Most metrics for measuring employee performance are meant for 9-5, traditional office workspaces. With the coronavirus pandemic, the already-begun work-from-home (WFH) trend accelerated like never before.
Some firms are even contemplating asking huge portions of their workforce to permanently WFH.
So how are we going measure performance across a video screen?
This calls for a fresh look at measuring individual employees’ as well as team performance in a completely remote setting.
Here are five strategies to make numbers work for you, once again.
1. Bring the best of the old into the new
Just like your original metrics, the new metrics will make no impact if they are not aligned with the company goals and long-term vision. This is the point upon which to start building your new system of evaluation.
Only when your metrics are designed with relevance to the company focus, will they start to show results in terms of optimizing remote working operations and bring a sense of continuity and purpose to your workforce despite the changed work scenario.
With that in mind, consider the top five metrics you were evaluating before the pandemic set in. Consider how those could be translated into a virtual context.
2. Clearly define business targets and outline plans
For employees working from home, it helps to have a laundry list of daily tasks, set within the backdrop of a big-picture understanding of why they are doing what they are doing, or why certain things have been moved around or re-prioritized.
From a manager’s perspective, it helps to have finite and tangible things to track for each team member. Furthermore, when it comes to evaluation, both parties have a defined framework to measure performance without ambiguity.
3. Set time frames and incremental goals for deliverables
Performance metrics are easier to track if the timelines are clearly defined: daily, weekly, monthly, half-yearly and annual.
Experts suggest that to increase employee productivity within one year, breaking it into 5% quarterly checkpoints makes it more trackable.
It has the added advantage of making long-term goals seem more achievable through a series of steps, while keeping the project itself from straying off the defined path.
4. Establish the right data points
From the data you generate through metrics or surveys, choose the data points that are the most telling for your particular organization in terms of business value. This includes both qualitative and quantitative data.
The former can give you a sense of employee sentiment, virtual community feeling and teamwork, social climate. The latter can be analytics or hard data- for instance, number of customer touchpoints, cold calls, queries, interactions, webinars, deliverables, etc.
It can be analyzed from any collaboration tracking software you may be using.
5. Set up a metrics tracking point person or team
Sometimes WFH can come with a leaner workforce, and there are all-hands-on-deck situations wherein tracking metrics falls behind having to meet problems head-on. It might help to have a designated person or team objectively tracking metrics without any other distractions in play.
It may even be worth having one person on each team be responsible for tracking and making sense of the numbers you wish to measure.
Now that you’re in the process of adjusting to the world order, it is worth asking the most fundamental of questions- what does each team have a responsibility towards during these times? How can we remove barriers in communication between teams? How can we innovate our solutions to help these teams deliver better?
For example, what would it take to give each customer service stakeholder the option to make specific promises to your customers?
What would metrics mean for the marketing team, now that they can be more deeply involved in produce development?
Businesses that ask the tough questions when it comes to performance can sustain the vagaries of the situation far better than those who don’t.