You may not have had (m)any virtual employees before Covid-19 so you may need to create a system that will measure their productivity while working remotely or from home.
There are two primary areas where you’ll want to focus your attention:
1. work results; and
As well as holding others to these general work results metrics, you can hold yourself to them, too. Consider:
Producing high-quality work;
Usage of the project management system; and
Good habits to get into, with regard to communication, involve setting regular, recurring one-on-one and group meetings. Do make time for the quick morning check-ins as well as the business agenda meetings.
You’ll play a fundamental role in your virtual team’s success by encouraging and tracking their:
Attendance at required meetings;
Participation during meetings;
Whether or not they’re effectively using the communication tools and platforms you require;
How clearly and effectively team members communicate with you, and each other.
This virtual work gig will probably be new to your people, too, so coaching them around your expectations is vital. It might take a while to set up but not doing it will compound your productivity dilemmas (and we all know about the impacts of compounding, don’t we)!
You might have some employees who aren't hard-wired to work in remote isolation. Easing them through the new and uncertain challenges will take conscious leadership from you. (As if you don’t have enough on your plate, right?)
1. The best way to keep employees engaged is frequently discussing the value of productivity and getting meaningful work accomplished throughout the day.
2. By organising projects and tasks with clearly defined start, middle and end points, it’s easy for you to assess performance progress, output and quality.
3. Using project management tools like Trello, Slack, Asana and Monday.com will help keep employees accountable and engaged. Tools like these also show what each employee is working on and transparently tracks progress. (I’ve used Asana to manage projects, conversations, store files, reminders and notes for over 7 years, and I still love it!)
4. Work with your team leaders to design “objectives and key results” that will provide an intelligent project chain of KPIs* from which you can directly pinpoint the phase in a project where a problem lies.
5. When setting up an employee to work remotely, plan with them to identify and agree the list of KPIs* for each function and then encourage them to track their own accountability through a Scorecard, Google sheet or project management tool dashboard. (You’ll obviously be able to see their progress, too, but the aim is to build personal accountability into their remote working habits)
If you’ve followed the 5 steps above you now know the metrics to verify that your virtual team is on the road to success. Take time to check that these objectives, key results and indicators align with your company, team, and management style and you're good to go!
*If you haven't had much experience with setting KPIs here's a tip... each KPI should embody these V_SMART goal characteristics:
Simplicity & Achievability
Alignment with organisational goals
In this time of uncertainty and unprecedented leadership challenge, please take care to establish remote relationships in a way that’s meaningful to the business and that makes employees feel good about working smarter in this brave new world.
Oh, and do call me if you need any assistance!