How And Why To Do Performance Reviews In a Pandemic

How And Why To Do Performance Reviews In a Pandemic

By Admin 4 min read

Thinking of dropping your performance reviews because of COVID? Don’t. With the uncertainty of the pandemic, performance reviews are now more crucial than ever. Workers are affected by COVID, whether they have returned to the office or not. Performance reviews have the power to reassure employees and give their work life a semblance of normalcy. However, both logistics and equity issues mean you can’t treat performance reviews the way you usually do. Here we’ll look at why pandemic performance reviews are necessary and how you can use a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) like Pypa HR to conduct performance reviews.

Why Are Performance Reviews Necessary in a Pandemic?

Many companies are thinking of ditching their performance reviews because of the pandemic, mistakenly believing that performance reviews aren’t worth the effort in the current circumstances or that doing performance reviews will only place more stress on already stressed out employees. However, we at Pypa think they’re wrong. Here’s why: 

Employee Engagement

Many employees will be feeling disconnected from work due to working from home. A performance review is a great way of dealing with this, helping employees feel like they are part of an organization and that they are being listened to. Maintaining good employee engagement is important to ensure employee retention.


If you’ve had to lay off some staff during the pandemic, your remaining employees may be in need of reassurance that their jobs are safe and that they are valued by the company. Some employees will also be worried about their performance while working from home and a performance review is the perfect thing to reassure them that their work is up to scratch (especially in this changing environment). 

Maintaining a Semblance of Normalcy

A performance review comes up at least once a year in a usual work year, making it something that workers have come to expect. Keeping your performance review during the pandemic can help give your employees a sense of normalcy (and actually be comforting), as something that normally happens at work. 

Not Being Able to Give Pay Rises

COVID has affected the finances of most businesses (including probably yours). This may mean you can’t afford to reward your employees for their hard work in the usual way with a pay rise or bonus, making it extra important that you show your appreciation for them in some other way—by doing a performance review. 

How To Do Performance Reviews in a Pandemic?

There’s no one way to do a performance review during COVID—though in many places, technology and the ability to review remotely is essential. Also important is being willing to treat your employees with empathy and take into consideration the extraordinary circumstances of living through a pandemic.

Use a HRIS

Your immediate problem with doing performance reviews in a pandemic is how to do them remotely. You could just use Skype and Zoom, but a better solution is to use a HRIS like Pypa HR. This not only allows you to complete performance reviews remotely, but also to schedule them and store results (and automate performance review forms). A cloud based, mobile optimized, HR solution is even better because it can be accessed from anywhere, on any device. Pypa HR has a variety of options for performance reviews, including peer review. 

Focus On People Not Performance

No one’s work year has been normal with COVID, so why would your performance review be? Measuring performance by your normal metrics during a pandemic is both cruel and useless, as good performance in pre-pandemic times is completely different to during the pandemic. To avoid overly focusing on elements like productivity, focus on the people. There are certain ways you can do this: 

  • Focus on career progression: Remember many employees are worried about their jobs; knowing that they have the opportunity to advance and to access career development training (which can be done remotely with a HRIS) is important. 
  • Don’t look at pre-pandemic goals: Achieving goals made pre-pandemic may be difficult or impossible, so it’s not fair to evaluate employees by these metrics. Instead, look at performance more holistically. 
  • Consider employees’ mental health: The pandemic has affected everyone’s mental health, especially those whose friends or family members have been affected by COVID, which means it’s important to limit negative feedback and reassure employees who are worried about their jobs. 
  • Make it a dialogue: Performance reviews tend to be one-sided, with feedback going from employer to employee, but your performance review is an ideal time for employees to voice their concerns or bring up areas of performance you might not have considered. 

Beware of Bias

Not all employees have had the same opportunity to work during the pandemic. Parents, especially working mothers who have done much of the pandemic childcare, may not have been so available or productive as people who have no children. People who have personally been affected by COVID will be in the same boat. It’s vital for your organization’s commitment to equity and diversity to take these factors into consideration. But how do you do this?

  • Personalize your performance reviews: The pandemic is not the time for one-size-fits-all performance reviews. Evaluating each employee on an individual basis allows you to take into account their personal circumstances and therefore improve the equity of your performance reviews and evaluate everyone’s performance equally. 
  • Have proper procedures for performance reviews: Setting up parameters for performance reviews and sticking to them makes sure your performance reviews are unbiased. A HRIS like Pypa HR helps you structure your performance reviews. Choose metrics that test soft skills and make sure you’re not just testing for performance in disguise, with metrics like “stepping up” (harder for people taking care of children all day) or “visibility” (parents may not be able to attend every meeting). 
  • Use HR Reporting where relevant: Looking at HR reports and statistics helps you gather data about your employees and how they have been performing during the pandemic. While certain metrics may be less useful, data is free from human bias. Pypa HR and other good HRIS will be able to produce all the reports you need with no extra work from you. 

Performance reviews are still an essential part of your work year, even in a pandemic. The benefits of increased employee engagement, wellbeing and normalcy outweigh the difficulty of doing a remote performance review. However, even this can be overcome—by utilizing a HRIS like Pypa HR, focusing on people, and having procedures in place to prevent bias, you can conduct performance reviews that are every bit as good as in pre-pandemic years and cement your company culture and employee wellbeing for years to come.

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By Admin 4 min read

Originally written 2 Aug, 2022 . Updated on 2 Aug, 2022

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