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Mark Seemann


Founder and CEO

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Three performance review mistakes to avoid in a hybrid workplace

StaffCircle CEO Mark Seemann explores the performance review mistakes HR professionals must avoid to successfully navigate a hybrid workplace.

The workplace is not as we once knew. The 9-5 office schedule has somewhat evolved, and with it, the workplace has morphed into a hybrid model.

As such, the market is now moving quicker than the traditional feedback cycle, leaving long gaps in appraisals and insufficient communication that is integral to hybrid working. 

Arguably, this is contributing to a lack of engagement across organisations, resulting in the recent phenomenon of people leaving their jobs in droves that economists have dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’.

With this in mind, HRs must remember that, at its core, performance drives engagement, not the other way around – and that great performance management comes down to great management. 

But this is not a ‘one size fits all’ process. With fewer staff on the (physical) ground, performance reviews processes must be revitalised, as traditional methods simply no longer complement or work in our new hybrid, post-pandemic set-up. 

With that said, here are three key mistakes that HRs must avoid to successfully navigate performance reviews for a hybrid future:

Mistake 1: Sticking to yearly appraisals 

As the calendar year draws to a close, organisations typically gear up for a largely unpopular end-of-year tradition: the annual performance review. Many of us are all too familiar with the process, which is often dreaded by both employees and managers.

Not only are they usually disliked, but according to 74% of UK employees in a YouGov study, traditional performance reviews are considered not useful at all. Rather than empowering employees, they tend to focus on goals made 12 months ago which in the light of our fast-paced economy and recent black swan events like the pandemic might not even be relevant.

More than that, staff themselves perceive it as inherently unfair. The whole process has become a ‘tick-box’ exercise, where awkward conversations that were put off six months ago happen, and employees end up negotiating pay rather than discussing skills gained or growth opportunities sought. 

While the annual appraisal may have worked in a bygone era of sundials, as a process of its own simply no longer meets the needs of today’s ever-changing and now hybrid world of work.

Almost overnight, we had to revert to remote working, and with it came tremendous changes to employee expectations and a surge of innovative technologies to cope with a dispersed and more flexible workforce. 

Therefore providing feedback on an annual basis is taking a step backwards and negates the rapid digitisation of businesses over the past 18-months. It’s a time where ‘out with the old and in with the new’ is now the mantra, as the most progressive HRs have come to the realisation that continuous feedback is the future. 

If employees are not receiving these fundamental aspects of performance management, they’ll likely go somewhere with a better approach to feedback.

Mistake 2: A lack of continuous feedback

A lack of continuous feedback can be detrimental to performance management within a hybrid setting. This is because face to face contact is much less frequent, and therefore an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ culture is more likely to appear between employees and their managers.

If feedback and communication are not regular, how can teams know that their work is truly recognised? How can they have a clear progression path or share their ambitions for growth? If employees are not receiving these fundamental aspects of performance management, they’ll likely go somewhere with a better approach to feedback.

In fact, 42% of HR leaders we surveyed, noticed an increase in their employee churn since the ease of restrictions, suggesting that clear and effective communication is now paramount to talent retention and the overall employee experience. 

When employees receive continuous feedback, it gives them a sense of belonging and purpose, and direction within an organisation. According to Josh Bersin, the companies with the highest engagement rates are those that regularly meet with teams and provide feedback, and genuinely care about each individual.

These organisations also had the highest retention rates and outperformed their peers in profitability. Therefore, hybrid and remote working requires feedback to be continuous in order to make progress and performance visible. And, to ensure each employee knows they have the opportunity to progress professionally, that they are seen and heard. 

The most agile companies are already investing in HR performance management software that offers capabilities such as one-to-one check-ins and real-time performance feedback.

Mistake 3: Not adopting the right tools for hybrid working 

Despite the rapid shift to remote and hybrid working, many companies are failing to adopt the necessary tools to support this change. Facebook’s recent outage is just one example of a company that hasn’t innovated far enough to support its employees at home – deeming the crisis as a result of remote working and now pushing its teams back to the office.

But what this suggests is that companies need to go above and beyond to support workers with agile technologies – and this is no different when it comes to performance management. 

In a hybrid setting, performance management tools are paramount to allow continuous feedback to be given effect, and with ease. The most agile companies are already investing in HR performance management software that offers capabilities such as one-to-one check-ins and real-time performance feedback.

Not only do these tools allow HR to have more meaningful interactions with their teams about their performance, but it gives these interactions structure, making the entire performance management process less time consuming, more regular, and above all, more productive. After all, remote and hybrid working has driven the need for tech to evolve quicker than ever before – so why not embrace this accelerated growth with open arms?

Businesses need to say goodbye to outdated performance management processes if they want to successfully navigate the hybrid working world. As such, it’s time to reinvent the appraisal system – no longer relying solely on the annual appraisal and instead harnessing continuous feedback that is supported by innovative technologies. 

At the end of the day, there is no greater mistake than failing to adapt.

Interested in this topic? Read Performance management and wellbeing in a virtual world

Author Profile Picture
Mark Seemann

Founder and CEO

Read more from Mark Seemann
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