Maximize Your Remote Team Performance: Focus on Deliverables Over Attendance
Measuring performance is critical for all employees, but when you’re leading a team of people who are working from various countries and in different time zones, it’s not as simple as making sure everybody is logged on by 9 AM. Sure there are plenty of IT solutions you can use to show you when an individual is logged in and help verify that someone is at work. But at the end of the day, just how useful is that?
With a virtual team, it is impossible to track what each person is doing at all times, but there is something you can measure — output. Instead of keeping up with time spent, we suggest you come to an agreement with your team on deliverables and give your staff the freedom to manage their own time in their own way.
Focusing on deliverables over attendance has proven to be much more productive. And, as it turns out, tracking output over input is useful for all types of teams — virtual and in person. Here is a great example: Best Buy gave its human resources managers the task of coming up with a way to get head office staff working more productively. What they found was that giving staff complete freedom to pursue results in their own time motivated them more than anything else.
The method used by Best Buy was the Results-Only Working Environment (ROWE), created by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson. The came up with a plan where all of their employees were evaluated solely on their performance, not their presence — and it really worked. It had the effect of raising morale and engagement. Their staff no longer had to just ‘show up’ — so time-wasting was reduced and company productivity soared by 35%.
And here is another interesting fact: Tracking performance can also combat a commonly experienced insecurity of remote workers — the often nagging need to prove themselves because they can’t be ‘seen’ like they normally would be if they were in an office. Setting clear goals and deadlines by which performance can be measured gives long-distance staff something concrete to focus on, helping assuage doubt. Resisting the urge to check up on people repeatedly and making a point to provide feedback on a regular basis also helps to build trust with your team.
To create an environment focused on deliverables at VentureDevs and give our tech team freedom, we use SCRUM — an agile methodology that works by planning backlogs and then breaking down those backlogs into weekly “sprints”. During the sprints, the team focuses on completing only a specific set of deliverables and tracks their progress along the way. This emphasis on planning and establishing clear results helps our team produce more, faster. It fosters easy communication and allows for the flexibility needed to accomplish tech projects. We’ve found that using this framework helps keep our clients more engaged in their projects and aware of what’s happening while also providing the flexibility, freedom and trust that their remote team needs to succeed.
The nature of the global remote talent revolution is requiring entrepreneurs to find new ways of managing successful work teams, but empowering your remote staff with autonomy and focus is one of the key ways you can foster productivity and fulfillment for everyone involved.
Interested in benefiting from our experience building our own successful companies and helping others do the same? Consider partnering with us to grow your tech team or our partner Worldwide101 for business-grade virtual assistance.
This is part of a series offering strategies and tips to best leverage a remote team for your business. You may also be interested in: