Performance Appraisals in the Midst of a Pandemic

If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us one thing, it’s that the current way work is structured wasn’t meant to last. As the world hunkered down due to the lockdown, companies were forced to change working arrangements and the way they handle performance appraisals.

COVID-19 changed how the world operates, and the way appraisals are done. These updates would affect whether you’ll be regularized or get that promotion, which might make you consider whether your employee rights are being violated or not.

Therefore, knowing the reasons behind the changes can help protect your rights and your colleagues. This article aims to uncover the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic enforced on how various businesses conduct performance appraisals. Hopefully, this piece will help you know your rights better as you get that all-important update.

What is a Performance Appraisal?

In straightforward terms, a performance appraisal is a systematic evaluation of an employee’s performance at work over a set period. The frequency of these assessments will mainly be determined by the contract agreed upon by the employee and employer, but they usually happen once or twice a year.

There are multiple reasons why performance appraisals are necessary for any company. One of the appraisal’s primary objectives is to help determine the compensation package a specific employee will be getting. It also helps find their strengths and weaknesses to help them perform better. Multiple methods can be used during a performance appraisal:

  • Ranking method: The rater will rank their subordinates on their overall performance. While it helps you see an overview of how the team is performing, it doesn’t give a clear picture of how the employee fared.
  • Forced distribution method: The person in charge of appraisal will allocate a certain percentage of points to specific categories. This method eliminates rater bias, but it may affect the morale of employees who feel they did satisfactory work than what was graded to them.
  • Critical incident method: The rater compiles lists of statements about an employee’s effective and ineffective behavior. This provides an objective assessment of their performance, but it may further highlight negative incidents.

How Recent Events Transformed Performance Appraisals

In an ideal world, performance appraisals weren’t affected by the pandemic. However, the events that transpired over the past two years may have changed some performance appraisals.

One of the most significant talking points is the Black Lives Matter movement. Since the May 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, the systemic injustices that minorities have faced for decades were once again brought to light, culminating in protests all over the United States and the world.

Another event that likely influenced how performance appraisals are judged was the pandemic. COVID-19 forced governments worldwide to close down businesses, and plenty became unable to sustain their employees at a lesser capacity.

As companies were forced to downsize, furloughing employees became a challenging task that nobody was eager to take part in. Some may have used their employees’ performance appraisals to keep their businesses running.

Using performance appraisals to give specific people an unfair advantage is a classic workplace discrimination case. As a means of evaluating employee performance, appraisals are susceptible to negative influence.

One of the biggest dangers of performance assessments is the innate bias that appraisers can have towards a particular employee, affecting their ratings. Another major problem is that some performance evaluations happen once a year, and such arrangements don’t work for all employees.

How can Appraisers Avoid Giving Biased Ratings?

Giving an objective assessment of an employee’s work is one of the toughest tasks a manager can provide. Fortunately, there are ways they can try to provide objective and fair appraisals to employees aside from employer-to-employee engagements.

One approach is to have more than one individual assess an employee’s performance. This will give management a clearer picture of what the employee has been like during their time with the company.

Adjusting the rating system to meet observable achievements instead of a manager’s personal opinions is another effective way of eliminating biases for fair employee promotion. It would be hard for a manager not to be biased if the system they’re rating employees on encourages such tendencies to happen.

Finally, managers and supervisors must agree on which metrics to judge their employees on. The criteria must be based on employee core competencies that everyone has agreed on.

Employee appraisals are a crucial part of maintaining a helpful workplace environment. By regularly providing feedback and evaluating an employee’s performance, managers can help employees improve their skills and identify areas for growth. This can increase employee job satisfaction, motivation, and productivity.

In addition to providing feedback, employee appraisals allow managers to recognize and reward employees for their hard work and achievements. This can help to boost morale and create a positive workplace culture.

However, it’s important for managers to approach appraisals with empathy and understanding. By listening to employees’ concerns and providing support and guidance, managers can create a supportive environment that encourages growth and development.

Ultimately, regular employee appraisals can play a critical role in creating a positive work environment where employees feel valued, supported, and motivated to do their best work.

Secure a Fairer Assessment for You and Your Colleagues

Everyone in the workplace deserves to be treated with the same level of respect regardless of their position in the hierarchy. Performance appraisals should be given out under the idea of fairness, and any actions that undermine this should be met with opposition.

If you feel that you were a victim of unfair appraisals or other forms of harassment at your workplace, don’t be afraid to reach out to a respected legal consultant for help.

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