Call Us Today: +1-403-470-5350
HR Professional Services to Empower Your Growth
Human resource service knowledge article

Performance Management for a Distributed Team

Posted in:
Talent Management

Over the last decade, there has been a gradual increase in the number of employees working from home at least some of the time. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant spike in remote work, and many believe higher rates of remote work will continue even after the pandemic gets under control.

For company leaders, remote work creates some new challenges when it comes to managing their teams. Particularly for those with a more traditional management approach, which places a lot of value on metrics such as hours spent at a desk, managing remote employees requires a shift in approach. Fortunately, there are a variety of tools and processes leaders can use to set their teams up for success.

Time Tracking

Some companies choose to implement time tracking software to help manage their remote employees. With many software solutions available, companies have a lot of options when it comes to the features and functionality they want out of their software. This software is most useful for organizations that need to keep accurate records pertaining to how much time is spent on any given project (e.g., those with billable hours).

Generally, it is not recommended to use time tracking software to “keep tabs” on employees; but that is a growing feature of many time tracking tools. If employees begin to feel like every minute of the work day is being monitored, it can be damaging to morale. Employees need to believe their employer trusts them to complete their work efficiently and to a high standard. Take a look at your company culture and employee disposition before making these decisions.

Project Management

When your team is distributed, project management software can prove to be a useful tool to help keep the entire team on track and ensure responsibilities and deadlines are clear. Many teams initially try to keep everyone on track with email and/or spreadsheets, but soon find those tools are not quite enough to keep the team organized.

While features vary between software solutions, nearly all project management applications allow for major projects to be broken down into smaller tasks and then assigned to particular team members. Most of them allow for at-a-glance views of project progress, with easy-to-use options for adding additional information. Depending on the size of your team and the nature of your projects, there is likely to be the right software solution for you. Our only word of caution is to refrain from looking for a magic bullet. Instead, take the time to choose a system that works well with your business operations and project management needs.

Communication

In real estate, it is often said that the most important aspect is “location, location, location.” When it comes to managing a distributed team, think “communication, communication, communication.” Without the opportunity to casually drop by an employee’s desk, it is even more critical to use remote working tools like phone calls, video chats, and instant messaging to ensure everyone is on the same page. Be sure to chat with each team member to be sure goals are clearly defined, and the path to success is understood. From there, schedule regular check-ins to provide feedback and address any concerns early on.

Evaluate Performance

Lastly, reframe your key performance indicators to align with your new work arrangement. That way, what you measure matches with expectations and employee contributions. For inspiration, take a look at our previous article on our [Establishing Expectations] (https://www.honiva.com/knowledge-hub/2020-07-02-establishing-expectations-what-are-you-rewarding) to analyze what matters and what success means for your team.

Here to Help

Need help setting your distributed team up for success? We can help. We can be reached for a free confidential consultation at +1-403-470-5350 or [email protected].

For further details on how Honiva can help you prepare you during your recovery and rebuilding, please view our service offerings. We also welcome business owners to attend our next online seminar to learn how to improve employee management practices and strengthen your company long term. Register for the free HR Education session at EventBrite.

You can also follow along for more informative tips by joining us on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram.

Read more articles on our Knowledge Hub