The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic are making hybrid work models and telecommuting more integral than ever before. While working from home is effective, it has undeniably altered the way performance management is handled in the public sector.
Maintaining the engagement of a remote workforce is one of the main challenges associated with hybrid work models and COVID. Being physically disconnected from workspaces and co-workers is changing the dynamics of teams and individual roles. This physical distance can lead to a lack of motivation or focus on organizational objectives.
Knowing how to gauge employee performance in a hybrid work environment is critical for maintaining the operational integrity of your organization. How can public sector organizations better address performance management challenges performance during COVID-19?
Performance management is a holistic approach to meeting organizational objectives through effective workforce management. This management style includes all facets of communications with employees, like collecting feedback, recognition, training and corrective actions. In the public sector, performance management also includes the concept of defensibility. Records, metrics and appraisal tools are used to measure performance.
The benefits of managing employee performance are multi-faceted. From an organizational perspective, workforce management can increase productivity and lower onboarding and recruiting costs. Similarly, legal liabilities associated with current or former employee claims are best mitigated through performance management documentation. Recognizing top performers, providing training to improve employee skills and managing corrective actions all benefit an organization’s bottom line.
From an employee perspective, having effective communication channels with leadership about various employment issues is essential. Whether your employees need help with their benefits information, have questions about disciplinary action, or want to discuss getting a raise, having performance management systems and well-versed HR resources are invaluable.
When employees are engaged, it leads to the following: strategic goal achievement, innovation, higher performance, better customer service, employee retention, collaboration and better attendance. The engagement value chain shows that improved engagement leads to better performance and higher citizen satisfaction, resulting in greater trust in the government and other public agencies. All of these improvements are prompting organizations in the public sector to change their workforce management methods.
COVID has shown it possible for public sector employees to work from home effectively. As such, organizations are treating remote working as a long-term change and are adjusting HR processes accordingly. There are several strategies for managing performance remotely, including:
Hiring consultants to train leaders on the adaptive challenges presented by the pandemic is one potential solution. Consultants are often vital in helping managers pivot when circumstances change as they did during the pandemic. It can also help leadership focus more on compassion, especially if employees are scared of losing a job to take care of a loved one or missing work if they are sick.
Many goals set before the pandemic are no longer relevant and priorities have likely changed over time. This has made performance reviews particularly challenging during COVID-19. Meeting with each employee to revisit goals well ahead of performance reviews is crucial. Managers and their teams should aim to review their goals weekly and adapt them if things have changed.
Many organizations may need to revisit total rewards, so they reflect both non-financial and financial benefits. If they don’t, employees could be sensitive to changes. They may interpret changes as steps towards an impending layoff. Continue to promote and reward the highest performing employees and consider where non-financial rewards can help support employees.
In a remote or hybrid work environment, it is even more essential for management to regularly communicate with employees about training, the organizational mission, work tasks, recognition, expectations, tools and feedback. Teleconferencing, team chat platforms and other digital tools are integral for achieving these communication objectives in a hybrid work model. Having the right tools and procedures in place can make all of the difference in remote working, especially when employees become acclimated to the change.
It is important to remember that switching to a remote workforce—and adjusting applicable performance management techniques—is a process and not an instantaneous transition. Performance management is evolving to keep pace with technological changes and the challenges presented by the COVID-19 global pandemic. These changes will be increasingly necessary to ensure that employees have the tools and support necessary to perform their jobs effectively and feel secure in a remote or hybrid work environment.
To learn more about how to manage performance during COVID or tools relating to performance management of remote workers, contact CPS HR Consulting today for a free initial consultation. Redefining employee management systems is a task made more efficient, effective and sustainable with the help of experienced HR professionals.
CPS HR Consulting is a self-supporting public agency providing a full range of integrated HR solutions to government and nonprofit clients across the country. Our strategic approach to increasing the effectiveness of human resources results in improved organizational performance for our clients. We have a deep expertise and unmatched perspective in guiding our clients in the areas of organizational strategy, recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, and training and development.