Our COO, Tricia Sciortino, wrote this post on tips for productive employees for SuccessfulMeetings.com back in November 2016, but the principles are just as relevant today as they were then.
Managers and supervisors aim for organizational efficiency each day. Perhaps they don’t think of their workdays in these specific terms, but as team leaders a core function is inspiring others to be more effective and to stimulate continuous improvement.
Productivity is intricately tied to performance.
But in an increasingly virtualized workplace, what are the best ways to assess these? Today, physical presence alone is hardly an effective means of rating employees’ impact. More often, teams are distributed: People may work from home, from satellite coworking spaces in different cities, or in various corporate locations around the world. So how can managers rely less on old supervisory routines and focus on who is actually getting results.
A challenge for leaders is determining employee value and contributions accurately and fairly. But doing so has become more complex. According to various sources, 21st century work styles — such as telecommuting, job sharing, and gig-based projects — are transforming the established traditions that many leaders know so well. But leaders primed for the future of work should realize that being competent in this regard is emerging as a must-have requirement rather than an ancillary skill.
Managers should think about these questions as they assess their capacity for measuring employee productivity in this brave new work world.
Have performance expectations been customized to the individual employee?
In a typical office setting, it’s easy for leaders to default to a one-size-fits-all approach to performance management. But within an alternative professional framework, such as one that includes off-site positions, leaders must cultivate a deeper understanding of their employees and how they work. Because virtual workers generally enjoy greater autonomy over how and, sometimes, when they perform their work, it’s vital that supervisors get “in the weeds” with their team members’ particular and preferred practices. This knowledge can be priceless when it comes to assessing performance.
For example, if an employee is a self-described morning person who does her best work before noon, you might be able to coordinate deadlines with that in mind. If she fails to meet deadlines within her preferred window, that could be the catalyst for a conversation about her productivity. Understanding — and respecting — how off-site employees like to work helps managers guide and encourage them to be effective and efficient. This balance between employee and leader builds the internal motivation for them to truly produce with an emphasis on outcomes and results.