The Executive’s Guide to Managing Workforce Performance

“911: What’s your emergency?”

“My team members; they’re all so far away. Not sure if I can manage their performance as effectively as I did back in 2007 when we just started out and were all two feet from each other.”

“Have there been any losses yet?”

“Our retention rate is dropping and we’ve recently experienced severe productivity issues. Guess our onboarding program is also limping.”

“Okay, hold on, sir. Help is on the way.”

It’s 2019, ladies and gentlemen, and we’re diving deeper and deeper into the world of distributed workforces and remote teams. Those executives who were asking, “How do I know that my remote team is actually working?” are being replaced by those who want to know, “How can I help our distributed workforce be at their best?” So what does this mean for the workplace of tomorrow?

Two big trends shaping the Future of Work 

With the latest research coming from Upwork and supporting findings from other research institutions, we have reason to say that right now we’re at the intersection of two major trends: the generational divide and flexible workforces. Like it or not, these two trends are already dictating the rules for the workplace of tomorrow. 

The majority of young managers – Millennials and Gen Z – are proponents of having a distributed workforce, because they don’t want to restrict themselves with self-imposed boundaries. With high levels of talent shortage and a lack of the right skills, the main objective is to talent-proof a business, even if the right talent has a different zip code or time zone. Here are some data to illustrate these trends.

  • 2 out of 5 workers will be distributed in the next three years, according to younger gen managers 
  • 69% of younger gen managers have distributed team members
  • 73% of all companies will have distributed team members by 2028
  • 52% of younger gen managers ranked workforce planning as a top priority for better access to rapidly-changing skills and their company’s agility

As you can see, young managers rely heavily on a distributed workforce across various industries. They’re also better prepared in terms of software support and processes to accommodate the needs of their remote team members. But why?

We all know that companies like IBM and Yahoo have learned the hard way that growing a distributed workforce without focusing firstly on people can backfire. Their strategy to “relocate or leave” was the result of poor tech preparedness and an insufficient understanding of how to organize and optimize processes for distributed workforces. 

Since the future is remote, companies need a set of tools to keep the pulse on how to support their distributed workforce to be at their best. The right technology that erases the boundaries between distributed teams performance and the objectives of HQ is what defines the future success of your company.

When team members are distributed, you want to avoid challenges related to performance improvement, including addressing poor communication and cohesion across a company, overcoming language and cultural barriers, measuring workforce productivity growth and defining skill gaps, among others.

As Julie Wilson, founder of the Institute for Future Learning, says, “Managing a virtual team requires managers to double down on the fundamentals of good management, including establishing clear goals, running great meetings, communicating clearly, and leveraging team members’ individual and collective strengths.” 

Let’s go into the details of how to make these fundamentals of performance improvement work for your distributed workforce.

How to fish the world for the right talent with the right tools 

After conducting a two-year study, including data from 5,600 employees across the U.S., Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Google has found that tech infrastructure plays a crucial role in supporting a distributed workforce. The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work from Zapier emphasizes that support should be about “embracing what works for me” as the best way to get more done. 

Following these findings and summing them up with our extensive experience in growing distributed workforce productivity, the Rallyware team has prepared for you a guide to effective performance improvement. 

The data-driven performance improvement loop

  1. Use general data from HR (demographics, recruiting, CV, social media data, etc.) to personalize the onboarding experience. By having general data at this stage, you will be able to segment new recruits into specific cohorts and deliver only relevant support. A whopping 53% of HR professionals believe that “starting strong is the key” for workforce engagement and productivity growth. So onboarding needs to be as clear as possible. Think of it as personal guidance with personalized objectives supported by customized training.
  2. From onboarding data, start learning more about each team member to improve your retention rates. Here, you will need to use previously aggregated data on the other team members along with the onboarding data points to allow the system to predict those “at-risk” and flag them to managers for more attention. This is just one example of how ML-based performance improvement tools can help you address issues before they arise
  3. Later, add in the mix of each individual’s performance data to automatically deliver the right training for the biggest impact on performance improvement. This way, the system will be able to send personalized learning and business activities to the right person at the right time to ensure continuous productivity growth.
  4. Keep collecting more data and feeding it back into your workforce performance enablement tool to make the personalized experience better and better. By feeding more data into the system, you will eventually create a fully customized experience for every distributed team member to better predict their needs, possible challenges, and any risk of a drop in performance or engagement. 

With a smart performance enablement tool, you will provide personalized guidance for every distributed team member towards their success, ensuring continuous growth for your company. 

If you’ve got any questions on how a smart performance enablement tool can benefit your team, find more information here!