical jargon of the day,  and/or the innovative business trend just adoped by headquarters, but not yet published for the general public..

Therefore, performance reviews are a remote workers  source for maintaining a link to the corporate culture and values. They also help to understand the reasoning for their productivity targets and efficiency goals. In the end, companies should follow the right procedure to conduct remote worker performance reviews, such as: 

1. Define the Purpose of the Remote Worker Performance Review  

Foremost, define why you are conducting the performance reviews — do you want to weed out poor performers or know high performers to promote them. Or, you have another reason to review remote workers’ performance. 

Define your performance review purpose with full precision. Then, based on your review schedule, you can better decide on factors to measure the performance. 

For example, suppose you want to improve the attendance rate in your organization. In that case, you can monitor starting time, closing time, or leaves taken by your team members. 

2. Use the Right Remote Worker Performance Review Tools 

It is impossible to conduct accurate remote performance reviews without appropriate tools. As you and your remote workers are located in different locations; thus, you can’t know—

  • When did your employees take a break, and for how long? 
  • Are they playing games or working? 
  • What have they achieved today? Etc. 

Therefore, you need essential tools to track and monitor your remote worker’s performance in real-time. These tools can help you create schedules, assign tasks and ensure employees work according to your instructions. 

You can get AI-powered tools that will alert you when a worker’s performance decreases. So, you should explore the market and search for the best employee tracking tools to get accurate and real-time performance reviews. 

In a remote working environment, it is also essential that you create a continuous feedback system among your systems. You also need to put an applicant tracking system in place to make sure that you have structured data about the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate that you are hiring and you evaluate them based on the parameters you set for hiring them in the first place. 

3. Topical Grades used for Performance Reviews are Ineffective 

The grading system is useless in the remote work environment. Simply giving A, B, C, or D grades will only tell remote employee’s level of their performance. 

But, it will not show them where they went wrong and how they can improve their performance. Grades will only show a half picture to remote employees. 

That’s why managers should provide detailed reviews to remote employees. They should conduct a virtual meeting with each worker and explain their performance reports. Then, if you don’t have time for one-on-one meetings, you can write a performance review and forward it to a person. 

If you are using remote performance monitoring tools, you don’t have to create a performance report. Instead, the software will automatically generate performance reports that you can share with the concerned person. 

4. Personalize the Remote Worker Performance Evaluation 

You should make a personalized evaluation based on an employee’s role and career development path. This practice will benefit remote employees to achieve their desired career goals and become competent workers. 

For example, if a remote worker wants to get a promotion soon, you should review him or her based on the criteria required for the new job role. 

In addition, the personalized evaluation will help to motivate and engage employees. When you take the time to provide personalized reviews to each employee, this will show them how much you worry about them. This, in return, will help to improve employee engagement and retention rates. 

Besides this, personalized reviews will help you train employees in a particular manner. For instance, if you want to train an employee to be your successor, you can set certain metrics to measure his or her performance. 

5. Draft a Remote Worker Performance Review Policy 

Drafting a proper review policy will help to keep you and your remote team on the same page. The well-written policy will self-explain to remote workers — what do you expect from them? 

In addition, employees know how you will measure their performance. At a basic level, productivity is measured by output per unit of time. But you can add more attributes to strengthen your performance evaluation process like customer satisfaction level, increase in sales, or revenue. 

This will also bring transparency to your work operations, building stronger bonds between management and employees. 

6. Categorize Performance Criteria used to Evaluate Remote Workers

Using the same parameters, you can’t measure working from home and office employees’ performance. People working under different circumstances have to face separate challenges and problems. Thus, it will be wrong to use the same weighing scale to measure every employee’s performance. 

For an employee working from home, you have to adopt a little more flexible approach. Some remote workers might be handling a toddler or caring for older family members. And some might just struggle with remote work isolation. 

So, the best approach here is to categorize your workforce based on some common grounds to set performance measurement standards. Commonly you can categorize your employees as remote, hybrid, and office. 

7. Be Lenient with Poor Performers 

Normally, job reviews are a chance for managers to confront poor performers and demand improvement. But remotely, you can not demand improvement. 

Remote work culture is new for everyone. So, you have to be less critical about the low performance and be more understanding about it. You need to help remote workers improve their performance with real-time feedback and reviews. 

Bottom Line 

Performance reviews are vital to keeping your remote workers productive. Therefore, you should compile a proper remote performance review structure, including: 

  • More flexible, lenient, and empathetic in your approach 
  • Provide comprehensive feedback to your employees with suggestions to improve their performance 
  • Use one-on-one virtual meetings for the more personal touch

Just follow the right process and start evaluating your remote employees’ performance today!

About the author:

Ankur is the co-founder and CEO of GreenThumbs. He is an HRTech enthusiast and a passionate entrepreneur. By education, Ankur is a Chartered Accountant. In addition to running his company, he is an avid reader and knowledge sponge.