Adopting the right metrics could help align objectives and encourage more companies to embrace flexible work arrangements.

After Covid-19, more organisations could demand that people return to the office – setting the scene for an inevitable tug-of-war.

There have always been inherent tensions and misalignments between employer and employee goals. Many of them are now amplified by flexi-work. Managers may prefer an in-person work environment for reasons of control and ease of coordination.

  • Employees tend to prioritise convenience and efficiency, as well as meaningful collaboration.
  • Organisations value performance, culture and talent development.

The best organisations will embrace KPIs measuring outcomes the team must accomplish, such as customer satisfaction and retention, operational improvements and user acquisition costs. This could help employees understand organisational-level objectives, define their corresponding role, and allow them to decide how to make the best use of their time to achieve those goals. By guiding behaviours towards more long-term oriented solutions, outcome-driven appraisals can do a much better job than conventional models of ensuring continued success for the company.

To encourage team culture and camaraderie

To encourage team culture amid asynchronous work, new appraisal systems can pay equal attention to an individual’s contributions to their team and organisational culture as to the firm’s financial performance. This can improve communication and coordination and prevent the development of silos, which can erode a sense of belonging.

Workers are generally not opposed to going to the office. But given the costs of the commute and the time “lost” on many in-person meetings, the in-office experience needs to be reframed as important, quality time for building team culture and strengthening social ties with colleagues. To help achieve this, performance appraisals could measure a person’s contributions to others’ learning and development, team morale and psychological safety, which are often best achieved through meaningful in-person interactions.

When French multinational Schneider Electric implemented 360-degree feedback for all senior managers, 85% of the employees said they found this approach gave them a more positive working experience and strengthened employee engagement overall

In short, the ideal performance appraisal system for a flexi-work world must account for a holistic range of factors beyond purely measuring performance and productivity. It should prioritise caring for the well-being and growth of individuals, cultivating trust and camaraderie within – and across – teams, building psychological safety and creating an organisational culture that encourages innovation.

Simple policies to force workers back to the office may trigger negative emotions. Creating an outcome-driven performance review system could steer companies on an effective path forward for the future of flexi-work.


Interesting article from Insead