How will you present yourself in an employee performance review during such a crisis? The last time you participated in an annual review, it was all about how much you had accomplished and what is expected out of you in the next review period. But in 2020, everything changed completely.
In a world that is reeling under the weight of a global pandemic, performance at work is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. But lack of productivity can also add up to the woes, as the whole economy would come to a screeching halt when work does not get done. At an individual level also, just because a pandemic ravaged the whole world, the progress in your career should not come to a standstill. So, the need for performance assessment has been more important than ever in 2020.
But it is not straight forward. How will you present yourself in an employee performance review during such a crisis? The last time you participated in an annual review, it was all about how much you had accomplished and what was expected of you in the next review period. Though it sounds fairly simple, even then the performance reviews required careful planning and preparation in order to convey the right things, get your achievements noticed, set new targets and achieve the expected growth in the career. But in 2020, everything changed completely all of a sudden.
With extensive lockdowns, restrictions and inability to reach workplaces, there was a lot for you to adapt and change in the way you work. So, companies do realize that the employees could not possibly achieve normal levels of performance and targets, and they are redefining what is performance at this time and looking for different performance indicators.
So, when you participate in the annual review, make sure you highlight the following in order to present yourself in the best possible manner.
Adaptability to change is itself a hallmark of successful education.
1. How well did you adapt to the drastic change?
There were various factors that affected the performance of anyone who worked from home. Some of them were extremely taxing on any individual. A few of those factors may include:
- The lack of work setup at home, from where you would be expected to work for months
- The need to adapt to the new working conditions at home
- The need to quickly learn new tools to do the work
- Coordinating tasks remotely as opposed to meeting with the team in office spaces
- Unforeseen changes in objectives and targets due to uncertainties in your industry and many more
While some of them can sound trivial, they can have far-reaching implications. For instance, the lack of a proper work desk and an ergonomic chair itself can make you work from a couch for hours, amidst the daily distractions of home. That could even cause physical discomfort. So, how quickly you solve those problems and start catching up with your work is something you can highlight in your performance appraisal.
2. How well did you manage a work/home balance?
While work/life balance is something we have always strived to achieve, the challenge in 2020 was different – you had to indefinitely work from home during a pandemic. Your home was literally your place of work. The environment at home would definitely have had a great impact on how well you could perform.
Most of the time, you might have been forced to juggle between household duties and work. In addition to this, employees around the world went through problems of varying severity, such as stress caused by lockdowns, health issues faced by family members, mental health issues, etc. How well you managed to fight your problems at home and maintain your composure to do your work effectively can be highlighted in the performance review.
3. Did you rise to the occasion and take up responsibilities?
The year 2020 placed a lot of constraints on companies as well as individuals. For instance, many industries saw a drop in demand and subsequently laid-off employees. Nevertheless, many of the tasks that would have been done by those employees still remained. Someone else had to do them. Also, there was always a chance of your colleagues being unavailable due to personal reasons. Their responsibilities often had to be subsumed/temporarily taken over by someone else. Similarly, newly hired employees had to be trained and briefed before they took up the tasks. During such times, the leadership quality of an employee becomes crucial to the functioning of the organization. In your annual review, you can list out the instances where you took up ownership of such tasks, mobilized the team, and led them to get tasks done.
4. What creative workarounds did you find?
When the whole organization goes into the work-from-home mode, employees tend to bump into operational issues. Challenges were many, from a simple software issue that could stop you from receiving emails to practical difficulties and communication errors in working with a team remotely to get tasks done. It takes innovation and problem-solving abilities to find effective workarounds for these problems. Also, some complex problems may be solved by simple solutions. It takes deep thought and creative spark to get tools and protocols in place to solve these problems. When writing your performance review, you can mention how you innovated this year to solve the challenges at work.
5. Were you in sync with your team?
Teamwork is a game-changer in these difficult times. When you work from a fully equipped office facility, you have your team around you. You can meet with them at any point of time, discuss work and get work done by harnessing the collective potential and all the available tools. But when all your fellow team members are working from home without those tools and facilities, getting work done through online virtual platforms can be extremely challenging. Moreover, when everyone is in their own personal space, the drive to keep in touch with the team may be reduced. At this juncture, your ability to constantly stay in touch with the team, coordinate tasks with them, share your innovations, ideas, and workarounds, and influence them in a positive way to increase productivity is a great performance indicator. You can mention them in your annual review.
6. How did you develop yourself?
Learning is a continuous process, and it was no different in 2020. The two key differences in learning during the pandemic would be:
- The skills that were important
While you could still learn a lot to develop yourself better in your role, learning in 2020 need not be restricted to that, since your work life and personal life remained intertwined. Any skill you would have developed to manage your duties at home faster or express your thoughts and creativity better would not only have enriched you as a person, but it would also have helped you focus on your work better. So, you can also include in the performance review the skills you learned that do not come under the purview of your work.
- How you learned any new skill or upgrade existing ones
Training sessions during a normal year could be conducted based on the skill requirements. In 2020, online learning has gained prominence, and there were so many platforms to learn new skills from, including one’s own organization’s online learning channels. You can mention in your performance appraisal how you learned new skills, where you learned them, and the certifications you earned. It would show your passion to move up and keep updating yourself in-spite of the circumstances.
7. Do you conduct Self Appraisals to evaluate yourself?
You have to participate in an annual review once a year. Writing your review for 2020 is more difficult than in any other year, considering it is a year of drastic changes. Every person would have seen varying levels of performance shortfalls in this year, and it is impossible to compare anyone with another employee as a result.
Your best benchmark is yourself. So, it is important to periodically conduct self-assessment reviews and see how you have progressed. You can present your own development in chronological order to give your manager an idea of how you worked hard to improve your own performance. This would convey a clear message that you have the passion to improve your performance notwithstanding the difficult times.