- Reward employees who have excelled and offer encouragement and suggestions to those who have struggled with the transition.
- Try to keep those interactions as positive as possible, for everyone.
Yours, like many other businesses, have most likely transitioned to remote work in varying degrees. Working from home is increasingly becoming the new norm. Employees have unique needs and concerns: worries about potential job loss, concerns about infection, mental health concerns, or even friends and family members who may already have suffered from the virus. Managing employee performance during Covid-19 is therefore more complex than ever before.
The fact is you not only want to survive this pandemic, but you want to emerge stronger and more resilient. Achieving this will largely depend on how you manage your most valuable resource—your employees. Here are some approaches you can adopt to manage employee performance during this time
Pay attention to employee engagement: The pandemic has offered a huge opportunity to increase employee engagement because workers are more committed to their jobs and their employers, care more about their companies, and are eager to invest more creative energy in their efforts. This could be attributed in part to high levels of unemployment and the desire for employees to keep their jobs.
As an employer, you have an opportunity to show how much you really care about your employees, your markets and your community. Your response to the current crisis will help shape employee engagement, potentially for years. For example, you could review your internal communication strategy to make it more fun and engaging.
A good question to ask is “how can I creatively spice up my interaction with the employees to improve engagement?” If your employees aren’t engaged, you, as a manager, need to ask why, and determine how you can alter your business to make it more attractive and engaging to employees.
Consider your performance reviews: How are you conducting your performance reviews during this period? What adjustments have you made with regard to this process? It is important to think about why you’re conducting these reviews in the first place because, as the Covid-19 crisis trudges on, you’re not necessarily looking to weed out poor performers or decide who gets a raise. Rather, it’s to strengthen your organisation’s culture and reinforce its values. How you treat your employees in this situation will make or break the culture in your organisation.
Performance reviews can provide a valuable benchmark for overall employee performance, and how they are handling the current crisis. It is important to adapt performance review structure to take the crisis into account. Know what challenges employees are dealing with and how it might impact their performance.
Reward employees who have excelled and offer encouragement and suggestions to those who have struggled with the transition. Try to keep those interactions as positive as possible, for everyone.
Keep an eye on your company’s future: As you manage your employees’ performance, carefully consider what the future of your company will look like. How will these latest changes and transitions impact the way you do business in future? Many management teams predict a permanent shift in many of their operations. It is important to carefully consider how your current employees and processes will fit into that new normal.
Ask for regular employee feedback and make alterations accordingly. Many of these changes are here to stay, and keeping up with employee needs can help enhance performance, not only in the midst of the crisis, but in the future, as well.
Communicate extensively: Effective, constant communication with employees, is more important than ever at this time. As a leader, hone your communication skills during this period to maximize the performance of your staff. Not only do they need a clear explanation for what’s expected of them, you also need to carefully listen to the challenges your employees are dealing with.
Do you have employees who are struggling to work from home? Employees who need more guidance or assistance? Do your employees need to check in with you more often? While you do not want the communications to get overwhelming, you can provide clear guidance. Employees cannot complete or be held responsible for what they do not know about.