With the government’s vaccine program now well into its latter stages and Covid-19 restrictions largely removed, businesses will now be looking to return to their normal, pre-pandemic positions, or possibly to a new model following successful trials of new ways of working during the height of the pandemic.
It is very likely though that most businesses will not have held appraisals with their employees since March 2020 or earlier. Other businesses may have held appraisals but may have found that these were far less thorough than they might normally have been as a result of the restrictions in place.
Employers will now need to consider how to approach appraisals moving forward.
As all HR Managers, HR Consultants and Heads of Department will know, appraisals are a perfect way to ensure that staff feel engaged, have a clear direction, are praised were merited and corrected where necessary. They can set expectations moving forward ensuring an entire Company are all working together for the same objective and all doing what they need to do to meet that objective. Never has this been more important than after the COVID pandemic.
There are several options available to employers and the approach will depend on each businesses’ needs, whether appraisals were held more recently or not, and whether employees have in fact been working during the pandemic or whether they have spent considerable time off work whether on furlough or for another reason.
Most employers though will find that the approach with the most merit is to use an appraisal process to reset expectations moving forward. Although most employees will have been able to continue their work at home, others may have had limitations in what they could do or may have simply lost focus. There seems little benefit in pulling employees upon matters that are very unlikely to repeat once a return to some normality is achieved. Instead, focussing on what you expect moving forward, and using it as an opportunity for a fresh start, will be a good way of dealing with appraisals efficiently and of motivating employees to work hard moving forward and get back to normal.
It is also possible that employers have been able to carry out their normal appraisal program over the previous 18 months or so. If that is the case, there doesn’t appear to be any reason to divert from the normal position now. Employers in this position should continue as normal unless they see a particular benefit to adopting a different approach. Employers should also note that if they consider moving from their normal appraisal position permanently moving forward, and not just as a one-off, they should change any policy in place that sets out an old procedure that will no longer be followed.
The most important thing for all employers to be aware of in relation to appraisals is that there is no set procedure that must be followed. Appraisals can be carried out in the way that a business feels is best for them and this can be amended and tweaked as necessary from year to year. Only where there is a set policy and procedure do employers need to be more careful about making wholesale or permanent changes.
Despite that, appraisals can be very important for staff morale, and in the current circumstances post the Covid-19 restrictions, they can be of great help for employers in setting the bar for their employees moving forward. It is therefore something that, if done correctly now, could reap rewards for employers moving into next year.
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