So, it’s all well and good to talk about creating an amazing culture and hiring amazing people, but how do you measure whether it’s all working or not? Luckily, there are a few ways that have been tested and used by some prominent remote-culture companies that you can borrow from:
While it doesn’t necessarily sound like something that would affect employee productivity directly, setting and maintaining clear company goals gives employees a waving banner that they can rally behind. Public, company-wide tools like PivotalTracker and BaseCamp are useful for all employees to see progress and how it is being tracked, which adds additional incentive to get work done and in on time.
Why wait for someone’s performance to drop to create a personalized plan for their success? Companies like Five Q create personal plans for each employee so they can know how they are stacking up against expectations. While personal plans may seem daunting to employees, they actually just give them what they deserve, and should have anyway: clear expectations and clear guidance on how to get there.
Having something numerical to track can be really easy. Tools like 15Five make it easy to see exactly what your team has accomplished and in what kind of timing. This allows you to analyze the goals that your team is working towards as well as see how long it’s taking them to get there. Having a better understanding of the landscape associated with your goals and their pathing can help you better plan your employees’ time usage for the coming weeks. For example, if you know that a specific task related to operational planning took a really long time to complete, and you have another one coming up in the near future, you might want to switch it out for a quick win in order to keep your employee motivated.
Create accountability by holding people responsible for work. As you set your company goals, encourage smaller teams and departments to make their own goals that nest within them. This gives them something closer to their actual day-to-day work that is measurable in the same way as company goals. Because their team/department goals will run up to the company ones, the impact they create on the smaller goals will also be reflected in the larger, more “important” numbers that are shown for the whole company. Seeing your day-to-day work impact the whole company is incredibly meaningful and motivating to continue performing excellently.
Some companies like to have their employees monitor hours worked as well as describing what they do with each hour. While that’s not necessarily scalable for all companies, for some that offer services like personal assistant work or writing, it can be important to track what freelance employees are doing and billing for pretty intently. That being said, tracking hours and activities closely, if it’s unnecessary for your industry, can kill the productivity of your workers, according to Entrepreneur. So, evaluate what your needs are before putting this practice into place.
An annual review process is as much an opportunity for the employee to tell you how they’re feeling about the company and where it can improve, as for you (or the manager) to tell the employee how they’re doing and how they can improve. Having this kind of exchange can reinvigorate the employee and get them fired up if their enthusiasm for the company was starting to wane. It also gives them the incentive to keep working: if they know that someone is going to be reviewing their work at an annual review, or is perpetually reviewing it leading up to a review, it makes them want to work harder to get the extra bonus, raise, or any other incentive you attach to working for a year for your company.
Mostly, you should work on hiring employees that you trust. Much of this book has talked about how to find the right types of people to fit into your company. Once you find them, you should trust that they are trying to do the best by you and your mutually aligned goals. If you are constantly wondering if they are doing their work, they’ll likely become demotivated by micromanagement and leave. Of course, pay attention to the work output that you are seeing, and if they are sticking to their goals, but beyond the normal types of accountability that you would have in-place for in-office employees, you should assume positive intent with your remote employees and trust that they are doing the work they need when they need to.