An uncertain time calls for flexible performance management - how to reevaluate and revive your process

Rosalind Bygott
30th September 2020

Many HR teams have been forced to do things differently over the past few months as they’ve been learning how to manage their teams remotely. In times of major change, performance management can often take a back seat while the focus falls on the pressing priorities of restructuring and supporting their organisation through such a difficult time. Some organisations have paused their regular review schedule and suggested their employees conduct ad-hoc check-ins instead, while others have put performance management on hold completely while they juggled these other priorities.

Learning from the challenges of this year

While the future is uncertain and planning ahead is difficult, we can still evaluate what we’ve learnt from the challenges of 2020. It’s become quite clear that strong communication between employees and managers is crucial for an organisation to thrive, especially when everyone is working remotely. Keeping that connection going is vital to maintain morale, engagement, and productivity. We know that a lot of our clients have introduced regular check-ins even if their pre-pandemic process consisted of only having annual or quarterly reviews. Organisations need to regularly reassess what is needed to support their employees as the external environment is more turbulent than usual in these unprecedented times – what works one week may be totally different the next. If you would like some practical advice on how to best utilise Appraisd during periods of uncertainty, our founder Roly has put together some suggestions.

Don’t dwell on what you haven’t done, use this time to reassess what you need for the future

Following six months of disruptions, we’re getting more used to the uncertainty of the situation and despite constant change, we are aware that business must find a way to carry on. It’s a great time to look back on what you’ve learnt recently, whether that’s doing more check-ins or simply taking a break from reviews, and decide what you’d like your performance management process to look like for the next few months. It might not be a long-term solution, but you can find something that works for you and your employees now.

Rather than dwelling on the reviews that are overdue or the objectives from 2019 that never got completed, take this opportunity to make a fresh start. We can help you close down anything that’s overdue on your account so you’re free to move forward. This doesn’t mean you need to pick up where you left off. Initially, you may want to keep things simple, so your employees feel supported rather than burdened. Keep the focus on strengthening the communication between your employees and managers.

Here’s what we advise…

  • Close down all overdue reviews. Here’s a help page to guide you through this.
  • Close down all overdue objectives if they’re no longer relevant. If they still need to be worked on, they can be put back into draft so your employees can change their due dates and make any necessary updates.
  • Set new objectives. Ask your employees to login and add some. Or we can help you set-up objective setting reviews, so your employees are prompted to add new objectives within a controlled timeframe to provide more structure.
  • Advise your employees and managers to start using Appraisd for their check-ins if they’re not already doing so. This means they will have everything they need when you start your formal review process again without them having to recall their conversations from memory. It will also give HR oversight of what is being discussed and early warning of any issues that arise.
  • Review your check-in forms and consider freshening them up. Make sure your forms really ask the important questions. You may want to implement a range of forms for your employees to choose from, here are some examples: work check-in, wellbeing check-in, working from home check-in, development check-in, career check-in.
  • Enable the instant feedback feature and start developing a feedback culture if you haven't done so already. We recently published a report detailing what kind of feedback employees value and how to encourage a constructive culture. The research shows that employees value timely and relevant feedback, and in challenging times this feedback is crucial. ​Click here to access the "How am I doing?" report.
  • Don’t worry about having formal reviews until you’re in a place to do so. We can easily pause your automatic cycles or adjust these as you need.

We understand that all our customers have their own unique pressures and challenges and we’re here to offered tailored advice no matter what these may be. If you need help, please reach out to us at to speak to one of our Customer Success team in more detail about your specific requirements and discuss what to do next.