How to Prepare for a Performance Review in the WFH Environment
Updated: May 31, 2021
Part 1 of a 3 part series on working from home (WFH) and performance reviews. It’s 2020 and you’re up for a performance review and you wonder, “Are we really still doing those this year?” Once confirmed you start to then feel some new nervousness. If you have any questions around “what will be reviewed?” Or “how will they be assessing my performance in this new virtual world?” you are not alone. Employees who once worked in an office and now WFH are experiencing new levels of nerves for their first performance review in this new virtual setting for several reasons. The main reason being the presence of ambiguity. Ambiguity is the seed of nervousness when it comes to a performance review. If any of these (hopefully not all) conditions exist, it leaves space for questioning what will be reviewed. 1) Lack of visibility: there is less daily visibility in a virtual setting if daily work production isn’t tracked or noticed regularly by a superior or manager. 2) Lack of acknowledgment: they haven’t received verbal or written encouragement, or kudos, for the work that is being produced. 3) Lack of feedback: the team they support doesn’t provide feedback on the work contributions that are turned over to them. 4) Lack of supervision: the regular collaboration work is done in small pockets of employees without a manager or supervisor providing feedback. 5) Lack of structure: they can work whenever they want and wonder who else is online to know they exist. 6) Lack of community: if coworkers are all working independently and there is not an established way to connect, an employee can feel that the isolation allows space for others to have an advantage, leaving them guessing at what will be reviewed in a comparative way on their performance. Not knowing what will be reviewed is often the most fearful aspect of a review. How to prepare for the review and be more visible Generally, employees can provide proof of their performance, even when they’re no longer “visible” in the office, by taking charge of communicating what they are doing in a regularly scheduled email that includes what they have completed, the challenges they have run into, and how they were addressed or resolved. This provides a communicated tracking of their actions and results. This does several things: 1) It provides an electronic trail of communication with their leader/boss/supervisor/manager. 2) It provides them with a sense of how much they get done by having this record to remind them. 3) It provides a list of accomplishments they can speak to when they are in their performance review. 4) It can also be a great window, from a leader’s point of view, of who is experiencing challenges in accomplishing their work, and if there a common thread to explore (such as one particular employee or department). Why does it matter? This is important to:
showcase self-efficacy and accountability of the employee.
provides proof that there was work accomplished and that it was communicated – of which it can also be verified by others if in question.
it provides helpful information on what is (and is not) working in the new virtual setting to leaders.
If you would like more information on how to become more visible in the virtual environment, I can help in several ways: Email me to connect (firstname.lastname@example.org) and share what you’re the most nervous about – I’ll do my best to calm the nerves and provide tips on how to relax and step into the review with more information. Connect with me on LinkedIn to direct message me plus gain insights from future postings. Or reach out for a quick call to discuss what you would like to have happen in the review- I may have a few surprises to help.