How to Manage Performance Virtually?

How to Manage Performance Virtually?

It’s January and chances are you are doing performance management reviews with your team, either sometime soon or you just completed themBut this year is unique (said every email sent since March) because your team has likely been working virtually.  

If this has been a new way of working for your team, performance reviews may have felt/feel extra tricky because, well, how do you performance-manage people you haven’t laid eyes on in months?  

Tips for Virtual Performance Management

Here are some suggestions of performance management practices you can do as an employer in the virtual environment:

1. Weekly Calls With Direct Reports

Weekly 1 on 1 calls with direct reportsDiscuss issues, wins, concerns, how they’re holding up, etc. The point is to foster the sense of connection and belonging to a team, which can be eroded in the isolation that tends to accompany virtual work, while also keeping up to speed with their productivity.  

2. Issues: Host Daily Check-Ins (Temporarily)

If the employee is being inconsistent with time management, ieappears to be unavailable in the morning/ending work early, or is generally not being productive, you could host a 5-10 min check-in at start of day and/or end of day. This would ideally be temporary until productivity is boosted.  

3. Outputs and Deliverables

Focus on outputs and deliverables vs hours of work*. If the employee is able to produce the expected level then there is no need to do more than a weekly checkin. If they are missing deadlines however, a conversation on how to address the decreased output level should occur. *This works for employees who are not shift-based. If you are a customer support employee, being online at specific time is important and this method wouldn’t apply. 

4. Cloud-based Ways of Working

For project work, move to cloud-based ways of working (Google WorkspaceTeams, etc.) so that you can keep a more regular eye on the type of work that’s been developed and the frequency of that work.

5. Task Lists

Alternative to daily check-inshave your team create and share a task list at the start of the week, and review/debrief on their progress at the end of the week. There are apps that can help with this (such as Planner/Task Manager in Microsoft 365AsanaMondayetc.).  

6. Respond to Reality

Increase or decrease the frequency of check-ins based on whether the employee is improving or falling behind  (we still recommend having at least one regular, fixed check-in a week though). 

Key Take Away

The overarching goals are to stay connected and maintain trust. Intention matters, and often people can sense the intention behind actions; we want to stress that leading and managing your team from a place of compassion will see the greatest benefit, both emotionally and efficiency-wise.  

Business Sherpa Group

Strategic and operational professionals providing flexible consulting services to SMEs.

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