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Gleb Tsipursky

Management

Manage Hybrid and Remote Teams Through Revised Performance Evaluations

More frequent reviews can be a path to improvement for employees and managers

Published: Thursday, March 17, 2022 - 13:03

The pandemic forced leaders to reconcile with the need for effective hybrid and remote team management strategies, including in performance evaluations. Research has shown the benefits of moving away from large-scale quarterly or annual performance reviews.

Instead, systematic, frequent, and brief reviews focused on task performance, effective feedback and coaching, and guidance in wise decision-making, will replace it in organizations that want to survive and thrive in the post-Covid world. Leaders need to benchmark to best practices on performance evaluation for hybrid and remote team management in our new normal.

Performance evaluation in the new normal

Too many managers and companies still rely on “time in the office” as a primary measure of evaluating performance. This has led to employees focusing more on “time logged on” rather than their actual contribution to the company.

As survey responses show, many employees and top leaders feel concerned about the possibility of hybrid and remote work undermining their career growth. To allay these concerns, employee performance evaluation systems need to stop relying on time worked.

The companies I helped guide through this transition to the future of work shifted to regular, usually weekly or at least every two weeks, performance evaluations of team members by team leaders. Some also added an occasional 360-degree evaluation component by one’s teammates and other stakeholders once every month or couple of months.

Brief performance evaluations for hybrid and remote teams

The weekly performance evaluation takes place during 15-30 minute check-in and review meetings with each team member and their team leader. Twenty-four hours before each meeting, the employee submits a concise report, containing:

• Top three to five individual or collaborative task accomplishments for the past week, compared to what they had planned to accomplish
• Challenges experienced in achieving their goals for the week
• Measures to address these challenges and future plans in similar scenarios
• Measures to improve professional development against goals that the employee agreed to with the team leader on the quarterly review
• A numerical self-evaluation of their performance for the week on all of these areas, typically on a range of 0 to 4 (0 = greatly below expectation, 1 = somewhat below expectations, 2 = meeting expectations, 3 = somewhat exceeding expectations, 4 = greatly exceeding expectations)
• Their plans for next week’s top three accomplishments, addressing challenges, professional growth, and any other relevant plans for next week

The supervisor then responds to the report in writing at least two hours before the meeting. That involves:
• Comparing and assessing the accomplishments for this week against the plan from the prior week
• Evaluating how the team member addressed any challenges remaining from the past week, as well as new ones arising this week
• Assessing their professional growth against previously set goals for the quarter
• Approving or suggesting revisions to the employee’s plans for next week
• Either approving the employee’s self-evaluation or suggesting they discuss it at the weekly meeting

During the check-in meeting, the team leader and member discuss anything that needs to be clarified from the report. The leader coaches the employee as needed on improving their ability to accomplish weekly goals, address challenges, make the best decisions, cultivate relationships effectively, and grow professionally. The supervisor also addresses any issues surrounding the self-evaluation, revising it up or down. After explaining the reasoning and giving the employee a chance to respond, the supervisor makes a final call.

This rating gets fed into the team member’s quarterly performance report. The report is largely determined by the weekly evaluations, which make up anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of the employee’s final score for the quarter. Team evaluations account for 20 percent, while the supervisor also gives an overall score for the quarter to make up the remaining 20 percent.

With this system, each employee remains aware of performance and areas needing improvement, both in tasks and professional growth. Problems can be mitigated earlier, rather than blindsiding team members in their quarterly review. This system not only maximizes productivity but also minimizes turnover, as well as concerns about career growth via proximity to supervisors by team members who come to the office a couple of days per week vs. those working remotely.

Conclusion

Performance evaluations are a key indicator of any office’s productivity levels. Yet the old style of performance evaluation simply doesn’t work in hybrid and remote team management. To address this issue, leaders need to adopt research-based best practices for performance reviews to ensure employee productivity remains high for all hybrid or full-time-remote employees.

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About The Author

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

Gleb Tsipursky

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky helps quality professionals make the wisest decisions on the future of work as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. He is the best-selling author of seven books, including Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage. His cutting-edge thought leadership has been featured in more than 650 articles in prominent publications such as Harvard Business Review, Fortune, and USA Today. His expertise comes from more than 20 years of consulting for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox and more than 15 years in academia as a cognitive scientist at UNC-Chapel Hill and Ohio State. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, Twitter@gleb_tsipursky, Instagram@dr_gleb_tsipurskyLinkedIn, and register for his Wise Decision Maker Course.