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How Talent Reviews can help your Organization Navigate the COVID-19 Pandemic

Why Talent Reviews matter during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Talent Reviews help organizations make proactive and strategic talent decisions with real-time information and input by capturing manager perceptions over time to create a comprehensive story around your organization's talent risk-- allowing for strategic, proactive talent decisions across the organization. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, talent decisions need to be made with the help of real time data and insight. Your organization can leverage Talent Reviews to stay up-to-date on your understanding of employee performance and ensure that you have the information you need to make talent decisions. 

How to use Talent Reviews during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Whether your organization has already implemented Talent Reviews or is interested in using Talent Reviews for the first time, we recommend incorporating these tips during the COVID-19 pandemic:

1. Prioritize updating Talent Reviews for your most impacted job functions. 

You may have some tough decisions in the days, weeks, or months ahead, especially if revenue has stalled. Having a clear picture of performance for each employee in the most impacted areas of your organization can help your decision-making process if and when it becomes necessary to cut back from certain functions. 

2. Take the current environment into account. 

Individual performance might be impacted by the new environment employees are working in. Employees are likely juggling duties at home now in addition to their full workload. Ensure that you take these environmental factors into account when providing Talent Reviews for employees and consider their job performance prior to the pandemic. 

3. Seek input from multiple voices. 

By themselves, managers may not have the complete picture of an individual’s performance at this time, and other leaders may be in search of top talent due to an increased need in their areas. This may be the time to look at flexible and creative solutions in order to keep a full or partial workforce.


4. Make sure leaders and managers understand the purpose of conducting Talent Reviews.

Whether this is your first time using Talent Reviews or its is already weaved into your talent program, ensure that you are clear with leaders and managers about the intent and goals behind using Talent Reviews, the expectations of those providing Talent Reviews , and expected timelines for decisions as a result of Talent Reviews. If you intend to use Talent Reviews to inform your decision about who in the organization to furlough or lay off, ensure managers know that so that they can provide Talent Reviews with the appropriate level of consideration. 

How to Interpret Talent Reviews Now

Talent Reviews collect three pieces of information on each employee – Performance Impact, Growth Potential, and Retention Risk. Typically, we recommend that you update Talent Review ratings every 6-12 weeks for your employees. However, during this pandemic, you may need to increase the frequency of those conversations depending on the needs of your business.

 Consider these potential decisions for each of the four quadrants below:

  • Stretch and Grow: Under normal circumstances, these are the employees that you might immediately promote, assign stretch assignments to, or reward with raises and bonuses. During this pandemic, your funds may be strapped and this may not be an opportune time to make personnel shifts . Consider keeping these employees on the short list of opportunities in the future. Be sure to let these employees know that their contributions are valued and provide them with coaching to keep them motivated.
  • Recognize and Retain: Under normal circumstances you may want to further develop their knowledge and expertise by investing in new tools and resources for them. However, you may have to put a pause on monetary investment but continue to praise and recognize their efforts. Discuss plans with them about what opportunities post-COVID-19 should be attended to first as the company rebounds and recovers.
  • Reset and Align: These individuals typically feel misaligned within your organization despite showing tons of potential. Under normal circumstances you might find creative ways to move these employees around the organization so that their skillset and potential aligns with their job. While immediate needs in the organization might not support this type of realignment, ensure that these employees still feel valued and capable of contributing in the future. These individuals might be on the top of your list to rehire if you needed to furlough or lay off teams and departments.
  • Coach and Guide: Under normal circumstances your go-to tactic for these employees might be to implement a Performance Improvement Plan before you make the decision to let someone go for poor performance. However, with resources and cash at a premium, you may need to forgo typical approaches such as PIPs, remedial training, or a career path change. Handle these cases with professionalism and respect for the employee and ensure your HR team is equipped to handle the transition for the exiting employee appropriately.