Covid-19 thrust many workers into remote positions, requiring a different skill set than the face-to-face working conditions they’re used to. Job performance reviews have always been standard in most industries, but navigating these new remote work space procedures brings on a different kind of tension for workers. Although it can be difficult to ease the stress this new way of life has brought on, there are ways to help ourselves feel more confident, calm, and collected.
First, Know That Nerves Are Normal
It’s understandable for employees, who once worked in an office and now work from home, to be nervous for their first WFH performance review. Many employees have been working more hours than before the pandemic now that the line between home and work life is blurred. Yet despite this, workers are worried their managers might not be able to see what they are doing. In addition, parents have had to shift around their hours to care for and homeschool their children, and not all managers are considerate or aware of that.
Show Your Work
Employees can prove their performance even when they’re not physically visible in the office. The best way someone can show that they’re present and productive is by communicating more often and by being deliberate with their communication. Sending update emails at the end of the day to recap what you worked on, status reports, check in meetings, and confirming you’ve gotten things done by your deadline will all help to build confidence in your leaders or managers.
Preparing For Your Work-From-Home Performance Review
- Start with your strengths, and here’s why.
- Studies show that using one’s signature strengths in a new and unique way increases happiness for up to 6 months (Gander, Proyer, Ruch, and Wyss, 2012)
- Employees who used four or more of their signature strengths had more positive work experiences than those who expressed less than four (Harzer and Ruch, 2012)
- Deploying one’s signature strengths at work is linked with greater work satisfaction, greater well-being (“happiness”), and higher meaning in life (Gallup, 2012)
- Two of the most important predictors of employee retention and satisfaction are using your top strengths at work and reporting that your manager recognizes your top strengths (Gallup, 2009)
- In a three-year analysis of employee engagement drivers, focusing on character strengths was among the three most crucial drivers, along with managing emotions and aligning purpose (Wood et al., 2011)
Using your strengths at work will help you to feel more confident and therefore happier. Happy employees are more productive. This will certainly come across to your manager or CEO.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what your strengths are, there is a FREE 15 minute assessment that has been translated into 23 languages, is validated across all cultures, and can be taken by kids (10 years and up) and adults.
Determine what your strengths are, how you use them in your everyday work, and write it down. Have it handy for your review so you can refer to it. For example, you might say, “I’ve used perseverance to get work done between 9 PM and 1 AM when my kids are asleep so that there is no gap in service to our customers.” Research actually shows that when managers focus on an employees’ strengths, they are 99% likely to stay engaged. So, it benefits managers and employees to focus on what’s working.
- Ask your manager what they see as your strengths.
Asking questions puts your manager in the driver’s seat where they like to be. Asking simple questions like, “What areas can I improve? What areas am I doing well in? What do you see as my strengths and how can I use those to do better? Am I overusing my strengths?” If you and your manager align on your strengths, you can use them going forward, which is more energizing to you and easier for you to get the work done. This helps to promote a better working relationship with your manager, which can lead to more opportunities in the future.
- Make your manager look good.
In the book Multipliers by Liz Wiseman, she talks about the smartest people in the room, and those who make people feel like they are the smartest in the room. Are you a genius or a genius maker? What can you do to make your manager a genius? Ask your manager, “How can I use my strengths to benefit the team, my customers/clients, and my leaders?”
This helps you because it makes your manager feel safe, like you aren’t trying to take over their job or are stepping over the line, and it makes life easier for them. Plus, who doesn’t want to look good? Your manager will certainly appreciate a worker who can confirm by example that they’re doing a great job.
Performance reviews can be nerve-wracking. With so many people out of work and the rest of the workforce at home, the pressure is on for employees. We’ve all had to adjust to systems that completely upset our normal routines and comfort zones, leaving us feeling lost and out of control. It can be difficult to feel confident given all of that, but hopefully, with these tips to define and focus on your strengths, you’ll feel more prepared and have more control over your own wellbeing.