Conducting business as usual is extremely challenging—perhaps even impossible—during a pandemic. As the world economy continues to struggle six months into this health crisis, businesses are feeling the impact at various levels, including human resources. Now more than ever, it is essential to conduct an employee performance evaluation. Because of the pandemic, many employees are likely stressed, challenged, and separated from the company. An evaluation can be tailored to consider their situation and will help boost morale and productivity by letting them know how they are doing in terms of performance.  

Is it necessary?

Like many employers, you might be wondering about the importance of an employee performance evaluation and how to go about it during this difficult time. Several corporate giants, like Google, have confirmed that they are delaying promotions and performance reviews. Meanwhile, Apollo Tyres shared that top management is taking a cut in compensation from 15 to 25 percent, and Air India will reduce allowances. Why should you bother?

As employees require clear insights on their performance, an evaluation can motivate and inspire them amidst uncertainty. That said, the workplace analytics you used before the pandemic may no longer work. You probably need to recalibrate your organization’s KPI (key performance indicators) to keep up with the new normal.

Here are four tips to help you conduct an effective employee performance evaluation during the pandemic.

1. Remain proactive while maintaining transparency.

More than ever, it’s crucial for employers to remain transparent and be proactive about concerns and issues, such as the current state of sales, finances, and profitability. That way, any compensation and adjustments can easily be justified, and employees will remain motivated and engaged because they understand why specific changes must be made.

Because of the pandemic, you might be inclined to delay appraisal-related discussions until a much later time. However, you can still keep your employees engaged and motivated by talking about future appraisals and incentives. This may also be an excellent time to revise deliverables and to modify employee priorities and objectives to keep up with these unique challenges.

It’s also importan by byt that you understand your employee’s need for your support. Managers have to be sensitive enough to identify signs of distress, both indirectly through observation and directly via conversations. It’s important to encourage regular conversations between employees and managers. The HR department should coach managers on how to approach sensitive subjects as the result of the pandemic, including job prospects and security, alternative work models, and tension in the workplace and the impact this all has on staffing.

2. Always remember the purpose of the review.

As you conduct the employee performance evaluation, keep focus on resilience and the ability to adapt, instead of criticizing the poor performers. Remember that the purpose of the review must be to strengthen the organization’s culture, while reinforcing the company’s values. Moreover, keep in mind that how you treat your employees during this time can make or break your organization.

3. Remain empathetic.

As you give feedback, remember that each of your employees faces different hardships and deals with the pandemic differently. Because of changing work situations, they could be concerned with the care of elderly relatives or family members with pre-existing health conditions. In some cases, an employee might find it challenging to juggle both work and the responsibilities at home due to the difficulties caused by lockdowns. Even if their evaluation results look dire, try to end your discussions on a positive note and remain encouraging to boost their performance and self-esteem. Otherwise, they might become anxious about job security, causing their productivity to plummet even further.

4. Give credit where credit is due.

Implement an effective recognition and rewards practice with your employee performance evaluation to motivate your employees to keep performing their best. Many employees are likely working extended hours to cover for colleagues who might not be able to come to work. Those instances must be acknowledged. If you cannot provide monetary rewards, consider offering upskilling, tokens of appreciation, or public acknowledgment.

HR teams are stretched thin during this pandemic. They are expected to do their best and juggle various tasks, from crisis response to managing communications and making plans to ensure some continuity in operations. The good news is that conducting and managing an employee performance evaluation can be much more simple when you have the right tools.

Check out AssessTEAM. It will provide everything you will need to analyze, assess, and enhance team performance. It’s cloud-based, so you can use it no matter where you choose to work.