When everyone was together in the office, you were close to all the action. Now, the action is spread out across the country or even the world. How can you be sure what’s going on? What do you not know about?
You can’t lead remotely on gut instinct. You need to base your decision-making on data as far as possible. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, so keeping an eye on your metrics is essential for any remote leader. So, put processes in place to collect as much data as you can from your teams.
Here are five things to think about when devising your remote-first metrics.
1 – Does activity equal productivity?
It’s simple to set up tools to measure how long your team members are active on their remote desktops. You can also measure productivity in terms of output (or revenue) per person, then look for a correlation between the two metrics.
However, it’s not about looking for slackers. There are many reasons why people in a remote team may produce a lower output than others. For example, it could be because they have a slower internet connection and it takes them longer to access files. When you know the reason for lower productivity, you can take steps to manage it.
2 – What do your clients think?
If your clients are happy, it’s a sign that your job as a remote leader is going well. If you can provide the same or better service to your clients as you did when everyone was in the office, you can be sure that your move to remote is a good one.
Design a short and easy-to-complete survey for your clients to measure their feelings towards your business and your people. Get them to give you a rating on factors such as:
● Communication – How well do your people stay in contact with them?
● Response time – How quickly do your team respond to enquiries?
● Quality – How do they rate the way your people deal with requests?
You should also ask them how you could improve and act on the feedback, if necessary.
3 – Does remote-first boost staff retention?
You know the value of keeping hold of your top people. It keeps productivity high while lowering hiring costs. In theory, moving to remote-first should work wonders for your staff retention. Remote work is supposed to give your people back their work-life balance, save money, and help them work more effectively. However, you won’t know for sure unless you track these metrics.
Track your staff attrition percentage and keep an eye on any changes quarter-on-quarter or year-on-year. If you see a rise in employee departures, dig deeper to find out why and how you can make your people stay longer in your company.
4 – Are your team working too hard?
We’ve talked about tracking your people’s activity to ensure they’re productive when working remotely, but this coin has a flip side. You don’t want your people to work too hard and burn themselves out. There is also a cultural aspect to this situation, as people in different countries around the world may have different attitudes to work and find it harder to say no to things.
Use tools to track how long your people are working, when they are available and when they aren’t. If some people are working much harder than others, try to find out why. Could you redistribute the workload more equally.
5 – How happy are your people?
Companies often overestimate how happy their employees are. If you bury your head in the sand and find out about staff issues too late, it could have dramatic consequences. It’s simple to quantify how happy your people are. You ask them.
Get them to rate their happiness in their role, taking into account:
● Work-life balance
● Relationship with leadership
● Financial security
● Anything else that they feel is relevant
As Sarah Hawley, CEO and Founder at Growmotely, told our Leading Remotely podcast:
‘Everyone who works remotely answers how happy they are every single month? How happy are you out of 10 at work - and why?
‘And I use that now as my leading KPI, my leading metric, because I know that if my team are happy and engaged, everything else in the company will work a lot smoother. On the other hand, if they're not happy and engaged, eventually things will start to break down internally, and they won’t necessarily treat the customers or treat each other as well.’
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