“If someone comes in five days, and another person three days, let me tell you I’m giving a promotion to the five day and I’m sidelining the three day.” This sentiment is further reinforced in The Atlantic’s reporting of a series of studies that revealed “people will assume that those who put in a lot of office time are go-getters, even if they’re not.”
Unfortunately, leaders feel more comfortable when they can “see” employees working. If this is the leadership mindset when shifting to a flexible, hybrid, or fully remote structure, your organization is set up to fail.
Instead, organizations that are concerned with remote employee performance should evaluate the impacts of:
- Too many synchronous meetings
- Inefficient work that lacks async structure and practices
- Interruptions due to lack of boundaries or documentation
- Disengagement stemming from overwork and a lack of autonomy
Our Leadplaceless virtual leadership program helps leaders reflect on these impacts and take action to improve remote performance management as one of the seven key competencies critical for remote and hybrid leaders. We elected to center our June Networkplaceless conversation around ways to improve performance management across hybrid and fully remote teams. Networkplaceless attendees shared a few main ways to improve their own remote performance management:
Reduce micromanagement and close observation of employees.
Micromanagement indicates a lack of trust, so focus energy on effective communication of manager and leader expectations. Utilize project management tools and document expectations explicitly. Clearly define and communicate expectations before and throughout a task or project. Our Leadplaceless program delves into these best practices by encouraging leaders and managers to integrate collaboration and transparent communication practices into their daily interaction with employees.
Additionally, Networkplaceless attendees noted that flat organizational structures allow for flexibility in roles as well as individual autonomy and productivity because of the increased connectivity among employees, individual empowerment, and access to resources.
Empower employees by recognizing task-based productivity instead of time-based productivity.
As one Networkplaceless group shared, a more hands off management style brings out the entrepreneurial spirit of each employee. Leaders can empower employees by measuring team success based on output, not input. Shift the focus to team results, and spend less time tracking and observing how and when employees are getting their tasks done. Allow individuals to manage their own deadlines, manage their own flexible schedules, and work in ways that are best for them within the structure of team and project objectives.
Encourage team members to document impact and progress toward goals.
Individual contributors should have clarity about how their tasks align with organizational priorities. One attendee emphasized that managers should encourage routine, asynchronous recaps from team members via an internal blog, updates via a shared document, or share outs using a video recording tool like Loom.com. This documentation is relevant for annual performance reviews and supports individuals in their professional development. However, it’s all about balance, as another attendee emphasized, documentation and reporting of every step can lead to duplicated efforts and inhibited progress on tasks.
At Workplaceless, performance management emphasizes results-based leadership, not micromanagement. We use the project management tool ClickUp to transparently tie tasks back to our quarterly goals and clearly document project ownership, deadlines, and expectations. As a fully distributed company, our performance rubric, which focuses on effective remote work behaviors, keeps us on track and ensures recognition and affirmation are built into our daily routines.
At the end of our live workshops for teams, we hold individuals accountable to taking next steps, and our Networkplaceless attendees were no exception. Attendees committed to taking tiny actions to change their remote performance management behaviors, including:
- Protect my employees’ time by limiting unnecessary synchronous meetings.
- Encourage my team to take breaks or work a flexible schedule.
- Recognize signs of remote employee burnout.
- Define team OKRs with a clear result and ensure team KPIs are tied back to OKRs.
- Establish and enforce clear boundaries to indicate when work begins and ends.
Connect with our team to learn how Leadplaceless can pave the way for mindset shifts and help your hybrid or remote management team develop the skills needed for effective, results-based performance management.