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How to conduct employee reviews

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The dreaded employee review. I say “dreaded” because I certainly was never a fan of having my year’s work judged and picked apart. Employee reviews, while important, are rarely popular. So when I took over MyCorp, I decided to approach employee reviews as the growth opportunity they should be, rather than as a box-ticking exercise.

How to conduct employee reviews

Over the years, I’ve discovered that if you approach employee reviews with that right frame of mind, they can be immensely helpful to the growth and development of your business. Steps to take when conducting an employee review include:

  • Keep the atmosphere light
  • Focus on strengths and ways to improve
  • Ask them if they have any comments or concerns
  • Approaches for remote reviews
  • Communicate logistics
  • Set a thoughtful tone
  • Give employees the floor
  • Listen and ask relevant questions
  • Build your team up

Read on to learn how to conduct an employee review.

Keep the atmosphere light

Rigid, dry, endless meetings define the review season. Members of the staff fill out a form, meet with their managers, go over a few numbers, and get their kudos and recommendations. Reviews, put simply, feel like a chore. Worse yet, they’re a chore people are nervous about. After all, once your review date is set, you are staring down a ticking clock, counting the minutes until you find out just how well you’re doing.

At MyCorp, we quickly found that a lot of our staff was putting off filling out their reviews until the last minute, and then haphazardly rushing through them. So we decided to make things a bit lighter and casual. We’ve experimented with getting rid of standard forms and set meeting times, opting instead for an easy conversation between staff and management. That seems to work pretty well, as individual members of the team don’t feel singled out, and review dates don’t hang over their heads for weeks on end.

Focus on strengths and ways to improve

This is not the time to drop the bomb that someone has two weeks to meet some arbitrary goal before they are fired. Annual reviews should be used to help your staff grow, not to tell them they are on the cliff’s edge. Tell the managers that oversee these reviews to look at employee strengths, and base their recommendations on them, rather than weaknesses.

If you, or your management team, are just rattling off lists of problems, then you’re wasting a valuable opportunity to help your team do better.

So if someone is good with customer service, but maybe lacking in sales technique, use the service strength as a jumping off point, and give them advice on how to use that strength to shore up their sales.

Again, you really want to work on allaying any nerves, and if you, or your management team, are just rattling off lists of problems, then you’re wasting a valuable opportunity to help your team do better.

Ask them if they have any comments or concerns

Low employee engagement is costly. On average, it costs nearly $5,000 to replace an employee. Unproductive, disengaged employees are bad for your business, so you need to figure out how your employees feel about those leading the company.

Use these reviews as an opportunity to assess the management.

 

Ask your staff how they feel the company is being run, and make sure they feel that their opinion is valued. Great leaders always respect the people they lead, and if you work to make sure your team feels respected, they’ll be happier, more engaged, and more productive.

Employee reviews shouldn’t be about nitpicking small, insignificant problems. Rather, they are an opportunity to look at a year’s work and growth — a chance to pinpoint just how your company can do even better next year.

Keep the reviews light, focus on employee strength, and be sure to listen to your staff’s concerns. When reviews are over, you should have a solid collection of comments and suggestions to help you plan out the next year.

Conducting employee reviews while working remote

Woman sitting at desk working from homeBecause of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had on the traditional workplace. Nearly overnight, in-office employees transitioned to work from home. Modifications have been made accordingly for typical in-person hiring practices including interviewing, onboarding, and training new employees to successfully work remotely within the organization.

Employee reviews, typically held in-person, have also been refreshed to accommodate work from home employees. These reviews may take place through video conferencing software instead of face-to-face. However, there are still plenty of growth opportunities to be found for remote workers and their employers.

Approaching employee reviews with the right frame of mind can be immensely helpful to the growth and development of your business.

Whether you’re conducting a mid-year or annual review, these thoughtful approaches will help you prepare for an employee review that benefits you and your team members.

Communicate the logistics

Before you head into an employee review, work out certain logistics ahead of time.

  • Date. Reach out to your employee prior to the review. Let them know their employee review is coming up and ask which day and time works best for their schedule to set it up.
  • Dress. Encourage work casual dress during the review.
  • Timing. The length of the employee review may differ depending on how many reviews an employee has each year.  Since you’ll (likely) be on a Zoom call together and may be scheduling multiple employee reviews in the same day, aim for a review length of 20 to 30 minutes.
  • In person or video review? It may be some time before we’re able to have in-person reviews. That being said, I recommend conducting an employee review through Zoom or another video conferencing platform. This gives you a chance to see your team member, the space they work out of, and pick up on body language cues. Seeing one another also means you’ll be able to practice conscious listening. You can’t multitask like you might be able to on a phone call or via email. Knowing that you have their full attention encourages each person to have a deeper, more transparent conversation together.
  • Additional notes. Add a short note to your meeting invitation prior to sending it. This note may detail some of the items that you wish to cover in the review together in a few quick bullet points.

Related: 11 highly effective collaboration tools to help your remote team succeed

Set a thoughtful tone

Employee reviews need to set a tone that is mindful of the present, unprecedented circumstances. Most employees have not been in the office in over a year. Each person working from home, from colleagues with small children to those caring for elderly family members, faces a set of unique challenges in maintaining a work-life balance.

Employers should emphasize that an employee review is taking place in a safe, open space.

 

Open with a few, fun small talk questions that allow both individuals to feel relaxed and ease into discussion. Listen carefully, take notes as you go, and encourage feedback from employees. Be empathetic, compassionate, and understanding of each individual’s circumstances.

Setting the tone does more than help you establish a steady flow for the review’s conversation. It also helps employees build trust with you and strengthen their morale with the business.

Give employees the floor

Rather than ask your team members how they are doing, give them the floor during an employee review. Let them share their major accomplishments with you and detail how they did it.

For example, an employee may share with their employer a self-assessment evaluation they created on a Google Doc. This evaluation may take a closer look at measurable goals they were able to set, and accomplish, in their department. Additionally, they will note the effect that reaching these goals has had on the business.

For example, let’s say a social media specialist was able to grow the company Instagram following by 2,000 followers. The employee might talk about the strategy they used to reach that goal. They may share the impact that the influx of new followers has had on the business, such as increased engagement with posts and an uptick in site traffic.

Employees may also address progress as it relates to other aspects beyond their daily work responsibilities. For example, they may share how they are able to stay focused and motivated while working from home. Or they might talk about how they communicate with other team members despite obstacles such as being in different time zones.

Listen and ask relevant questions

Giving employees the floor allows employers to listen to them. They are able to ask relevant questions that pertain to aspects of the employee’s performance.

Here are a few examples of questions that employers might ask so they have the proper feedback to help out.

  • What do you need to succeed right now? This can mean anything from an extra computer monitor to asking for a paid subscription to a software service to do the job faster and more efficiently.
  • Is there something you would like to change about your work schedule? Some employees work better when they start their day earlier whereas others may prefer a later start. Keep this flexibility in mind for future reference once we are able to safely return to the workplace again.
  • Do any of your work responsibilities make you feel anxious? This may sound like a trick question, but it’s not meant to be one. Ask this question to top performers and those in need of extra assistance. The answer will allow you to map out plans where you’re able to offer support and help ease these responsibilities.
  • What are your long-term goals in the business? Future unprecedented events withstanding, where would you like to be in another six months? How about a year from now? Employers can begin working with employees that show initiative and passion to take on duties that position them for senior roles and work their way up in the company.

Related: 5 ways leaders can inspire newly remote teams during the coronavirus

Build your team up

Group of friends celebrating with confetti

The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has been clouded with burnout, exhaustion, and major transitions to every aspect of our professional and personal lives. And yet, we’re still standing.

Conclude your employee review by acknowledging the resilience of your employees.

Celebrate their wins — big and small — on a year-round basis.

 

Remember the cultural values of your business during this time, too. Lend a hand to those struggling in need of support and keep guiding those steady in their performance forward. Build your team up and encourage them to keep shooting for the stars.

Lead by example. Your team will follow for a time before they start to take the lead themselves.

The post How to conduct employee reviews appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.



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It's never been more clear: companies should give up on back to office and let us all work remotely, permanently

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  • With the rise of the Delta Variant, companies should switch to all remote.
  • All-remote is better for workplace collaboration, the environment, and companies' bottom lines.
  • Companies that switch to all-remote should be intentional about collaboration and technology.
  • Jeff Chow is SVP Product at InVision.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

It's time to go back to the office for good – the home office.

With the CDC's recommendation that even fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas with "substantial" and "high" transmission of COVID-19, employees across industries are wondering what the new future of work looks like. As the possibility of another shelter-in-place order looms, companies are deciding whether moving to a hybrid situation – simultaneously in-person and remote – is worth it.

It's not. Simply put, the concept of "forever remote" makes sense for numerous companies and industries. For many, America's "back to work" isn't a simple light switch, but many organizations are better off to shut the lights off at the traditional office. The switch to all remote will broaden a company's talent pool and increase employee happiness and retention, while limiting a lease and lowering its carbon footprint.

There are benefits to becoming a fully-remote organization. A top example is that the talent pool now goes national, or even international. Organizations are no longer limited to recruiting employees from a given radius to their offices. Asynchronous work helps to open the door for employees to work across time zones to get projects and deliverables completed in time.

InVision, where I work, has been all-remote since its inception. We have the luxury of hiring people living across the US and in 25 countries.

Additionally, without the need for a large physical office presence, companies can save hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, on leasing office space or building an expansive campus.

There is also evidence that eliminating an office for all employees to work remotely is better for the environment. Eliminating a daily commute, whether it's driving a vehicle or taking mass transit, helps cut down on emissions. This was initially noticed back in the spring and summer of 2020, when a decline in transportation due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to a 6.4% decrease in global carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of 2.3 billion tons. The United States had the largest drop in carbon emissions at 12%, followed by the entirety of the European Union at 11%.

In a June 2021 McKinsey survey of over 1,600 employed people, researchers found about one in three workers back in an office said returning to in-person work negatively impacted their mental health. Those surveyed also reported "COVID-19 safety and flexible work arrangements could help alleviate stress" of returning to the office. Not everyone who works for the same company is going to get along. In an all-remote environment, it is far easier for people who are at odds to simply avoid each other. HR won't have to spend nearly as much time mediating between (or terminating) office Hatfields and McCoys.

So, how exactly do you quickly pivot to remote again and stick with it? The key is intentionality. Teach managers to make a point of celebrating wins and good work on group calls. Build encouraging collaboration into managers' Key Performance Indicators (KPI)s. Take advantage of face-to-face opportunities by holding in-person, all-company all-hands meetings as a time to build culture, not a time to just do more work.

Treat working groups to dinner (use some of the money you saved on your lease!) and let them get to know each other as people. To be intentional, invest in new ways of working that are oftentimes better ways of working: reducing necessary meetings and adjusting more feedback sessions to asynchronous collaboration. Meetings that remain on calendars should be reserved for the purpose of being highly engaging and energizing moments for teams to brainstorm and do generative sessions.

Second is technology. By now, we're all familiar with the likes of Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams, but there are other products that can actively improve collaboration (full disclosure: I work for InVision, which makes one such digital collaboration tool, namely Freehand).

Take a thorough look with your IT team (and talk to your employees) to see what they need on a day-to-day basis. What tools does your accounting team need? Do they differ from what the marketing team needs (spoiler alert: they do). And don't force everyone to use the same tools. If your accounting team loves Microsoft Excel, that's fine for them. I can guarantee, however, that your product design team is not going to use it.

Finally, invest in your employees' ability to make the transition (again).

GreenGen, which provides green energy solutions for businesses and infrastructure projects, had one of the most pioneering ideas. "We had our employees do a two-day work-from-home resiliency test. This was to ensure that everyone's home Wi-Fi was adequate so that all of our documents and materials were easily accessible online, and that we could troubleshoot any potential problems preemptively," said Bradford H. Dockser, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of GreenGen. "Ensuring that our team members got monitors, mice, and keyboards at home made the transition seamless." With that sort of intentional stress test, GreenGen didn't skip a beat.

Above all, the main key to returning to the home office for good lies within communication. Technology and innovative products have helped to bring colleagues closer together virtually, as people work from anywhere at any time. Initial shelter-in-place orders taught many businesses across industries that remote work can be just as effective, if not more so, than the traditional office model. Businesses should make the call to go all-remote permanently. Their employees, their investors, and the environment will all thank you.

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How to Boost the Morale of Your Employees

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Employee morale is something that every business owner needs to consider and not just because it makes the workplace a nicer place for all (although this is a very important reason). High morale can result in improved productivity and overall team performance, employee loyalty and greater engagement, but it is also not easy to keep morale high and this can create a range of problems in the business.

So, how can a business improve the morale of the employees?

Use an Interior Designer to Redecorate

One study revealed that 97% of workers believe that the workplace symbolises how they are valued as an employee, so you will certainly want to create a comfortable and stylish workplace for staff (especially if they are returning after COVID-19). 

The same study showed that 65% claimed that they would consciously improve their performance in a more comfortable environment, so a smart way to improve morale would be to hire an interior designer to redecorate and use trade interior suppliers to secure the best office furniture for a more comfortable and attractive office space.

Work/Life Balance

Work/life balance has always been an important factor for staff that can have a huge bearing on morale, but particularly since COVID-19 which has changed people’s ideas and attitudes towards work (and life). You need to make sure that your company is providing the chance for a good work/life balance, which you can do by ensuring that staff are not overworked and stressed, with flexible work and the option of working from home (many are adopting a hybrid work model).

Socialisation

It is hard for employees to feel happy in their role if they do not get much chance to engage and socialise with their colleagues. This is why you should encourage employees to spend time together inside and outside of the office, which you can do by arranging informal social events after work. You cannot force people to get along, but by arranging informal events it can make a big difference to relationships and lift morale.

Communication

Following this point, one of the most important steps to take not only for morale but for general performance is good communication between management and staff. You should be providing regular positive feedback to keep morale high, but you should also keep your door open and make sure that it is easy for staff to come forward when they have ideas, issues or questions. 

These are a few of the most effective ways to lift morale that could make a big difference to your company in more ways than one. Improving morale can improve individual and team performances, encourage staff loyalty and create a positive workplace atmosphere that everyone can benefit from.

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Is Telecommuting Right For Your Business?

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Telecommuting is a big aspect of working life for many people, with evidence suggesting that more and more workers are interested in doing it sometime in their career – if… Read more »

The post Is Telecommuting Right For Your Business? appeared first on Noobpreneur.com.

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