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1 March 2023

How to Make Performance Reviews More Fair and Inclusive in a Hybrid Workplace

Jairek Robbins


When globalization made it possible for companies to have their workforce spread out in different corners of the world, many thought this would be unique to large conglomerates. Then came the pandemic, and the workplace has never been the same again.

Today, many workplaces are hybrid in nature in that some employees work remotely all or some of the time while others come to the office once in a while, and some are entirely office-based. The hybrid model creates its own challenges for human resource managers because performance reviews are trickier to perform.

We discuss some of the challenges to conducting performance reviews in hybrid environments and suggest some workarounds to ensure this important activity is done fairly.

Challenges of Performance Reviews in Hybrid Workplaces



Given that in a hybrid workplace there can be a mix of some team members coming to the office most of the time, others work remotely entirely, while others come in from time to time, there is a challenge created because the managers responsible for conducting the reviews may naturally tend to like those employees that they see regularly at the office, thereby exerting a positive influence on how they review those employees.

Mundane incidents like saying hi at the water cooler, passing each other in the office hallways, and periodically consulting one another in the course of the workweek can create bonds that directly or indirectly influence the performance review process.

This often puts remote workers at a disadvantage, because they never get to physically interact with their managers.



Many times, the day to day observations of managers at the office contribute towards the performance review. For example, how an employee conducts themselves during meetings can reveal facets of their professional conduct (do they interrupt others or they listen and wait to respond, for example).

In a hybrid work environment, this close observation isn’t easy, especially with regard to employees that rarely or never come to the office.

How to Improve Performance Reviews in Hybrid Workplaces



One way to ensure that performance reviews in hybrid work environments are fair is to put emphasis on the organization’s values and its culture. This is important because these aspects keep the company operating as one unit regardless of whether someone never comes to the physical offices, is always at the offices, or drops in from time to time.

For example, if transparency and integrity is one of your core values, all employees regardless of their work arrangements or physical location have to embody this value in all they do. Mechanisms have to be instituted to assess employees on how well they espouse the company culture, and to what extent they live by the values of the company.
In this way, managers can have a fair way to assess everyone during a given review period, be it quarterly, every six months or annually.



Every company that embraces a hybrid work system needs to come up with a defined set of metrics which they will track in order to ascertain whether employees are contributing meaningfully to the company or not.

For example, one company may look at sales targets as a vital metric to track for its sales team and the same company will expect the accounts department to reduce the overdue invoices as a vital metric during a given review period.

In short, each organization should decide what metrics they regard as important and track those metrics on an ongoing basis. In this way, it will be easier to judge remote employees and those who work from the physical office of the firm fairly since the criteria followed doesn’t favor one group over the other.



Major technological advancements have been made over the years, and these can come in handy to make the performance review process fairer in hybrid settings.

For example, you can have an app in which team goals are captured and feedback is availed through a dashboard to keep employees informed about how they are faring in terms of meeting the set expectations. Such a tool can be useful not only to the remote employee but also those that operate from the physical premises of the company.

Similarly, we mentioned that the familiarity gap between managers and their direct reports can cloud the review process. Technological tools like video calling apps or platforms can help to limit this source of bias. Managers can check in on their team members and team members can also reach the manager through these tools so that physical distance is no longer an issue.



Performance review processes, and the people responsible for undertaking those activities need to evolve in tandem with the changes taking place. For example, it would be insane to judge an employee’s productivity based on how long they spend at the office. Concrete deliverables, such as the sales volume, are a better marker of how productive an employee is regardless of how little or how much time they spend at the office.

Another way to adapt is to involve teams in setting and tracking goal attainment. Doing this brings all employees closer and the shared objectives give them plenty of reason for collaboration and interaction. When it is time for a performance review, many perspectives can also be incorporated. For example, what review does an employee give of their own performance during the time under consideration? What review do their peers provide? What’s your review as a manager? When these three perspectives are merged, a clearer and fairer assessment is bound to result.


Times have changed, and so must workplace practices also change. Hybrid workplaces present considerable challenges to managers, such as when it is time to conduct performance reviews, but those challenges are surmountable.

Use the recommendations above to ensure that the performance reviews conducted aren’t only fair but also inclusive for all categories of staff.

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