4 Effective Ways to Conduct Performance Conversations Virtually

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Managing a certain proportion of remote workforce is not new for most large organisations!

Here are some pre-Covid 19 research findings for you to consider…

  • 83 percent of the companies on the Fortune 100 Best Places to Work list offer virtual work options.
  • Estimates claims that the number of people who work from home has increased by 103% since 2005.
  • A survey by LinkedIn found that 82% of workers want to work from home at least one day per week, and 57% want to work from home at least three days per week.
  • Finally, in a study conducted by Condeco Software, 41% of global businesses surveyed say they already offer some degree of remote working, while 60% provide flexitime opportunities that allow employees to choose when to start and end their workday. Upwork’s “Future Workforce Report” predicts that 73% of all teams will have remote workers by 2028!

With the current global pandemic, more than a third of the world’s population is in some sort of a lockdown. Working from home has become the default. Many experts predict that several organisations may use current experiences to permanently change the ways in which they operate.

In these circumstances, organisation need to re imagine several people management processes, and one such critical process is enabling managers to hold effective performance conversations. While some companies like IBM and P&G are ahead of the curve and are adept at remote evaluations, many businesses still struggle with the basics.

Even in normal circumstance, performance management systems are one of the toughest things for companies to get right. This begs the question; how well prepared are organisations for effective Virtual Performance Conversations?

In a recent survey, nearly 60% of HR execs rated their own performance management systems with a grade of just “C” or lower. That is not surprising, as managers are increasingly having to evaluate and assess what they cannot see, namely, virtual workers. According to the ‘Trends in Virtual Teams Report in 2016’, 59% of virtual team employees feel performance reviews are not worth the time invested.

Here are the things managers need to focus on before having performance conversations, and especially so in the virtual world:

#1 Set the right expectations 

While working remotely, team members can feel distant, disconnected, and therefore treated unfairly. These feeling are likely to be more heightened in current circumstances. A research by Gallup in 2017, stated that “only 29% of the remote workers agreed to have reviewed their greatest successes with their manager in the past six months.” Therefore, managers must clearly lay down the parameters on which performance will be measured in a clear and transparent manner. During these conversations, it is best for the manager to reiterate, that performance will be evaluated on deliverables and capabilities agreed upon.

#2 Keep communication channels open

An environment and culture of open communication, is the backbone of performance conversations. Transparency on delivery goals, targets, and review parameters essential. When performance against goals or tasks are discussed frequently to ensure course correction and review progress, surprises and uncertainty is better managed!

#3 Building Trust and transparency

Exercise transparency by clearly stating the process. Ensure availability of credible and reliable data on which to base assessments.

#4 Being Empathetic and Compassionate

Build listening skills, and acknowledge emotions, while staying on course with facts. Practice and display empathy and speak with compassion.

Having virtual performance conversations might come with unique challenges, but in a constantly evolving world, the possibilities to reinvent ways to conduct a win-win performance conversation must be explored. We at InspireOne are committed towards our endeavour to help organizations build and strengthen capability in conducting effective virtual performance conversations.







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