2020 has been a unique year for us humans. It was the year of COVID-19 – thousands of lives lost, acute global economic crisis, rampant unemployment, and the year of mass populations working remotely. The global exodus of employees out of offices to a home based work location has been very challenging for employers.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses were only equipped to handle a small portion of their workforce working remotely. As businesses get set up for a majority of their workforce being situated in another location, it has become challenging to measure the impact of remote versus office-based employees.
The solution is simple really and not too different than how you would measure the performance or impact of an office-based employee. Here are some effective ways to assist you with your performance management process.
Set clear goals and expectations
As you do with your office-based employees, you have to set clear, small and large measurable goals so everyone understands the expectations.
Track progress on KPIs through regular checkpoints and software
Track employee impact based on the goals set by monitoring KPIs and convening frequently on smaller goals achieved so that corrections can be implemented quickly. You can also make use of productivity tracking software while ensuring that all parties are fully informed on the software’s functionality so that clear expectations are set.
Implement regular self-evaluations
Set a process for employees to self-evaluate using measurable parameters (tasks completed, hours worked, success, failures etc.). Discuss the data findings during your weekly one on one meetings and make corrections if required.
Plan the year well
Take the time to create a detailed plan so you can trace your achievements in line with meeting the annual goals.
Use global reporting dashboards
Track achievements and failures and implement up to date reporting systems, especially if you have large teams. It will allow you to maintain a constant “birds eye view” of your team’s performance overall and catch laggers early on.
If you notice, all the above are typically also implemented for office-based employees and really, the process of measuring employee impact is not that different. Now, what does differ slightly, is the approach you need to adopt for managing remote teams on a daily basis. It can be a challenge, as your environment doesn’t automatically provide for social opportunities to assess and observe. So what do you do and how do you change your approach, so you are not making decisions in the dark?
The answer lies in not expecting employees to change, but instead you as a manager becoming a better and more efficient version of yourself. An effective approach is to follow some simple guidelines:
Promote positive result oriented culture
Be positive in your communication style and reward results. Doing so promotes a sense of achievement and the feeling of being valued within the organization. Every goal met can be used as a building block.
Create a strong social and professional bond within the team
Bringing your team together regularly, in both social and professional, settings will do away with the feeling of isolation that remote employees may face.
Maintain an open door policy
Leave lines of communication open and be accessible. This allows you to catch problem areas well in advance and gives you time to resolve issues quickly before they snowball.
Use technology efficiently
Promote the use of technology for communicating within the team. It allows team members to stay in touch and reduces isolation. It also does away with the effort of picking up the phone and calling someone everyone time you need something small.
Empower and trust your employees
Over managing is not the solution. Trust your hiring process and the expertise each unique employee brings to the team. Empower your team members and trust them to do their jobs well. Be more flexible, as no matter what you do a remote employee is still going to get some personal chores done during work hours. It is the nature of the beast and humans are born multi-taskers.
Remote employees usually work longer hours and contribute more in their inherent effort to please their managers, by trying to compensate for the privilege of being able to work from anywhere. Output is always more relevant than input and if managed properly, a fully remote team can be a more productive team than the one based out of an office.
About the Author
Preeti’s forte in global talent acquisition is in areas such as finance & accounting, IT, engineering, sales and operations. With over 15 years of global talent delivery experience, she is known for her ability to find innovative solutions to challenging situations.