Performance reviews 'more important than ever': 4 tips on addressing performance gaps

Some managers may have put performance reviews to the side amid the pandemic, but Tom Gimbel, CEO of recruiting firm LaSalle Network, said they are more important than ever in a March 1 column published in The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Gimbel said in working remotely, many employees lose peer feedback. 

"They don't hear or see what others are doing, or the praise and recognition their peers are getting, so they can't gauge how they measure up," he said.

Mr. Gimbel gave four tips on addressing performance gaps with employees.

1. Build a relationship with employees.
Managers should put effort into getting to know their employees, he said. If the only time a manager reaches out to staff is when it is bad news, team members will be terrified to answer those calls.

2. Consider how the current environment may have affected performance.
There may be a learning curve to talking to colleagues through email or using new technologies. Before discussing mistakes, Mr. Gimbel suggests asking the employee if they understood the project or have unanswered questions.

3. Use video calls for tough conversations.
First, ask how the employee is doing. This could uncover unknown issues. Secondly, look straight into the camera to appear like you are looking into their eyes. If you notice body language changes during the conversation, bring it up to ask them how they are feeling about the conversation.

4. Follow up with the employee.
Send an email or have a follow-up call to gauge how the employee felt about the conversation and to make sure they understood correctly where they fell short and how to move forward. Address it if the employee makes a negative change in their behavior, if necessary.

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