The Art of Remote Employee Performance Management

by Alexandrea Davis on April 06, 2020

Learn what best practices your public sector agency can use to master performance management for remote workers and stay competitive in today’s market.

Article Highlights: 

Even before the pandemic, there was a push among employees for remote work opportunities. In 2019, a Buffer study showed that 99% of employees wanted to work remotely at least part of the time. There was a significant shift toward remote work in the last few years, and many companies don’t have plans to go back to the office. The pandemic showed us that remote work is not only possible, but it’s also beneficial and cost-effective for agencies and their workforce.

As a result, more and more job seekers today are searching for remote-friendly or hybrid roles. This is forcing organizations to consider how to oversee performance management for remote workers. Unfortunately, government agencies often face even more limitations with this than the private sector. 

In this article, we'll talk about how the public sector can adjust to remote employee performance management, best practices to set your agency and remote employees up for success, and the benefits of employee performance measurement software for remote work.

Adjusting to Remote Employee Performance Management in Local Government

It can be difficult for government agencies to accommodate remote workers. Many public sector organizations still require employees to work in the office, and certain roles can’t perform effectively in a remote capacity. But in some cases, leadership is simply reluctant to allow remote work, if only because "we've always done it this way." 

Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to attract and retain top talent. The public sector is always competing with the private sector for top talent, and private corporations’ adaptability to remote work makes government recruiting even more challenging

One benefit public sector organizations – especially those in larger cities – can gain from remote opportunities is letting your employees’ salary go farther by hiring qualified candidates in areas with lower costs of living. Lack of competitive compensation is often a hurdle that government agencies face and, as a result, often means losing talent to higher-paying private agencies.

But if your agency is considering shifting to a remote-friendly workforce, you’re probably facing concerns about effective performance management for remote workers. How will you monitor employee performance and productivity? How do you ensure alignment across remote teams? What do you need to support constructive remote employee communication?

Best Practices in Performance Management for Remote Workers

Even in a remote working environment, you still need to practice the fundamentals of good management: ongoing communication, data-driven decision making, and good old-fashioned employee trust. Here are some best practices your agency can follow to master the art of remote employee performance management.

Embrace regular employee communications

Practicing regular check-ins supports continuous performance management, which is key to successful remote employee oversight. Rather than waiting for annual reviews, holding monthly or even weekly performance reviews allows supervisors to stay abreast of remote employees’ progress, build stronger manager-employee relationships, and provide ongoing feedback that is timely and constructive. During your continuous performance reviews, clearly communicate your expectations by identifying employee goals and KPIs, monitoring their progress, and discussing the path forward.

Regular communication also keeps employees engaged and informed in your mission and as part of your organization. Without ongoing communication, remote employees can easily feel left out and lose sight of the value and impact of their work. This erodes their motivation to perform their best and weakens their commitment to your agency.

Track performance analytics

As you're monitoring your work-from-home employees' performance, it’s also important to consistently track performance analytics and generate performance reports. This data gives you a comprehensive view of employee progress towards individual, team, and organizational objectives. It also helps you identify areas where they may be struggling so you can resolve them right away and prevent small roadblocks from becoming large problems.

Analyzing their performance also lets you celebrate their successes. If employees feel recognized and appreciated, they'll stay invested in their work and motivated to perform well. Celebrating accomplishments in emails to your team or during staff meetings can go a long way in keeping remote employees satisfied.

Trust your employees 

One of the most fundamental – and most challenging – elements of remote performance management for all types of agencies is trust. Organizations often want to see their employees at work to ensure they're working productively, but this traditional evaluation of workforce performance is outdated and not always true. 

What’s more, fostering unfounded doubt about staff performance can lead to counter-productive practices of micromanagement. This creates negative feelings, mistrust, and hostility among employees that not only affects their quality of work, but also contributes to low retention.

Avoid micromanaging your remote employees and trust that they're performing effectively. Your agency should feel confident that you hired trustworthy employees, and you can substantiate this confidence with performance analytics. There, you’ll see if employees are meeting their goals on a regular basis or if their performance is slipping.

Using these best practices, the public sector can embrace the flexibility of remote work wherever it fits in your agency and stay current with the changing times. Adjusting your traditions to fit your employees' diverse lives and locations will earn their appreciation and loyalty.

The Benefits of Employee Performance Measurement Software for Remote Working

When it comes to performance management, government agencies face more limited time and resources than private companies. Regardless, it’s important that your remote staff performs at their best so you can better serve your community. By using employee performance management software, your agency can make monitoring remote workers’ performance easier and more effective in significant ways.

Support better communication

Performance measurement software makes frequent performance reviews more streamlined, manageable, and organized. Rather than trying to remember each employee's accomplishments and challenges for the past year, you can track their KPIs and goals in the software and generate progress reports as often as needed. If an employee's performance is beginning to slip, rather than remaining unaware (which leaves them floundering until their next performance appraisal), you can identify and address problems as soon as they arise

Performance management for remote workers also allows for continuous, 360-degree feedback. Managers, employees, and their peers can see and provide feedback on their team members’ progress in one centralized system at any time. The software also stores all this documented feedback, enabling managers to easily find and reference it during performance reviews. With these capabilities, employee review software helps remote workers stay connected with other employees across the agency and leverage constructive insights year-round to improve their performance – not just when they meet with their supervisor. 

Enhance efficiency of processes

A key feature of performance management software is automation. From streamlined workflows to performance review reminders, using automated performance management tools saves time and energy for your agency. Supervisors can automate emails to individual employees or specific groups to fill out forms and goals, as well as send reminders about upcoming deadlines and review meetings. Automation reduces the stress of managing all your remote employees throughout the performance evaluation process to ensure you stay on schedule

Performance software also makes your regular reviews more efficient. You can standardize evaluations with review templates and rubrics, ensuring everyone in the organization is evaluated consistently and fairly. Agencies can even customize these templates with different tasks and standards according to the specific needs of various departments, job functions, and more.

Improve productivity

Streamlined processes, centralized management systems, bulk actions, and other features of employee performance measurement software save time and improve the productivity of your staff. At any time, managers can easily track remote employee analytics and pull team or individual performance reports. Throughout the year, they can also record notes about employee performance so nothing is forgotten come review time. 

Furthermore, by letting employees frequently check their goals, performance expectations, and peer feedback, the software helps them stay motivated, informed, and on track with their work. Especially in a remote work environment, the accessibility and efficiency of performance management software enables better remote employee performance and more opportunities for success in your agency.

Increase employee satisfaction

Ultimately, using performance management software can increase employee satisfaction. Giving employees clarity about their goals and expectations shows them a clear path to success, and aligning this to your organizational goals illustrates the impact of their work. 

By tying their success to the success of the agency, employees can see the value of their performance and their commitment to your agency will grow. What’s more, this can lead to reduced employee turnover and more fruitful recruitment of new talent.

NEOGOV’s employee performance measurement software, Perform, makes it easy for public sector agencies to manage employees performance whether they're in the office or working remotely. Perform is designed specifically for performance management in government, centralizing and automating all your needs in one platform. With customizable tools and templates for goal alignment, performance tracking, continuous feedback, performance reviews, and more, Perform helps your agency implement more efficient operations and more effective services.

Final Thoughts

The public sector often faces more challenges and limitations than the private sector, but accommodating remote working arrangements doesn’t have to be one of them. With strategic goal-setting and tracking, open communication and trust, and automated performance management software, your agency can effectively manage remote employee performance. 

Learn more about how automated and standardized systems for performance management in local government will help you save time, reduce costs, and support fairness.

Alexandrea Davis

Alexandrea Davis is a Content Marketing Specialist at NEOGOV, supporting content strategy and development. With a love for storytelling and commitment to making an impact, she aims to create meaningful content that builds trust and erodes challenges for public service professionals.

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