How to Evaluate the Performance of Remote Employees

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A growing number of organizations are beginning to utilize employees who work remotely. This raises new challenges for management regarding employee performance evaluations. How can managers accurately measure employee performance if they are unable to physically observe employees during the workday?

Managers need to be retrained so that they can accurately assess the performance of remote employees.

In a physical work space, a manager can more readily keep track of what employees are doing. At a typical warehouse for example, a manager notices when employees come into work and watches them unloading trucks. In an office environment, managers can physically observe employees working at their desks. They also have the luxury of being able to check-in with employees and converse with them face-to-face about their daily responsibilities.

But when the work is remote, management must find other ways to judge performance. Don’t assume that an employee is hard at work simply because he is active on email, group chat, or on a collaborative work application.

Rather, employers who allow employees to work remotely must set objective standards and establish clear, trackable, valuable metrics by which remote employees’ performance can be evaluated.

A great way to manage remote hires is to judge them based on results, also known as MBOS (Managing by Objectives). Instead of tracking what time they start and finish, establish concrete goals (daily, weekly, and monthly goals) and track their progress toward meeting those goals.

For example, sales managers can keep track of the number of sales, phone calls, and leads in the pipeline. Warehouse managers can stipulate that 5 trucks must go out and return each day. Offices can determine that each software engineer must complete a specific number of projects.
By establishing quantifiable metrics and using technology to track progress, management can more effectively figure out which employees are pulling their weight. It no longer matters what time an employee arrives or clocks out. What matters is action. Results speak louder than punch-cards.