30 November 2020

Performance Management during Pandemic Mayhem

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Performance review is tense, stressful, and anxiety-inducing. It has always been. This judgment is not only based on experience, but also supported by an expert in Organizational Behavior, as quoted in hbr.org. In a pandemic-stricken world, performance management is getting even more unpredictable and immeasurable. Together with the pressing demand for maintaining quality and image amid the pandemic, there is an increasing tension between shifting company goals and staff’s well-being. In such difficult situation, performance management is a factor which will influence how a company could navigate its way through the pandemic.


Different companies have taken different approaches in managing their performance reviews during the pandemic. Deloitte, PwC India, and Google have delayed their performance review. Similarly, Twitter has decided to suspend all performance reviews in 2020. Other global companies such as TMF lets each branch office adjust to context-specific challenges. Facebook has controversially given “exceeds expectation” rating for every employee for the first half of 2020. While there is no general solution for performance management, some things need to be considered when assessing staff performance, especially during this pandemic crisis.


Prioritizing and Simplifying

Due to frequent checks with managers during remote working, the need for yearly performance review is decreasing. This is only one possibly permanent change in performance managing that companies should be flexibly prepared for. Nevertheless, during the pandemic, decision-making needs to be not only flexible, but also strategic. Hence, in managing performance, managers should prioritize the necessary and cut the unnecessary. To do this, simplification is necessary in all sectors, including performance management. Goldman Sachs has set a great example by making their review process clearer and more efficient after the pandemic hits. 


Positive Feedback

The pandemic affects not only managers, but also all employees. With Covid-19 hitting businesses hard, assessment should not be stuck with pre-pandemic requirements. More specifically, it’s the time for performance review to focus on the good work done by employees, whether they are top performers or poor performers. Positive performance assessment can help companies stay afloat since well-deserved recognition will boost staff loyalty, which is something that companies need at the moment. To maintain objectivity, peer review can also be added to counterbalance existing top-down assessments. 


Post-Assessment Prospect

It’s easy to treat performance management as another mundane task where an employee’s performance is scored. However, merely stating the good things and rooms for improvement only gives short-term goals, which does not really help employees to think about how they can move forward. In addition to performance review, employees can be informed about the possibilities of working in your company. Leaders may remind team members of their potentials and how they could fit in the company’s structure, especially in a post-pandemic world. Such addition to performance management shows how the company also cares for their future.


The pandemic brings numerous challenges to performance management. In assessing performance during crisis, different options emerge, and any decision will certainly impact business direction. We have laid out some things to consider when designing performance management, but for these options to work, they must be adjusted to the specific condition your business is going through. Nevertheless, as we believe that a company is just as strong as its staff, a company’s performance management during crisis should ideally prioritize the people who have made contribution and sustain the survival of the company.


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