Remote working and alternative working styles, in general, have really taken off in the last few years, and this has been transformative for both employers and employees. However, it has also represented a learning curve, and a lot of managers have found managing a team remotely to be challenging. Tracking and monitoring your employee’s performance should be a priority when managing a team remotely. Let’s dive in.
Communicating Expectations: It All Starts with Onboarding
You cannot accurately evaluate your employee’s performances against your expectations if they were never communicated to the team, and this all begins with onboarding. Developing an effective onboarding process is key, perhaps even more so for remote businesses. Providing a proper orientation and training new hires is key. It also provides you with the opportunity to communicate your expectations and the chance to bond a little and develop a rapport.
Remote workers do not get too many opportunities to integrate themselves into the company culture, which again reiterates the importance of onboarding. Defining expectations might begin during the onboarding process, but it shouldn’t end there. It is important that these conversations are ongoing; your employees should feel just as comfortable coming to you with any questions, comments or concerns surrounding their role within the business.
After you have onboarded the new hires properly and made sure to communicate your expectations, it is time to think about setting some goals for them. When an employee knows what is expected of them and they have something to strive for, a metric by which their performance is going to be measured, the micromanaging can stop. You will be able to take a step back whilst still tracking their performances.
There are several approaches to setting goals for your team; however, the best is probably the SMART approach. SMART goals are:
These types of goals are easily customisable to the industry, business and even individual roles. The goals are clear to your employees and also easy to assess as a manager. It also makes sense to discuss and develop these goals collaboratively with the employees too so they know exactly what is expected of them and how they can work towards achieving these goals.
As mentioned above, to encourage your employees to perform to the best of their ability, you need to let them know what is expected of them. This includes giving them goals and outlining to them how their performance is going to be assessed. It is also important that you provide them with a healthy workload. If you overload them, things will fall through the cracks. It also provides them with the opportunity to prioritise, and by providing them with a healthy workload, you are also giving them every opportunity to succeed. When the workload is fair, it removes excuses and barriers to their performance.
Remote workers already have to work independently, so you should really be encouraging autonomy. They need to feel trusted and capable. If you helicopter around them, they are not going to feel this way, and it could be reflected in their performance. That being said, this doesn’t mean that you can throw them in at the deep end and just abandon them. You should still make the time to check in with them regularly, at least on a weekly basis. In doing so, you will find that they are much more likely to approach you with concerns or issues that could potentially hinder their work.
You can also encourage their productivity by monitoring their performance. For remote teams, this will likely mean utilising software, but more on that next. The software can be used to identify areas where improvement is needed. Finally, while encouraging and measuring performance is important, it is also important to be able to look beyond the numbers. Try to include both qualitative and quantitative factors in your assessment of your employees.
Tools to Try
Obviously, the tools will depend on the industry and the work that the employees carry out. Although there are a few that you might want to explore. Firstly, there are time management tools. When working remotely, employees are more likely to be distracted by their environment. However, by utilising time management tools, you can see how long they are taking on each task. This can illuminate their working styles and where they could improve.
If your business involves logistics or has a mobile element, then it would make sense to think about other monitoring tools. This could mean vehicle tracking tools like FleetGO’s tachographs and their accompanying tachograph analysis software. You could also use monitoring tools which are installed on work devices, and they can see what is happening on the device. Some of them are designed to randomly take screenshots throughout the day. Others can see emails and call logs and access their screen time.
Lastly, you could consider performance tools which are designed to improve performance and raise the measure the engagement levels among the team. Depending on the software, you can choose different features, like communicative tools that allow you to check in with your team when needed or features which encourage anonymous feedback. These performance tools also include task management software which measures task completion, aid in collaboration, and allow data to be shared. These types of tools are especially important for remote workers who would struggle to share work otherwise.
The Bottom Line
Whether you have experience managing a remote team or you are new to it, it can be challenging. Working remotely is a unique experience, and it can take something some getting used to, but there are benefits to consider too. A business is only as strong as its workers, which is why it is important that you are taking the time to track their improvement and measure their performance, just as you would if you were managing a team in a traditional setting. If you want to manage a remote team well and give them every chance of success, it is important that you communicate expectations, set goals, and utilise the tools at your disposal.