I remember reading that the yardstick for performance in remote work is the work itself. This is what the visionary book REMOTE: Office Not Required notes when talking about productivity and remote work. As a managing director of a virtual team, I can say that performance assessments were much less simplistic at first.
From a management point of view, there is a common apprehension when it comes to team accountability in remote work. Plus, the general discomfort in coming up with the right formula to review the performance of peers takes a whole new form of challenge when evaluating remote work performance. It’s like a cultural shock in itself.
We get it. We’ve gone through that for months, and it has driven us to handpick insights on effectively measuring performance from sources who’ve been pioneering the remote work experience.
Going through the struggle of finding the 'perfect formula' for performance assessment ourselves, we’ve spent months in decoding ways based on how existing businesses do it, and in finding out what sticks for our own culture. Based on our findings and experience, we have seen that there are four directions to look at:
Before diving into any form of performance assessment, providing the right guidance for your employees can be a great prep to a successful performance rate. This guidance starts by storing every resource or process that your organization utilizes. According to Hubstaff, documenting resources is especially useful for two reasons:
-Convenient access to information
Two tried-and-true tools that Hubstaff recommends for storing relevant resources are Dropbox and Google Drive.
Keeping everyone in the loop
Performance assessments are necessary, but there’s more ‘baggage’ which comes prior. Rebecca Knight in Harvard Business Review reminds that conducting performance assessments is not necessarily to crowd out people who need a raise or expose poor performers, but rather to strengthen the organization’s culture and reinforce its values. At the end of the day, the goal is for the team to be as strong as possible, as Knight further notes.
In this regard, specific focus should be given to making sure that the team properly knows the company’s long term goals and short term goals. The ultimate way to do this? Continuous communication and right tools!
Investing in collaborative tools is the rule when trying to avoid the detrimental consequences that come from lack of communication.
Using the right KPI metrics
What are you trying to evaluate in the first place? What will a success against a goal look like? Tim Clairmont in Forbes gives the basics on Key Performance Indicators as a way to quantify performance in the company. As he notes:
“The statistics never lie. They will allow you to make good, objective decisions about your use of time and money — two of your most precious resources.”
There’s a valuable trajectory that comes with using KPI:
- You set out KPI and assign each team a focus.
- You conduct performance reviews to track down the extent of completion or compliance.
- You compare KPI throughout the years to track trends.
Setting up KPIs, on the other hand, varies throughout industries. Are you focusing on the number of sales? Are you focusing on the number of referrals? Whatever your industry may be, KPI are worth adoption for a clearer vision on the company performance.
Performance is highly tied to satisfaction at work. Geekflare reminds that one of the biggest advantages of remote work is that employees get to work at their own pace. Apart from any performance metric, it’s the flexibility of remote work that actually leads to higher performance. However, even when trying your hardest to create a culture that thrives on flexibility, you need a little feedback to know whether your methods are actually working. Having these insights can help you adjust your performance indicators accordingly.
In this case, status checks and feedback are a must.
Laurel Farrer on Forbes encourages status checks also for identifying when teammates need logistical or emotional support. She further introduces some highly efficient tools or ‘insight platforms’ to help ensure that your team has every tool they need in order to perform in the long run.
Our top pick for getting feedback from your team is CultureAmp, a platform which provides solutions on employee engagement and feedback to ensure retention and maximize performance.
Reiterating our OG experience as a virtual team, we had to find the hard way to properly be able to measure performance. Aside from the research above, we would be more than happy to share some conclusive suggestions based on our experience. Here’s three simple tips, from our team to yours:
· Ditch tracking tools-When trying to assess performance, tracking might seem like a lucrative deal. Based on our years-long experience of working remotely, we have found that team members don’t typically respond well to tracking tools, based on the productivity they provide.
· Go one step further with collaborative tools- Emailing and texting can tire even the best of us. At some point, even video-conferencing would become ‘too much work’, and consequently, so would general communication within the team. A virtual office such as Todayly has been a lifesaver in ensuring we don’t miss any valuable engagement or information as a consequence of communication tools.
· Prioritize continuous communication- Making time to touch base with team members on a continuous basis will not only help keep everyone on the loop, but will also make you assess performance more closely, and in a more frequent manner.
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