Performance reviews have often been a source of stress for both employers and employees. Yet, in construction, performance reviews are necessary to ensure employees improve over time and maintain high standards for safety and project execution. Social distancing has made the process an even greater challenge. Here are some tips on how to do performance reviews remotely.

Focus on Qualitative Feedback

When your team is working in a remote environment, it is important to focus on qualitative feedback. It is a lot harder to evaluate people during a pandemic. You aren’t seeing employees in-person every day, which makes it harder to keep track of their progress. Moreover, your team is under more stress than usual and are juggling additional responsibilities, such as childcare. Quantitative and rating-based feedback are less helpful right now because they are too rigid. Qualitative feedback allows for more flexibility and accuracy and allows you to take into account extenuating circumstances, such as sickness or a death in the family.

Be Understanding

As leaders give feedback to team members, they need to remember to be compassionate and understanding. While it’s fair to have high standards for your employees, you can’t expect them to perform the same way they normally would during a global health crisis. This does not mean lowering your expectations. Rather, it means being more aware of challenges team members are facing due to the pandemic and offering support to help them succeed. Just remember you can push your team to be better and hold them accountable while acknowledging how COVID may affect their personal life.

Think about Your Goal

To optimize the effectiveness of remote performance, you want to clearly understand what you want to accomplish. Your goals may be different in light of COVID. Are you assessing performance to make decisions about raises/promotions? Are you more concerned about long-term organizational goals? Are you trying to improve company culture? These types of questions will help inform what criteria you evaluate. If your goals have changed because of the pandemic your evaluation criteria will also need to change. For example, traits like resiliency and adaptability have likely become more important in assessing performance in the past year.

The way we give performance reviews have changed now that many organizations in construction are operating remotely. As you assess your team, focus on qualitative feedback, think about why you are evaluating performance, and be open-minded, understanding, and compassionate in your approach.

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