Tips to Manage Staff Appraisals during Covid-19 Times

Murtuza Topiwalla
Apr 20

Covid-19 times have brought in a major shift in everything we used to call normal. Our work life is also one such thing that has changed a lot during covid-19 times. We moved from working in offices to working from homes, a lot of people lost their jobs completely and had to start over. Some had to experience pay cuts for their businesses to survive. All these things happened to try and keep the businesses running as smoothly as possible.

During a crisis, it is very important to find ways to keep the employees motivated and inspired to do their job right. And one such thing that the HRs had to face was appraisals. In the midst of trying to keep the businesses afloat, the management also has to think about how to accurately go about the regular appraisals.

Appraisals are not just a raise in the money based on current work evaluation, they also redefine the performance standards and what needs to be changed in the future. In times like these, when we are going through uncertain changes all around us, it is important to keep the workforce motivated and as close to normalcy as possible.

The employees also need to understand that the organizations are going through a lot these days. Some businesses are not doing as well as they were before the pandemic so they would obviously have to reevaluate their strategies and how they go about their appraisals. Expecting the companies to appraise the same way that they were doing before the pandemic would be unfair on the employees’ part. Completely neglecting the employees’ needs and motivation and not doing enough for them would also be unfair on the company’s part. The HRs need to find a balance that will make sure the employees are motivated and don’t feel that their employers don’t care about them and also the company stays afloat and thriving.

The Purpose of Appraisals

The whole point of appraisals is to set goals and see how effectively there are being met by the employees. An evaluation of individual performance shows how well each employee is performing and contributing towards the shared goals of success. The companies need to set realistic and achievable goals based on the employees’ collective past performances. This way, anyone who is not doing enough will be visible to the management and will be rewarded accordingly. Similarly, those who are working hard and doing their best will also be seen and rewarded according to their performance.

In normal times, it’s okay to appraise on the basis of the evaluation of individuals’ performance and collective success of the goals set. In times like today, the whole evaluation process and goal setting is likely to change and shift towards a more lenient one.

Go Ahead With Normal Appraisals Or Shift The Focus?

You have two options when deciding how you should go about the whole appraisal process, and both options have their pros and cons.

Deciding to go ahead with the normal process of appraisals would have to take a lot into consideration. Is your business doing well to give out normal appraisals? Have your employees been performing how they normally should? Have you made profits and achieved the goals that were set at the start of the year?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then you can easily proceed with your normal process of evaluating individual performance and giving appraisals based on the results. But you clearly need to communicate with your employees how you’re going to evaluate their performance and reward them to make sure you’re all on the same page.

The positive side of this approach is that the employees will be familiar with the whole process and they would know what to expect. They would be rewarded how they normally are, so no surprises there!

But the negative side is that any future changes in appraisals might not be welcomed by the employees because they would expect the same level of normalcy in the future as well. The company would have to maintain the same approach towards appraisals in the future as well or they would face greater backlash if they try to change their policies according to future profits and losses.

If you plan to shift your approach because your business has not been going as smoothly as before, you’d have to be even more careful and consider many different factors. How are you going to evaluate the performance keeping in mind factors unrelated to the business that might affect the performance of your employees? Will it be fair to reward all the employees equally or should you do it according to how they’ve been performing? Should you give out bonuses as financial support and not as indicators of performance?

These are some of the questions you can ask to help you decide better how you’re going to roll out the appraisals. But keep in mind that all these could have negative as well as positive impacts on the motivation of the employees. If the high-performing employees feel that they are not being rewarded according to their hard work, they might feel demotivated. If the employees that have not maintained their performance because of some personal reasons get lower rewards, they might feel that the company is being inconsiderate of their problems and their performance might drop further below the normal levels.

Keeping a balance and making sure all the employees are clearly communicated how they would be rewarded is the best way to go about this shift in focus. The times are already pretty uncertain and scary, the companies should try to be as transparent as they can be to make sure no one is left behind.

Ultimately, you should see what works best for your company and go ahead with it. There is no one approach that fits all. Every organization has faced different challenges and so should have its own solutions that work best for the employees as well as the employers.


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