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Performance Reviews in 2020: Should They Change?


Whether organizations should change how they approach their performance reviews has been a question on the minds of many HR professionals and executives as the end of 2020 draws near. With the switch to remote work and the economy shutdown, looking back at the goals you set 6 months ago or last December is most likely comical right now given the recent events of 2020.

Should I skip the performance review all together?

Our recommendation: No, do not skip the performance review this year. Performance reviews are an important step in managing the performance of your employees. The 2020 performance reviews will act as a crucial catchup with your employees – allowing you to address the events of 2020, goals that were set, and set the tone for moving forward. Think of the reviews as an important reset button.

Should I approach 2020 performance reviews the same as last year?

Our recommendation: Yes and no – many organizations are approaching performance reviews as they always have, but they are tweaking the process to match the current environment. A few things we recommend are to:

1) Have questions related to WFH and overall setup

If you are remote and have not asked your employees how they are doing or what they think can be improved in the process, this is a perfect opportunity to address this. We have a list of WFH questions you can ask your employees.

2) Focus on “input” rather than “output” objectives

Most likely, your organizations’ objectives/KPIs have become meaningless due to Covid-19. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t assess people’s performance – consider assessing people’s inputs (e.g., number of calls made to prospects) instead of outputs (e.g., sales closed). Inputs are under people’s controls. Outputs, especially now, aren’t. We would also recommend involving your employees in the goal setting process. Employees whose managers involve them in a goal setting are 3.6 times more likely than other employees to be engaged.

3) Provide continuous feedback

If you are still conducting the traditional annual performance reviews without regular feedback sessions with your employees, now is the time to consider whether this is the most effective method to assess employees’ performance. Given the uncertain environment, you and your employees need to be able to adapt and change goals as needed. If you are only meeting with your employees annually, this will be difficult, if not impossible, to do. A continuous feedback solution will help keep employees developing, motivated & aligned on objectives in more real-time. If you are unsure how to give feedback, check out our examples of employee feedback.

Need some questions to ask your employees during their feedback conversations or reviews? Check out our guidebook: 100+ Questions for Your Next Performance Review.

How are you changing your performance reviews this year?

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