How to perfect performance management in a virtual world

As more and more of us are choosing to work in a more flexible way, with a variety of businesses now exploring remote working in some format for their employees as an option, that perhaps wouldn’t have done so before. It poses the question of how we can adapt performance management when we face this virtual working. 

Now, I for one, have been really passionate about replacing the annual reviews in the formal sense, and replace with regular, more informal chats. That’s not to say performance shouldn’t be reviewed, in fact quite the opposite, by introducing these regular catch ups you can create a more open conversation to flow, you can get to know employees on a deeper level, an understand their aims, aspirations and what drives them a lot quicker. They also help me to build trust and stronger working relationships. 

These regular catch ups are much more impactful in a virtual working environment too, where employees are more likely to feel lonely, isolated and need additional encouragement. That’s not to say everyone feels this, as many do thrive in an environment where they have a feeling of autonomy and responsibility to deliver in their own time and way. Which is why I encourage the initial conversations to include things like agreeing the frequency, format, and expectations that the catch ups should take. There shouldn’t be any surprises!

Having authentic conversations, getting to know what makes your employees tick, and encouraging openness is key to getting the most out of the relationships. It can also help you spot those vital signs that signal your employees are finding things tricky, or that they’re struggling and also helps to see achievements in real time too. 

Let’s not forget those ‘water machine conversations or the ability to ‘ask a quick on the job question’, are not always present in the virtual world and so stress can appear a lot quicker. As a line manager or HR professional, it’s our job to create those opportunities by being intentional.

By investing time in creating development plans for employees they will feel valued, appreciated, fulfilled, and supported professionally and personally, and the latter is so important when it comes to employee wellbeing. We have lots more tips about keeping employees engaged in our other blogs, so go check them out!

How to perfect performance management in a virtual world