While all the guidelines that apply to productive performance reviews still apply in our work-from-home environment, there are certainly new dynamics in how and where this feedback gets shared.
Because we’re invited into homes more often (thanks to video meetings), we know more about our people and their personal life. We see their home environment, interact with their kids and pets, and most importantly, we all share more about our own personal challenges because we have a common experience — the pandemic.
We all have stories about what we are and are not doing these days. This is one good thing that has come from the pandemic experience and it makes approaching the feedback process with empathy presumably easier to do.
Giving Feedback to Remote Employees
We’ve always been proponents of giving effective performance feedback and our overarching advice is to move performance feedback from a formal and infrequent exercise to an informal and frequent process with regular feedback.
That is best done through continual weekly coaching, after specific joint sales calls, and when revisiting goals and plans. Ultimately a sales executive must help their direct reports develop their sales skills because that is the only way to deliver sales results.
We’ve always been big proponents of in-field coaching where managers accompany sellers on calls with the primary goal of observing and providing feedback afterwards about what went well (3x) and what could have gone differently (1x).
This can still be done on a shared-video platform sales call — perhaps even more effectively. This is the best performance feedback available and provides actionable steps to increase a salesperson’s skills.
While performance reviews have been cemented in the management procedure for most companies breaking them down from an event to a continual process benefits everyone and makes for no surprises along the way.
How to Give Feedback Virtually
Giving feedback is hard. Giving feedback virtually is a little more difficult. You don’t have the luxury of water cooler talks, "dropping by the say hey", or reading body language while having a discussion.
However, the best practices for giving feedback remain the same remotely as they did in-person. Aside from establishing more frequent and casual check-ins via video, you still want to:
- Make your feedback specific
- Provide more positive than negative feedback
- Be consistent
- Be transparent
Studies show that people who regularly receive feedback on their strengths sell 11% more than those who do not. Helping both sales managers and salespeople to better understand and manage their own strengths is key.