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How to Measure Performance and Drive Productivity with a Remote Workforce

Woman's headshot with blurred background By Jessica Chronchio June 26, 2020

Categories: Bring Your Own COVID-19 Mobile Workforce

With many businesses choosing to extend their work from home timelines, HR leaders face a new challenge. How does a company effectively measure remote workforce performance? There are a few keys to success when setting up a performance management program that holds true in a remote work environment.

Set Clear Goals

You can’t measure remote workforce performance without clear goals. And it’s important to keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. When it comes to setting up the right performance management system, it will depend on your company culture. First and foremost, you’ll need to identify and understand the goals that make sense for your culture and organization. Then, you’ll be able to come up with a program that supports your goals.

Next, you’ll need to have a process in place for setting goals and objectives at the company, department and individual level. With these in place, you’ll be able to set measurable objectives for each team member that tie back to the overarching company goals. This will make it easier for team members to build out quarterly 90-day plans and connect their work to larger company initiatives.

Communicate Regularly

It’s also critical to provide opportunities for team members to give and receive feedback on a regular basis. This goes beyond the traditional feedback provided by a manager to a team member. It starts with developing a culture that embraces delivering and receiving constructive feedback. A few tactics HR leaders can put in place to help aid the sharing of feedback include quarterly self-assessments, peer and upward feedback surveys and regular 1:1s between managers and their team members.

Focus on providing the right tools to facilitate regular communication. HR specifically can help foster a culture where support, feedback and communication are welcomed. But, HR can’t do it alone. Those values also have to come from leadership and people across the company. Team members have to want to share and receive feedback.

HR teams should make sure there are ways to give developmental feedback in a remote environment. For example, HR can provide guidance to managers on how and when to share certain types of feedback, i.e. this is appropriate over email vs. this requires a conversation over the phone or video.

Focus On Results

At Motus, we’ve developed a performance management program that ensures team members receive regular feedback and professional development opportunities while also recognizing top performers. To be honest, not a lot changed with our performance management program when Motus moved to working remotely full-time. It’s part of the culture we had in place before the pandemic and we’ve proven it can be successful in the office or remote.

The key to our success is that we’ve always been focused on outcomes and results. That’s why we can have things like unlimited PTO and flex time policies. With a focus on outcomes, you’re able to determine if a team member met expectations and if not, what they need to do to be successful. We’ve found that it’s helpful to have templates and processes in place to help team members understand the expectations. At Motus, we achieve this through individual 90-day plans and quarterly self-assessments supported by manager feedback.

Providing visibility into measures is also important in this process. Technology can help you track and report on metrics and KPIs, for example, with something like real-time dashboards in your CRM tool. This gives employees the ability to check in on performance relative to the objectives and goals. By setting objectives and completing assessments each quarter, team members receive feedback all year long, as opposed to only on an annual basis.

Getting Started with Remote Workforce Performance Measures

Hopefully these best practices will help you get started. Ultimately, building a performance management program will depend on your company culture. That makes focusing on your culture another great place to start. Remember to facilitate regular communication,  focus on results and provide templates and documented processes. These will help your team succeed in a remote work environment.

If you’re interested in learning more about remote work best practices, you can find more blog posts here.

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