The dramatic increase in remote work has left businesses scrambling to find ways to manage employees in a way that reaps positive results. In this blog, we offer six tips for managing remote employee performance.
Remote work grew exponentially during the pandemic. In May 2020, over one-third of the U.S. workforce worked from home. And since then, remote work remains a popular option among enterprises, which can have workers all over the country. Researchers say 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022, and that percentage will increase in 2023.
But whether fully remote or hybrid, these employees are an integral part of enterprise businesses because they help increase the bottom line.
So, since remote work is here to stay, managers need to adapt. That’s why we’ve developed six tips that focus on helping managers oversee remote employee performance.
6 Tips for Remote Employee Performance Management
1. Set Clear Objectives
To set your remote employees up for success, you need to give them clear objectives. That way, they know what’s expected of them, and they can work accordingly.
While remote work has its benefits, it does come with some downsides. For example, remote employees miss out on in-office interactions, so learning from their peers can be challenging. Therefore, managers should work on giving clear direction to remote workers and keep them informed of any changes. That helps to alleviate any workplace disconnect and make remote employees feel more integrated. It also gives them clear targets that they can strive to meet, increasing their engagement and likelihood of staying with the company.
2. Hold Regular Check-Ins
Regular check-ins are key to fostering high-performing remote employees. They allow both managers and remote workers to stay up-to-date on the progress of the previously established goals. For example, if an employee struggles to meet their job responsibilities, managers can address it early and help the worker make appropriate changes.
Frequent one-on-ones also help to combat loneliness in remote workers. When employees work from home, they are more susceptible to burnout and loneliness. Therefore, managers should be diligent and look out for their team members by asking them how they are doing and seeing if they can assist with any professional matters. This outreach shows employees that their managers care for them and their well-being, which goes a long way in helping them feel like valued employees.
3. Provide Frequent Feedback
In addition to setting clear expectations early and holding regular check-ins, managers can help remote employees succeed by providing frequent feedback.
In the past, enterprises relied purely on annual reviews for providing employee feedback. But times have changed, and employees want to learn and grow faster, which only happens when they get real-time feedback. Regular reviews and feedback cycles help remote employees know where they stand with the company and allow them to make improvements before their performance becomes an issue.
But it’s important to ensure the feedback isn’t purely corrective. While it’s important to address performance issues, you also want to provide praise. One study found that remote employees are twice as likely to get corrective feedback and half as likely to receive positive feedback compared to their in-office counterparts. Forward-thinking managers can aim to find the right balance between telling remote workers ways they can improve and areas they are excelling.
4. Request Project Updates
In a fast-paced work environment, keeping up with projects is crucial for any high-performing remote employee. While there are many useful task management programs that managers can use to track their employees’ progress on projects, they don’t always tell the whole story. It’s better to ask employees themselves so they can provide a first-hand account of how the project is moving along. If there are bottlenecks that are disrupting an employee’s ability to get a project done on time, these project updates allow them to let their voices be heard.
This is crucial to making remote employees feel like they are a true part of the team, which helps to boost their engagement and make them want to stay with the enterprise. It also empowers managers to come up with solutions that are satisfactory to the employee and the rest of the project team.
5. Resist Micromanaging
Some managers believe that remote employees are unable to perform at the same level as their in-office counterparts simply because they can’t see them working. Therefore, they micromanage.
But micromanaging remote employees does more harm than good. In fact, micromanagement has been shown to drive down engagement, motivation, productivity and trust.
The good news is that micromanagers can change their behavior and build trust with their employees through better communication. Having regular check-ins, providing frequent feedback, and receiving project updates helps managers feel more in control of what’s going on with their remote employees.
Managers should also prioritize remote workers’ performance. If they are able to assess positive results, then they have proven they can get the job done well, so there’s no reason for micromanagement.
6. Reward Top Performers
There are many ways to compensate high-performing remote employees, including:
- Pay increases
- More paid time off
- Opportunities to lead projects
- Learning and development investments
- Personal recognition
By rewarding your employees, you can drive engagement, performance and retention. That’s incredibly important right now as the Great Resignation shows no signs of slowing down. Therefore, you should focus on keeping your remote employees happy so that they feel valued.
And if you really want to go the extra mile, consider sending your remote employees physical gifts. Sometimes, remote workers can feel isolated because they don’t get a chance to see their managers and teammates face-to-face. A physical gift can mean a lot to someone who works from home as it gives them something they can hold onto and cherish.
Remote employees are an integral part of many enterprise businesses. And managing remote employee performance is easier when you give them clear objectives, schedule regular check-ins, offer regular feedback, ask for project updates, stop micromanaging, and reward high performers.
HRSoft’s performance management software, PERFORMview, offers an agile way to manage feedback, goals and performance as a team – whether you’re in the office or working from home. See how it works by requesting a demo today.