A Game Changer: Fitbit for Remote Workers Improves Team Performance

Ian Giles
Ian Giles
May 10, 2019 · 5 min read
Photo by Chanan Greenblatt on Unsplash

How do you identify stars when your company is composed of remote workers? How can you motivate your remote team to strive for excellence? Can you train this far-flung team with inspiring work methods and processes?

Crossover can.

“Crossover gave me the tools to manage remote teams on a level I never imagined possible before. It is an ideal platform to build powerful yet cost-effective teams,” says Crossover Java Software Engineering Manager Dmitry G.

How does Crossover do it?

Crossover built a productivity tool called Worksmart Pro, which continuously improves how its professionals work. Worksmart Pro is used company-wide to measure the productivity, focus, and intensity of each skilled professional.

Worksmart Pro demonstrates that Crossover’s way of working is radical, innovative, revolutionary. It can be compared to the unique ways that sports team are collecting data to create winning records.

The 2003 book Moneyball by Michael Lewis, chronicles Oakland Athletics’ general manager Billy Beane’s “use of sabermetrics to discover the secret of success in the often times unfair and imperfect science of baseball player evaluation,” notes Forbes.com. “This was the first known use of prioritization of statistics and data to make personnel decisions in professional sports.” Today, it is common for every professional sports team to employ analytics.

In the same way that sports teams can evaluate professional players with data, so too can a company like Crossover evaluate remote teams with data collected by Worksmart Pro.

Identify the stars with Worksmart Pro

When you operate a company of remote workers, you look at factors related to productivity, such as deep work blocks and process, or doing the right things in the correct order with the appropriate tools. When you do this, you can understand the success. This results in:

· Data insights

· Process for evaluating team

· Process for coaching team towards success

Worksmart is the means to this end.

It works like Fitbit does, collecting data like Fitbit collects information regarding an athlete’s progress: whether steps on the Stairmaster, calories burned, or pace on a run.

When companies can glean the most relevant data, as sports teams do with analytics, they can build a top team of workers.

A collaboration tool

Worksmart Pro is a collaboration tool to manage virtual teams. It is a calendar management and productivity tool, offering workers and their manager's complete transparency by sharing data. It helps to measure progress and analyzes what it takes to reach individual and team targets.

Teams at Crossover use Worksmart to collaborate on how to reach their goals best, measuring what works by analyzing Worksmart’s feedback. In this way, the tool can be compared to the Fitbit, which tracks an athlete’s activity, progress, heartbeat, and calories used when doing sports. Just as the Fitbit measures an athlete’s progress, so does Worksmart measure the progress of a worker for Crossover.

Worksmart is a Fitbit for remote workers

Just like managers in a traditional office, managers at Crossover want to ensure that their teams — located around the world — are directed towards productive activities. With Worksmart they can evaluate the workers’ quality and effectiveness; workers can check in with managers for advice, and rank the team by the quality of deliverables.

This resembles the Fitbit Ionic which offers onboard GPS for accurate pace, distance, elevation climbed, continuous heart rate and heart rate zone reporting.

Worksmart lives in the cloud so anyone with a login can access it. It is secure so data is protected.

Results of Worksmart

You need to be disciplined in order to be a success on Worksmart Pro. You also need to be analytical.

When managers review the data from Worksmart, every team member is put into one of three categories: whether the candidate meets quality standards; whether he needs coaching; or she needs to attend Remote Camp for hands-on, intensive training.

Photo by Jose Morales on Unsplash

Data-driven evaluation

One of the issues that can be identified by Worksmart is whether the team member is working in deep blocks, by which we mean spending extended periods, usually three to four hours at a time, focused on one task.

There’s a strong correlation between deep work and quality.

In the book Moneyball, Oakland Athletics’ manager Billy Beane determined that scoring runs were the fruit of certain analytics. In short, his theory was that a team with a high on-base percentage was more likely to win more games.

The data about runs scored reveals the secrets of a baseball team’s success and the data from Worksmart provides insights into a worker’s productivity and work methods.

Managers can evaluate Worksmart data and choose candidates for Crossover by testing and evaluation. They can identify top performers when the workers use Worksmart Pro.

Case Study: 25% improvement quarter over quarter for Engineering teams

A case study by Mircea Strugaru, Senior Vice President for Engineering and Operations at Crossover, looked at a sample of 130 engineers. Worksmart data and data-driven compliance program provided over $13 million annual business optimization in 2018. The deficit fixed cost was reduced from $1000 to $316.

Simply by leveraging existing work behavior data, managers were able to design a compliance program based on how high-performing individuals were spending their time. They were able to motivate their subordinates to become compliant with the model behavior.

Worksmart is fundamental to Crossover’s business as a predictor of performance

When your workforce is located around the world, you want to accomplish timely business results. Worksmart enables the company by being a predictor of performance and connects the workforce in virtual teams. The transparency of data is valued by managers and workers alike.

Workers find that by increasing their focus — such as working in deep blocks — they can increase their intensity and their performance.

These advantages are appreciated by Crossover’s workers:

“The Worksmart Pro culture of aggressive goals and continuous improvement brings out my best and ensures that all of my colleagues are also up for the challenge. It’s so great to be surrounded by such driven people,” says Giancarlo M., Level 2 Customer Support Architect.

Team members also are gratified by their own progress on the job. “Thanks to Crossover’s unique way of transferring knowledge (through Playbooks, Coaching, and Worksmart Pro) I have never been more confident in my technical skills and abilities for my role,” says Crossover IT Project Manager, Peter C.

For companies using workers in locations all over the world, the organization’s bottom line will be positively affected when top teams are identified. With Worksmart, the data reveals who the stars are and these insights can be transferred to motivate and instruct other teams to achieve the same levels of excellence. In the end, both workers and the company will reap the rewards of peak performance.

Credits: Kathleen McKay

Ian Giles

Written by

Ian Giles

VP of Content @crossover4work responsible for creating and curating epic content that attracts thousands of candidates per week.

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