June 24, 2020

The Process of Performance Management for Homeworkers: 10 Top Tips

Are many of your employees still working from home? If yes, you’re perhaps considering how best to effectively manage the process of performance management during this challenging time.

The key performance management tools are still applicable, but they need to be adapted to fit the new working environment. Done well, this will help maximise productivity and allow you to find out about performance – without micromanaging!

There are of course, additional challenges. For example, managing your whole team remotely and dealing with the impact of personal circumstances, like juggling work and childcare.

Remember, as businesses emerge from lockdown, performance issues that were there before the pandemic, will still need addressing and are unlikely to have gone away.

10 Top Tips on Performance Management

1. Communication

Keeping connected is more important than ever right now. Use the available tools in your business to hold regular (remote) meetings and keep in touch. Things like Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, and recurring check-in calls in Outlook will come in handy to stay in touch.

2. Wellbeing

Promote health and wellbeing and check on this during individual chats with your employees. Remember to listen with an open mind. And be aware that not everyone will want to be honest and fully open up on the first call. Make yourself available and keep a line of communication open for your team.

3. One to ones

Continue with your existing performance management processes. Ensure 1:1s or supervisions happen regularly to assist with the management of your employees. Consider if the frequency of 1:1s should be increased to take into account remote working or recognise the challenges employees may face while adapting to new working practices.

4. Listening

Take into account each individuals’ personal circumstances. This advice is relevant now just as it was pre-COVID-19. A reasonable employer will take into account the additional responsibilities that employees may have during the pandemic including caring responsibilities, childcare and schooling. This could be temporarily impacting on their usual level of performance and should not be overlooked. Don’t forget to take notes of your discussions.

5. Setting expectations

Set clear goals and expectations so the employee is aware of the required standard of performance. It is key that you concentrate on outcomes and results. Managers who used to have an office-based team prior to COVID-19 may need to change their focus when measuring home workers performance. Move to assessing quality, results or achievement of the agreed objectives.

6. Objectives

Review any objectives set before COVID-19. Are they still relevant and achievable? Do current objectives need to be realigned to new business priorities? Ensure everyone is clear on what they need to achieve and by when. Timescales will need to be adjusted to give employees an opportunity to adapt to newly implemented ways of working. It may also be helpful to break objectives down into smaller milestones at this time. Ensure the objectives are realistic, that you agree the objectives with your employees and explore any concerns.

7. Measuring performance

Think carefully about how you will measure performance. The way in which tasks are carried out may have changed during the pandemic. What performance outputs can you measure?

8. Feedback

Include positive feedback as well as any areas for improvement. This should still be given regularly and given at the time it occurs.

9. Reviews

Regularly review objectives to ensure they remain relevant to the business in this rapidly changing time.

10. Address underperformance 

Managers should aim to address performance short falls through normal day to day management practices where possible. It is only if the issue is repeated or more serious that formal procedures (i.e disciplinary or capability) should be considered. Managers should not “save up” issues.

The performance issue being raised should be explained and the employees response listened to. The manager should clearly explain the required standard of performance and what needs to be done to achieve it. Be supportive.

Progressing to Formal Action

  • The employee’s reasons for underperformance must be taken into account before deciding to progress to a formal disciplinary or capability hearing.
  • Don’t invoke a formal procedure if the underperformance is only due to their individual personal circumstances. Ensure you take employment law advice.
  • If informal methods have not been successful in improving performance, and the employees reasons have been considered, then progression to formal hearing may be necessary in line with the organisations disciplinary or capability procedures. These meetings can also be held virtually while following the required steps.
  • If the failure to meet performance levels is due to an employee’s conduct (for example negligence) then proceeding under the disciplinary procedure may be necessary.
  • Employment Tribunals will still look at whether the employer has followed the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures in a fair and reasonable way.

Effective performance management will help you support your employees and keep them focused, happy and productive during these challenging times.

Need support in this area? Contact Moorepay for step-by-step advice on the process of performance management.

Please note: this article was correct at the time of writing, however take a look at our knowledge centre for the most up-to-date articles surrounding this topic.

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About the author

Louise Gillibrand

About the author

Louise Gillibrand

Louise is a generalist Human Resource professional with over 18 years’ experience across a variety of sectors including care, medical, retail and telecommunications, and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Louise provides sound practical and business-focused advice in line with employment legislation and best practice, and has worked in partnership with line managers, senior operational managers and directors. Typical consultancy projects include advice on complex employee relations issues, redundancy programmes, restructures, TUPE, recruitment, policy writing and grievance/disciplinary handling. In addition to her generalist knowledge she is experienced in delivering training on a wide variety of employment law and HR subjects. Louise joined the Moorepay consultancy team in October 2007.

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