Planning Performance Appraisal Success in a Virtual World

Do you remember your assigned work at the start of the performance period?

For some, this may be the last three months of a performance period. For others, this is the halfway point. For many, this year started with face-to-face collaboration and delivery of services and goods. Things have definitely changed. Many organizations have shifted work due to the coronavirus and stay-at-home orders.

Has your assigned work changed from the beginning of the performance period? Regardless, it is never too early to think about how to plan for performance appraisal success, especially in a virtual world.


What is the description of the highest rating standard in your performance appraisal system? Does your assigned work still align with the standards in a virtual world? Do regulations allow for flexibility in doing your work? Can you streamline delivery processes? What technology does your IT department have now that can assist you? Use brainstorming apps like ideaboardz, realtimeboard or Bubbl.s to generate ideas and innovate to meet the highest rating standard.

Study how other agencies are conducting similar work in a virtual format. Who can you partner with to provide exceptional or outstanding services? Coworkers, functional units, experts or local universities? It is also important that your customer is receptive to receiving the work outcome virtually. Therefore, think of ideas to provide greater support to ensure the success of virtual delivery methods. Over-communicate and get things done sooner than promised. And most importantly, request a meeting with your supervisor to review your ideas. Bring a variety of suggestions to update your work and meet the highest standards of performance in a virtual world.


What level of performance is the supervisor expecting? Share this outline to give effective performance feedback with them. Create questions using the keywords in the performance standards to gather feedback about your work. Ask how can you improve your performance to meet the highest rating while working virtually. Set up video meetings to identify visual cues that indicate agreement or confusion. Document the feedback and send a thank you email. In the email, summarize what you heard. Emphasize how you will continue to do what you do well and how you will work to do better. And reference the keywords in the highest rating when you mention your accomplishments and what you are confident you will do better in.

If video meetings are difficult, set up brief email surveys using the keywords in the performance standards. Ask trusted colleagues, friends, relatives and mentors how you can deepen your expertise. In addition, get feedback from coworkers, internal and external customers, and stakeholders. And don’t forget to ask for written feedback. You will need this later for your write-up, especially if it is positive. Keep all this information in a virtual desktop folder for easy retrieval.


A great way to plan the alignment of your work with the highest level performance standard is to create a matrix. Insert the performance standards at the top and include work that meets each standard in a corresponding cell below. Start this plan today by scheduling 15 minutes to work on the matrix each day. This way, when you have to complete your performance write-up in a few months, you have everything you need.

Use the tips in “Ready, Set, Go! Performance Management Olympics” to help you prepare to document your accomplishments. Also, use these five tips from “How to Ace Your Performance Evaluation.” Preview your accomplishments in update meetings with supervisors. Planning previews of your work now is a great way to prepare for performance appraisal success in a virtual world.

You may also be interested in the “Managing Yourself” series and “How to Outshine 95% of Government Managers.”

Adelle J. Dantzler, M.S. Ed., has advanced from a GS-3 student worker to a GS-15 Human Resources Specialist in the federal government. She has used her master’s experience in instructional design to create innovative, customized virtual and instructor-led courses and curriculums at the high potential, team leader, GS-15, and senior executive levels at four federal agencies. As a Federal Job Search Trainer/Career Coach, she has successfully coached hundreds on the job search and facilitated career management, leadership, and team-building with her certifications as a MBTI® & FIRO-B® Practitioner, Crucial Conversations and InsideOut Coaching Presenter, and EQ-i2.0 and CCL 360 coach.

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