C-Suite Agenda

Addressing performance feedback in your hybrid team

Alison and Darren Hill
Alison and Darren Hill

Hybrid working environments, as new as they are, come with some enduring challenges that leaders and HR teams need to be ready for. Coming into the mid-year (or other time of year, depending on your internal cycle) it’s easy to see the next hurdle on the horizon – performance review time. 

With hybrid teams being made up of a dynamic workforce frequently shifting from working from home to a shared office space, addressing performance feedback in a way that is clear, personal, and actionable in both an autonomous and guided way is more important than ever.

Let’s explore how you can begin to address performance feedback more effectively across your hybrid team and wider organisation.

The performance feedback conversation 

With hybrid approaches often involving a majority of individuals working remotely most days in the week or month, organisational leaders need to carefully consider the medium and approach they’ll use for performance feedback conversations.

For annual reviews, best practice still calls for a face-to-face conversation where possible. In this way, leaders and their teams are able to connect more deeply and have a better understanding of non-verbal cues when compared to virtual conversations. Returning to a shared space can also enable the use of a third point throughout the conversation, like a whiteboard diagram or printed materials that both people can reference to help depersonalise tough feedback and ensure clarity throughout the feedback process.

For more agile feedback that allows your hybrid team to function at a high level throughout the calendar year, you’ll need to equip your leaders with the tools and techniques to effectively deliver feedback and facilitate behaviour change conversations virtually. This is much more challenging, but it can be done well with the right education and understanding of human behaviour.

Performance feedback areas

It can be helpful to break down a performance review conversation into smaller areas of focus throughout the duration of the meeting. In this way, areas of concern can be explored in more depth and result in a more valuable, honest, and productive conversation.

Areas of high performance can then be championed and positive behaviours encouraged. In some instances you may find that due to the restructured nature of a hybrid workforce that some tasks that certain individuals aren’t well-equipped for can be transferred to other staff members where this is their strength. Using a coaching approach, leaders can begin to understand the individual strengths of their team members and in turn, find opportunities to support personal development and growth in alignment with company goals.

Performance preview 

Performance reviews should be more aligned to performance preview than review. That’s not just word play. You can’t change the past, but you can craft the future; and the future of your organisation in a new, innovative, hybrid team structure is well and truly up for grabs.

Consider in your upcoming performance conversations which areas you’d like the individuals in your organisation to focus on. Perhaps your goals as an organisation have shifted, or your purpose within your industry has updated and evolved in alignment with all that has changed in our world over the last 12+ months.

Are there particular behaviours you’d like to see more of across your entire team? When you come into a performance review conversation with clarity on ideal outcomes, you’ll be able to provide your people with actionable steps that will make the entire process much more effective.

This is an exciting time for HR managers and leaders alike; a time that truly enables out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to leading our teams to achieving high performance. With a hybrid team structure the physicality of our work has changed, but our people still need the direction, clarity and support of strong leaders and meaningful performance feedback in order to achieve their best.

With this at the forefront of our thinking, performance feedback across all areas from output to attitude needs to be encouraged not only at the once-a-year performance review but throughout the year in small chunks where feedback is required. When leaders have the skills and techniques to offer valuable feedback in-the-moment whether that be in the office or remotely, high performance as a hybrid team can be achieved.

Written by Alison Hill and Darren Hill.

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Alison Hill
Alison Hill, co-author of the new book Work From Anywhere (Wiley $27.95), is a registered psychologist and CEO of Pragmatic Thinking. A culmination of her expertise across leadership, culture and psychology, Pragmatic Thinking works with organisations who drive change through building better leaders, growing better teams, and shifting cultures.

Alison Hill is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow her on LinkedIn.