With some of us adapting very well to remote working models, some preferring to work within the physical office, and some enjoying a mix of both, one thing is certain – the ‘hybrid office’ is here to stay.

We may have to accept that the career paths for remote models are remarkably different from physical ones. And so, appraisal methods ought to follow suit. Organizational goals may not change; but how employees meet those goals – through individual outcomes – are shifting. And so should the way those outcomes are measured.

Yardsticks of performance – where skills meet outcomes

Performance evaluations are usually influenced by traditional factors like the number of hours worked, number of leaves taken, attitude towards change, and interactions among colleagues, bosses, and subordinates.

But these are hard to notice in a hybrid work environment. Sticking to only these metrics during hybrid appraisals can misinform the entire process, leading to faulty ratings, unrecognized achievements, and undeserved praise (check out a previous blog on avoiding biases during performance appraisals).

Some of the new outcomes and skills being prioritized in hybrid models are:

  • Communication skills with team members during collaboration, rather than speaking time during team meetings.
  • Ability to self-manage and collaborate with peers, rather than visibility at the office.
  • Test scores on online upskilling programs, rather than the number of hours spent in physical training.
  • Number of tasks completed within a day, rather than strict process flows.
  • Punctuality during online meetings, rather than in-office attendance.
  • Progress towards a difficult task, rather than time spent at the desk.

Pivoting to these new measures gives employees the sense that their companies are levelling the ground, allowing them to pursue meaningful and impactful career journeys. They are less likely to feel disadvantaged about making active choices to work remotely or in hybrid models.

Reinforcements – the right tools and vocabulary

Hybrid working is all about flexibility. It’s time for appraisals, too, to move from rigid measures to flexible concepts that measure success, showcase accomplishments, and reward progress. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Use the right tools. Every interaction creates data, and managers and employees can leverage this to better assess their own productivity and that of the team.
  • Discover new KPIs. Rather than burdening employees with the task of showcasing their progress through lengthy reports, managers and employees can collaborate to list out new KPIs and feed this into customizable digital tools for productivity tracking.
  • Change appraisal language from a ‘numbers game’ to one that recognizes skills like team cohesion and support, and outlines room for improvement.

It helps to remember that the main driver of the remote working model – the COVID-19 pandemic – also brought on unprecedented difficulties to citizens across the globe. Performance appraisals that recognize unity, support, tolerance, and productivity will identify and reinforce the true performers.

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