Why performance reviews are essential for your remote team

Let’s talk about performance reviews.

Okay, so they’re not exactly the most thrilling two words I’ve ever written. Whether you’re an employer or employee, even the thought of a “performance review” might fill you with dread!

But here’s the thing…they’re essential and hugely beneficial for both employees and employers. Especially if your team is remote. We’ve put together some of the top reasons why we LOVE performance reviews here at Grow My Team and why you should never, ever skip them.

1. Improve individual and overall team performance

Do you care about performance? You should. Top-notch performance means better results, better productivity, and all that good stuff for your business.

Performance reviews can be extremely motivating for some people. I mean, if schools never sent out report cards or looked at assignments, do you think some students would skip study? It’s kind of the same thing. Knowing that someone’s going to look at the details of how they contributed to the team will help some of your employees try their hardest and reach their potential.

2. Let your employees know where they stand

Performance reviews are the perfect time to provide encouragement and feedback. They’re a chance to encourage, reward, and retain your most amazing employees.

So use this opportunity to speak openly and candidly with your employees, tell them what you think, and where they can improve. This exercise can really take the uncertainty out of the employer/employee relationship. When your team are remote, they might need this to reassure them that their job is stable and their employer is happy with how everything is going.

3. Show employees more ways they can be useful and add value

I’m willing to bet that most of your employees want to be useful to your business. But maybe they don’t know how they can add value. Or maybe you don’t know the full extent of their skills, experience, and how they can help you. A performance review is the perfect place to to get clear about your expectations and any further opportunities for them to contribute and add value. You might be surprised at the ideas and skills they have to offer!

4. Create an opportunity for rewards and benefits

As an employer, you want to reward your staff for great performance. But it can be hard to know what achievements to reward them for and when to offer this recognition, especially if your employee is consistently performing well. Because performance reviews happen regularly (we do them twice a year), it gives you a framework for rewarding your staff on a regular basis and ensuring their efforts are recognised.

For example, if your performance review shows they met or exceeded all the targets you set, that’s the perfect opportunity to offer a reward. For example, you might give them a pay rise, give them a bonus on their next pay, or an extra paid day off to celebrate their achievements.

5. Identify problems early on

Even the best employee/employer relationships have a few bumps in the road. Miscommunication, cultural differences, and different expectations can all contribute to things getting off track. It’s way easier and less awkward if you can get everyone in your team on the same page if you identify an issue and talk it through early on. And with a performance review, you’ll have a set date to look at the issue, schedule a meeting, and work through it.

6. Set expectations and plans for the future

A performance review is a good time to discuss long-term and short-term goals for the business and for your team. See how your employee’s performance and KPIs fit into these goals and how they can contribute. This allows them to be part of your vision and help them take ownership of their role.

7. Plan for training and development opportunities

You want skilled employees, and your employees want to grow their skills. So let them! A performance review is the perfect time to talk about where they can add more value, what skills they can build on, and find out what they’re interested in learning about. Ask them to suggest at least one training course or opportunity they’d like to pursue that they believe will add value.

8. Allow employees to easily approach management

In cultures (like in Australia and the USA) employees feel relatively comfortable approaching management, making suggestions, and bringing up issues. But a lot of other cultures don’t operate like this. Your remote team members might need more prompting to speak their mind and bring up any issues with you. A performance review is the right time for them to do it. Make sure you give them ample opportunity to share their thoughts during your discussion.

9. Gather statistics to monitor employee satisfaction

Part of your performance review could include a survey where you ask your staff questions about their satisfaction levels. Use this to put together some stats and a report that shows how satisfied your overall team are and whether they feel supported. After all, a performance review shouldn’t just be about your team’s performance. It’s just as valuable to review your performance as an employer, too.

10. Make decisions about promotions

If you’re planning to restructure your team or add some more employees, you might want to use this opportunity to evaluate your current staff. Could you promote them and add juniors beneath them? Would this match their skills and career goals? Promoting your best staff is an excellent way to boost their motivation and reward good work.

11. Refer to your notes in the future and spot trends

Another great thing about performance reviews is… you have a written record and you can refer back to your notes at any time in the future. You can spot trends, identify what’s going well, and whether the same issues keep coming up.

12. Streamline your processes

Here’s the thing… you could just sit down with your employees and chat about their performance at any time. And I always recommend you communicate openly and regularly with your remote staff. But if you have a big team, conducting ad-hoc performance reviews will be less efficient than sticking to a set process and schedule.

Our process usually involves sending out a reminder on-schedule (so you don’t have to worry about remembering when they’re due!) and a simple form with set questions that cut straight to the important issues. Then we take this review and send it on to your team member, and if necessary, schedule a meeting to discuss.

It’s a really streamlined process, and our busiest clients appreciate that it doesn’t take much time or effort, but it still gets them a great result.

Over to you...

As you can see, there are so many benefits to doing regular performance reviews… and hopefully you’re not dreading them quite as much now… maybe you’re even excited by them!

If you’re a GMT client, your next performance review is coming right up (yay!) so stay tuned for that - and make sure you fill it out! And if you’re not a client, maybe we should talk so you can at least see what you might be missing out on (as you can tell, we’re pretty fantastic).

We don’t just help our clients with performance reviews… we help with their strategy, hiring, screening, interviewing, and ongoing management. If you’re interested in hearing more, you can either contact us or send through a talent request here. You could have your new team in as little as two weeks.