The year 2020 was all about coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is almost impossible to predict how 2021 will turn out, but remote working is highly likely to continue for the rest of the year. With more employees working from home than ever before, there is a huge need to adapt to the latest technologies and processes. As such, every organization has been put in a difficult situation on how to deal with recruitment and retention of top talent, performance appraisals, as well as the overall morale of their employees. Before we discuss the top performance appraisal trends to watch out for in 2021, let’s look at the performance of different industries during the pandemic.

Industry Outlook

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a major impact on the financial strength of many organizations. Companies like Tesla laid off 75 percent of their on-site staff and Disney halted pay for over 100,000 of their employees.

While many organizations announced job losses and salary cuts, some companies were out there hiring more and even offering promotions. Here are some companies that provided hikes even during the pandemic and are projected to continue doing so this year.

  • Amazon provided more than $2.5 billion in bonuses and incentives
  • Capgemini provided hikes to 70 percent of its staff 
  • Tesco announced that it will roll out promotions and hikes as scheduled, and all job offers would be honored
  • Flipkart announced that there would be no pay cuts and that all job offers would be honored
  • Myntra announced that all job offers in their current pipeline will be honored

Impact on Industries

The COVID-19 pandemic kickstarted a number of things like working from home and in-house entertainment. While this has definitely led to the fall of many industries, it has also led to the rise of many. This will hugely reflect the appraisals and salary raises across organizations this year.

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Worst Hit Industries


Tourism was definitely one of the hardest hit sectors due to the pandemic. With stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines mandated across the world, the demand for travel industries dropped significantly. Several studies show that leisure air travel will recover to its full potential only by 2024 and corporate air travel by 2026.


With lesser people commuting to work and decline in leisure travel, the demand for oil dried up in 2020. According to a study by Rystad Energy, oil prices going low will push the global service market into a recession after three successive years of growth.

Booming Industries


The COVID-19 pandemic caused the shift to e-learning in schools and universities as institutions closed down. This has led to the increase in enrollment of various online platforms that facilitate remote learning.


While people have been using e-commerce for a while now, the pandemic has made this industry grow faster than ever before. Online retailers like Amazon reported massive increases in their sales.


As the pandemic pushed organizations to make their employees work remotely, cybersecurity has become an even bigger concern. A study by Gartner Forecast shows that the worldwide spending on cybersecurity is expected to grow by 2.4 percent and become a $123.8 billion industry.

Cloud Computing

People have been working from home seamlessly only because of cloud computing technologies because it provides easy data storage and data access. To adapt to the new normal, traditional companies have also migrated to cloud-based business models. According to a survey by Flexera, 59 percent of organizations have seen 50 percent higher than initially planned usage of cloud based technologies.

We will next look into the change in performance appraisal trends.

Not only has the pandemic changed the way we work, but it has also altered the performance appraisal trends. With a large number of people working remotely, there is a bigger need for managers to review their employees as per the current scenario. Here are some performance appraisal trends to watch out for in 2021:

1. COVID-19 Costs to the Company

If your company carried out a large number of layoffs or salary cuts during the pandemic, the need to understand why this happened is crucial. Did they lose big profile customers? Was the industry heavily impacted by the pandemic more so than others? If the company you work for has an overall decrease in revenue due to the pandemic, the changes of getting an appraisal this year are pretty low. 

2. Critical Contribution

If your work has had a greater impact on the company during the pandemic, then you have higher chances of getting an appraisal. For example, if you were among the sales people who were responsible for keeping up the revenue of the company even during the tough times, you have a stronger case to ask for a salary revision.

3. Remote Working Considerations

Employees working remotely have experienced a number of new challenges both in their mental and professional health. Being away from the office and colleagues have increased the gaps in communication and forced everyone to adapt to new technologies. Companies that measure their employees’ stress levels are set to increase from 16% to 53% by this year.

4. Continuous Feedback Mechanisms

Companies are focusing more on providing in-the-moment feedback, rather than waiting till the end of the year or just during the appraisal season. According to a study by BetterWorks, companies that provided continuous performance management and feedback outperformed their competitors by 24 percent. This shows that companies are embracing a less formalized and more agile approach to performance management and appraisals to dynamically set goals, get feedback, and improve productivity.

Getting Ready for Your Appraisals

New skills, new attitudes and competencies are required to navigate the remote and ever changing workplace priorities. Traditional performance appraisal reviews are not very effective for several reasons. As such, you need to have a number of performance appraisal tips at your disposal and how to prepare yourself for every possible scenario. The best way to comply with the changing times is to upgrade yourself with new skills and online certifications. This will showcase your level of commitment and prove your potential to bridge the skill gaps in your organization.

About the Author

Nikita DuggalNikita Duggal

Nikita Duggal is a passionate digital nomad with a major in English language and literature, a word connoisseur who loves writing about raging technologies, digital marketing, and career conundrums.

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