What Does Performance Management Look Like for Remote Teams?

In 2022, few businesses operate without at least a few remote workers. A remote workforce comes with dozens of benefits, from better work-life balance for employees to lower expenses for employers.

Still, there are some challenges that organisations continue to encounter when adapting to the new world of remote work.

For one, many business leaders are unsure how to handle performance management without employees in a shared office.

How does a manager track performance levels of different team members when those team members are out of view? Here are a few tips for developing a remote-friendly performance management system:

Be Clear About Goals and Expectations

One of the worst mistakes to make with any onboarding process, but especially with onboarding of remote employees, is a failure to explain goals and expectations.

Leaders know what they want and need from their workforce, but unless they clearly communicate with workers, leaders will be consistently disappointed by what they perceive to be underperformance.

If managers neglected to inform their remote workers about goals and expectations during onboarding, it is not too late to review these critical elements now. One-on-one performance reviews are excellent opportunities to review expectations and set new ones for the coming period.

What’s more, leaders should understand the expectations that their remote workers have for their boss and employer. For example, many remote workers expect to receive a home office stipend to pay for tech services, office supplies and other support.

Workers who do not have their expectations met are likely to look elsewhere for fulfilling employment, so business leaders benefit by inquiring about individual hopes and dreams.

Collaborate on Schedules and Deadlines

Business leaders should be involved in the development of important processes, so they can better understand roughly how much time it takes for a worker to accomplish critical tasks.

Even so, because managers are not performing the labor required to complete projects, they need to collaborate on schedules and deadlines with their team members who have a better sense of unique challenges and specific timing.

With remote work, flexibility with scheduling and deadlines is even more critical. Remote workers like complete control over how they structure their workdays — when they clock in, how long they enjoy lunch and other breaks, when they are done for the day.

As a result, workers could very well complete projects in the middle of the night. Managers need to be able to trust that their remote teams are balancing quality and speed on their projects — or they can develop remote performance management processes to track progress.

Be Available to Give and Receive

Communication is easily the most critical skill in business, and it remains imperative that managers and employees are well-versed communicators as they transition to a fully remote workplace.

Because workers can no longer pop into the boss’s office or catch them as they walk the office halls, business leaders need to be clear to their staff when they are available to give and receive feedback on myriad topics. This might mean organizing one-on-one or group calls, or it might mean reviewing emails on a regular schedule.

Unfortunately, it is relatively easy to ignore the concerns of remote workers, especially when there are so many other pressing issues for business leaders to focus on.

By committing time to listen to feedback from the remote workforce, business leaders can show remote workers that their thoughts and concerns matter and are of high priority for management.

Celebrate Effort and Achievement

Remote employees work just as hard as in-office staff, but because business leaders do not see their remote workforce toiling away, it can be easy to forget about all the blood, sweat and tears they put into achieving success.

Business leaders can recognize high-performing remote employees every day with messages of gratitude and encouragement, but celebrating remote teams upon major milestones requires a bit more creativity.

Managers can send their workers packages of goodies, like candies, branded merch, gift cards and more. They can also shout out workers on social media or in the company newsletter.

Thanks to COVID-19, over 90 percent of the American workforce expect to be able to work remotely at least part of the time, and about a quarter of workers would take a pay cut for the opportunity to work from home permanently.

Thus, business leaders need to find ways to manage the performance of remote teams sooner rather than later.

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