The Annual Interviews: An even more complicated exercise with the crisis?

The Annual Interviews: An even more complicated exercise with the crisis?


The annual interview, sometimes expected and sometimes badly experienced, is overwhelmed by the health context. If the Ministry of Labour has issued an order to authorise a postponement of the professional interviews that take place every 2 years, the situation is more complex for the annual interview. Usually taking place in January, this event, which is an essential part of company life and the collection of feedback, is for many people difficult to organise in good conditions. It must be said that there are many obstacles to a serene and ordinary organization: anxiety + felt by employees and managers, interviews in video and not in person, not to mention the almost generalized freeze on salaries. More than ever, good preparation is required for both parties to avoid any lasting disagreement.

Individual performance hit hard by the crisis

As a reminder, the annual interview makes it possible to draw up an assessment of the past year (both in terms of objectives and mission and behaviour). It is then an opportunity to evaluate the employee's performance and to discuss training and development. 

But how do you evaluate the performance of an employee who is struggling between teleworking, short-time working and a gradual return to work on site? 

In the face of the various difficulties encountered in the year 2020, it is necessary to take into account the lived reality. There is a balance to be found between exigency and benevolence . This year, the annual appraisal interview must include specific questions on the context of crisis and containment and in particular question the employee on the practice of telework.


In this context, it is better to support rather than punish employees .

This can be an opportunity to take into account the increase in employee skills (adaptability, remote management, etc.) and to highlight the efforts made. 

An organization by distancing itself makes feedback more complex

It is a fact, because of the health risk and the dispersed teams, 81% of companies intend to organise the annual maintenance remotely, according to a Deskeo study.

However, by distancing the organization from the interview, the relationship with the employees becomes more complex and cuts off their non-verbal communication, which is easily detectable in person.  

While some die-hard users may want to rely on email, phone calls and other collaborative messaging such as Slack, it is highly recommended to use video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Google Meet

As distance does not make it easy to understand messages, do not hesitate to repeat certain information in order to avoid any misunderstanding on the part of the interlocutor or even to ask the employee to rephrase

Also adapt the format and limit the interview to a maximum of 1h30. 

A stronger than usual emotional charge 

Employees have not been equal in the face of the impact of the crisis on their productivity and behaviour. The configuration of the confinement areas (quiet space, equipped office, good Internet connection, etc.) and the type of family unit (with or without young children) had a considerable impact on the productivity and morale of the troops. These are all elements that generate anger and frustration that we must be able to deal with. In fact, 31% of employees have higher expectations this year with regard to their annual interview, according to a survey by the jobboard Welcome To The Jungle published in November 2020. Among their major expectations, 41% cite the ability to project into the future, 22% the sincerity and authenticity of the exchanges, 19% a quality of listening and empathy and 15% quality and relevant feedback.

In this uncertain climate where criticism may be poorly accepted, it is best to prioritize the need for recognition and value adaptive capacity


In order to avoid any confrontation, it is strongly recommended toavoid the slightest unpleasant surprise. To do so, please ensure that you send all documents and information well in advance so that the employee can prepare fairly for his or her annual interview. 

Enough to put feedback back into the centre of manager-collaborator relations. According to the Welcome to the Jungle survey, more than 3 out of 10 employees (31%) say they do not feel able to express themselves freely during these interviews.

To allow the collaborator to express what is really on his heart, do not hesitate to leave a few phases of silence. This is a good way to make it easier to speak out.


In short, like the phase of returning to the premises last autumn, you must know how to be an active and empathetic listener and NOT act as if nothing had happened!

Wage increase excluded from 2020 rewards for most companies

According to a recent Figaro survey, 1 out of 5 companies intends to grant no increase. For the others, the amounts have been revised and the salary increase is expected to be particularly low. 

At Elevo, we believe that the operational and financial issues should be separated into two separate discussions. On the one hand, the professional discussion should focus on the employee's competence development (deviation from objectives and corrective actions). On the other hand, another interview should discuss the salary evolution. Mixing the two means increasing the risk of bias in the employee's behaviour, who risks only playing cards on the table when the data is in favour of his or her increase. Faced with a constrained non-upgrading, employers must speak with complete transparency on the economic situation of the company and invoke the choice of job preservation


The good news is that salary increases are not the only lever for employee engagement . It is conceivable to offer training or to be associated with new rewarding missions, especially for those who have proved themselves in the crisis. The planned change may also involve a new department or new responsibilities. 

Finally, don't forget to say thank you, it may be a detail for you but for some it means a lot. 

Tangible objectives to be set and met by 2021

For many employees, the crisis has dashed hopes of achieving pre-crisis results. However, according to the Welcome To The Jungle survey, 46% of employees surveyed say they are less committed than before and 48% think their work makes less sense than before.

This is a particularly salient issue for sales teams, where the variable component of remuneration can be close to 30%. The event calls for greater flexibility in (co-)defining objectives and for the integration of a "pandemic mode". 

For 2021, if there is no question of drawing a line under objectives, it is a question of changing dimension. Forget the annual objectives and break them down into stages. For your sales staff you can opt for short-term incentives/premiums. 

As for the content of the objectives, you can propose more accessible or more ambitious ones. If by chance you take the latter route, make sure that they can be revised according to the economic situation. 


Moreover, the crisis has placed most individuals under house arrest and forced them to "explore inner worlds", literally and figuratively. 

Employees were able to discover new aspirations in terms of mission, life balance and mobility, which must be taken into account. 

To do this, it is necessary to grant requests for teleworking (1 to 2 days in hybrid mode) or to give more responsibilities, through participation in departmental decisions or to give employees more responsibility with job adjustments for example


Finally, make a difference and stick to your word. 

70% feel that the annual interviews are not sufficiently followed up with concrete actions, according to the Welcome to the Jungle survey. So prove them wrong and reverse the trend. 

At Elevo, we are convinced of this, the future of HR will be enhanced by the data. Once your interview campaign is complete, you are able to d'analyse the results directly from the platform. Our team of experts is at your disposal to accompany you in the use of the data in order to steer your HR strategy and implement concrete actions following your annual interviews.

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Analysis dashboard on the Elevo platform


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The Annual Interviews: An even more complicated exercise with the crisis?

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