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How to Manage Appraisals During Lockdown - Brigade Group
June 4, 2020

Appraisals or performance review is an integral part of organizations. That’s what drives employees to give better than their best performance. Measuring individual performance is a way of assessing the company’s growth. But the coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown has not only led to the economic crisis but is also making the whole performance review process difficult. In fact, companies are in the process of laying off employees to cut down operational costs amidst this crisis.

Only those companies that can still sustain this phase are thinking of having an appraisal cycle this year. But due to the various uncertainties, most of the companies have decided to delay the cycle. The four big companies PwC India, Deloitte India, EY (Ernst and Young) India, and KPMG have already decided to defer their employee appraisal cycles, including promotions and bonuses, because of the virus outbreak. And not just private companies, government bodies are facing the same problem. According to an Economic Times report, the government has extended the timeline for annual performance assessments.

In the wake of this utter confusion and uncertain times, how do companies manage to continue a systematic appraisal cycle? How to review employees’ performance when the employers haven’t seen their work for the last 2 months? Here are a few points to take care of while assessing employee performance this year.

  1. Focus on tangible goals
    Since it is not possible to track the minute details of each employee while working from home, it becomes important to assign clear and tangible goals for individuals. Targeting critical tasks helps in monitoring employee’s performance in such situations and make the whole review process easier. This also ensures that employees remain productive without burning out. It further makes it easier for the managers to connect with them regularly to track the work progress.
     
  2. Relying on meaningful conversations
    Managing a meaningful conversation between the manager and the appraisee is crucial to carry out a smooth and hassle-free process. Virtual interactions through video calls can help here. A balanced approach is required for a successful increment and rewards outcome. This approach should include both short-term and long-term planning and the KRAs to be decided accordingly to make the assessment easier. Of course, the current phase of the impact on the business has to be taken into consideration while evaluating employees’ performance.
     
  3. Ownership among employees
    Working together as a team virtually demands individuals to take ownership of their work. The managers can have a team call or one-on-one discussions to make the employees realize the importance of the tasks they have undertaken. Showing them the big picture of how and where the task at hand is going to be used by the company can genuinely motivate the employees. The managers can develop a model with large teams divided into smaller teams, each team with clear ownership and accountability of their deliverables. Having such a system in place can clarify the individual goals in each team, which can help in defining the assessment criteria.
     
  4. Trusting the employees
    Difficult times call for different actions. This time it’s working form home. Spearheading remote teams and managing their productivity can prove to be a challenge. Therefore, what the managers really need here is to trust their employees in accomplishing their tasks. Although ensuring productivity and its measurement is important, it is more critical to ensure that the human connection is not compromised in the new virtually connected working world. Showing the employees that they are trusted will establish work ownership and responsibility within them. This will help in smoothing out the appraisal process as there will be reduced friction between the appraiser and appraisee.

    This is the time when both the employer and the employee need to work in harmony. There are expectations from sides. Employees expect empathy from their managers while the delegation of tasks and responsibilities and the employers expect understanding from the team to cope up with the situation. Going forward, the companies and the employees may see a change in the rewarding system. The system should be such that it drives desired outcomes. Recruiters now need to invest resources in creating meaningful work and experiences. It’s time to focus on human effort, which is the greatest factor behind any organization’s success.
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