Just like every other business practice, the pandemic of 2020 served to greatly disrupt the means by which business owners and managers evaluate their employees.
In days gone by, the evaluation cycle might have looked like a series of one-on-one meetings held over a series of days or weeks. Today, however, some of your highest-performing workers might be several states away or on the other side of the globe.
4 Criteria for Determining When to Promote Your Remote Workers
How can remote employees be evaluated for possible promotion fairly and consistently? Listed below are four practices that can help serve as guardrails.
1. Use a standardized evaluation platform.
If you are tinkering with the idea of using one system to evaluate your in-person employees and another for your remote workers, don’t. Your company may already be experiencing a minor culture split of sorts between these two tribes. Using differing means to evaluate job performance and promotability will only serve to contribute to an undesirable “two cultures” mentality.
The software platform you use for employee evaluations should address the new reality of a remote or hybrid workforce. If you are using an evaluation tool that dates back to 2019 or earlier, you might need to upgrade or invest in an entirely new system.
In addition to the basics of employee evaluations—numbers of years of service, tasks completed satisfactorily, sales closed, feedback from managers and teammates, etc.—you’ll want to carefully evaluate a remote employee’s availability to others. If your team experienced persistent issues getting hold of someone, these need to be documented and addressed. Just make sure you use the same standard you would for your in-person employees.
2. Document “leadership intangibles.”
The software your company uses to evaluate its employees may or may not permit the addition of factors that are important to you when rewarding employees. For example, a remote employee may routinely pick up the slack without complaint, perform meaningful work outside of office hours, or go to great lengths to make other employees feel valued and included. Your ability to remind yourself of demonstrated leadership potential throughout the year or quarter—or the lack thereof—could easily help you cast a deciding vote between two otherwise-equal promotion candidates.
3. Carefully scrutinize employee time tracking (and billing).
You trust your employees to bill you for actual time worked and provide consistent productivity. When evaluation time is upon you, make a cursory check of employee timesheets a routine procedure.
You are not looking for “Gotcha!” moments or demonstrating a lack of trust. It’s better to frame your double-checking as a verification process. After all, you might discover that one of your remote workers was actually underpaid. On the other hand, moving someone into a leadership role assumes that they understand and agree to your expectations. If their paperwork contains numerous irregularities, this needs to be factored into your ultimate decision.
4. Require self-evaluations well in advance.
You can learn a great deal about someone by asking them to describe themselves. At the simplest level, you are gaining another perspective. With a required self-evaluation, however, you are asking your employee to make the case for why a promotion has been merited. Set aside time to review self-evaluations before you meet with the employee. Commit yourself to come up with at least three salient questions to ask based on their feedback.
We are living in a time of great transition. Processes that worked great just a couple of years ago may no longer yield the same results.
In addition to evaluating remote workers for a possible promotion, factor in additional time to evaluate your decision-making tools and assumptions. Many business owners and managers are breaking new ground with a hybrid workforce, so it’s reasonable to expect a few snags along the way. Should an employee be passed over for advancement, you want to be clear it was for the right reasons and that it’s all been documented.
The original article can be found at: Forbes (Entrepreneurs)