Best practices for conducting talent reviews for remote, global teams

Remote teams aren’t going anywhere. In fact, one in four tech workers currently work remotely, and 83% of enterprise organizations say that number will remain the same or increase in the next six months, according to our recent research with Foundry

How do you adapt standard business practices, like talent reviews, to a remote-first environment? What changes or doesn’t change?

This blog will walk you through the best practices and key phases of the talent review process to ensure a high quality development experience for your remote team. 

1. Do the prep work

First things first, do the prep work. Align with your leadership team on the criteria and overarching goals of your talent reviews. Goals can include identifying top talent and retention risks, identifying problem areas and discussing solutions, and reviewing and addressing low performers. The overarching goals don’t necessarily change for remote teams.

Rating criteria

What may require extra thought is the rating criteria in which roles and employees are being assessed. For remote-first and distributed organizations it’s recommended to look at assessment criteria that will give a deeper and more nuanced understanding of talent and how it connects to your business needs. Criteria can include: 

  • Performance - What (meeting goals, targets and KPIs)
  • Performance - How (applying our values and competencies)
  • Criticality of Talent
  • Criticality of Role 
  • Potential
  • Retention Risk

Criteria to assess each person should be standardized across the organization. Work with leaders on the team to assess against the same criteria.

2. Formalize your approach

Next, formalize your approach across the organization. A consistent approach to talent  reviews across teams is necessary. To connect with your business context and needs, we recommend leveraging different views to help digest the information. See our recommended talent review evaluation template below for a distributed organization. 

During the first review, look at criticality
In the second review, focus on performance

This is an approach tailored for a distributed organization, giving you the opportunity to identify top performers and strengths, but also any gaps that you may have and need to be addressed. Leverage this tool to ensure organizational needs can be met and also the employees are getting what they need from management (either a new challenge or help to improve).  

3. Calibrate team performance

Next, calibrate team performance. Hold a calibration call with the leadership team and People Business Partner to review the data and discuss the results. Start the call by discussing biases with leadership (recency bias, halo effect, similar-to-me bias, etc.). This is a reminder, to ensure the results are as close to reality as possible. 

The leaders should do prep work by rating individuals against each criteria. This meeting is where they discuss and challenge these ratings. Leaders are responsible for: 

  • Giving an overview of the employees in their departments 
  • Giving feedback for the employees in other departments
  • Challenging or supporting the results as they see fit 

Once you have your overarching picture, you can then drill down further. Look at what roles and talent are critical to the business first, but then consider your own business needs. 

4. Compare results and take action

Then, you’ll compare results and take action. Set clear next steps as an organization with action items. Think about how you can reduce retention risk, what steps you need to take to engage and leverage top performers, provide the necessary help for low performers, and reduce criticality of role and talent. 

An example of this can include bringing an objective measure of how the team is doing from a skills perspective, and leverage tools like to help upskill and reskill the team with real-world coding challenges.  

To conduct a helpful, successful talent review, organizations need a process. 

Talent reviews help you identify top performers you want to retain, problem areas to fix, and address low performers. 

At Andela, we recently conducted talent reviews with our global, remote engineering team that spans 19 countries, over 5 regions and 10 time zones and found the typical bell curve surprisingly changed for our team. 

Because we are a remote-first and distributed organization we’ve built an assessment that gives us a deeper and more nuanced understanding of our talent and how it connects with our business needs.

Our data showed that our distributed model is working. We’re able to tap into a wider and deeper talent pool and have access to more diverse candidates, which increases the probability of finding the talent profile we need.

While this is tailored to our organization, it’s a great jumping off point. We feel these views ensure we’re understanding whether our employees are getting what they need from us, but also that our business goals are being met. Download our free guide to Global Talent Reviews.

Scale your team with remote, skilled talent with Andela. Learn more

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