Metrics for Evaluating Remote Workers
For many employers, managing a remote staff has presented new challenges they never had to think about before. If your organization has employees who work remotely, the main challenge you may be facing is how to effectively measure their productivity now that you do not see them daily in the office. It’s easy to think that if your employees are at their desks or in front of their computers, they must be doing productive work, right? Well, not necessarily. The truth is the amount of time employees spend at their work station may not be the best way to measure their effectiveness.
Most people want to do a good job at work, so tying the number of hours spent sitting in front of a computer to how well an employee’s performing can not only give you faulty data, it can also inadvertently diminish your team’s morale. Likewise, working in a remote setting makes gauging whether your remote employees are happy or not more challenging.
With a remote staff, gone are the casual conversations in the break room or during in-person one-on-one meetings that can help impact your employees’ satisfaction levels. But don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to ensure your remote teams are not only high performers but also motivated to do good work.
When an employee’s working remotely, you’re not there to see their work in action. So, how do you make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing? The trick here is to look at the output of your employee’s efforts.
One reliable metric that can provide insight is called Revenue Per Employee, an efficiency ratio that helps you measure the effectiveness and yield of an individual employee. You can determine your revenue per employee by dividing your organization’s total revenue (usually for the last twelve months) by the current number of employees. A higher ratio indicates greater productivity, which in turn often means higher profits for your organization. There may be other mitigating factors to consider with this ratio, such as historical changes, expenditures, and the age of your company. Still, this analytic is ideal because it lets you know how well you use your resources (in this case, your human capital).
A second way to measure productivity is through customer satisfaction. A few ways to tackle this metric are through web traffic analytics, customer satisfaction surveys that target key measurables, and social media insights. This is a valuable tool because looking at changes over time can give you additional insight into an employee’s work performance, skill gaps and training opportunities, and how well your human capital is meeting your consumer needs. Plus, without this metric, there may be a risk of negative feedback, such as on social media or web searches, which can hurt your business’s bottom line and reputation.
Last, a great metric to assess productivity is utilizing specific performance and project goals. Tying goals to day-to-day work is easy to measure and allows you to focus on the deliverables your employees produce. And having key outcome expectations and objectives keeps everyone on the same page. One pitfall here, however, is simply assigning a deadline to a project and then just looking at the final results- the proverbial “Have this on my desk by 5.” Instead, consider the critical steps required to accomplish set goals. Doing so helps establish and reinforce expectations without crossing over into micromanagement. By allowing your employees to be accountable, you help establish trust, keep them motivated, and promote open communication.
In addition to the importance of productivity, companies must also consider employee satisfaction. After all, unhappy employees have a high risk of being unproductive or underperformers. If you have a productive employee who is unhappy, chances are they probably won’t stick around too much longer. Utilizing employee satisfaction data in strategic planning is equally paramount to an employee’s productivity level, so don’t overlook this vital metric.
Two important systems of measurement to consider here are your retention and turnover rates. Whether or not your staff is doing a good job, your bottom line and reputation can still take a hit if you can’t hold on to good talent. When employees leave, it can create supplementary costs and reduced productivity, so don’t pass over this type of insightful data.
Second, get the feedback right from the horse’s mouth rather than making assumptions. Employee satisfaction surveys are a simple and effective way to get quantitative results on how your employees feel about their compensation, work-life balance, the company culture, and other important aspects of your organization. When soliciting feedback from your staff, don’t fear negative comments. This data can actually be very valuable because it provides awareness on areas that may require change.
Last, don’t forget about employee engagement. Being in a remote environment removed many of the non-verbal communications and interactions we enjoyed as part of a traditional office setting. Your employee’s level of engagement can speak volumes, so be sure you are properly utilizing team meetings, levying collaborative projects, and showcasing your presence by educating employees on productivity inhibitors and Best Practices. In a remote setting, a drop by to your boss’s office isn’t an option, so be sure to make an effort to have regular check-ins to sustain the personal touch that can get away from us when we’re all not working in the same place.
Closely monitoring your employee’s time and surveilling desktop activity can be enticing, but this can waste a lot of time and be a silent company culture killer. Having a team of remote workers doesn’t have to be a headache. If you need advice on how to manage your remote workers, EnformHR can provide consultation at any level of your organization. Contact us for more information or to discuss partnering with one of our Human Resources consultants.