Managing Performance in the Digital Workplace

Performance management can be tricky – even in ordinary times. With the workforce shifting ‘en masse’ from a physical to a digital workspace, leaders are under great pressure to equip themselves with a whole new ‘toolkit’ to motivate and engage their people. Below are some tips to effectively manage your remote team’s productivity during these challenging times:


1. Give up ‘micro-managing’

Many leaders may struggle with their perceived inability to ‘keep tabs’ on their team when they are not in the same physical office. If as a manager you find yourself micro-managing your people, now is the perfect time to ditch this habit. Strong digital teams are built on a foundation of trust. Set and communicate your expectations on the deliverables but then take a step back and allow your people to do what they do best – their jobs. Employees are more likely to be empowered to operate at their best if they feel that they are trusted.


2. Redefine performance metrics

Shift your focus towards work ‘outputs’ rather than ‘time spent’. Communicating clear objectives to your employees will help them maintain focus, energy, and a sense of purpose. Set clear parameters for success, establish guidelines for sharing information and then track productivity through task completion.  Keep motivation up by reasserting the link between employees’ work and organisational success by providing visibility into company objectives and how their output is contributing to the bigger picture.


3. Provide regular feedback

Feedback is central in directing and managing your people’s performance. Ensure that you schedule regular one-to-ones with your team members via video chat where you can clarify goals, enquire on task status and provide support to overcome any obstacles encountered.  Be mindful to maintain a positive approach and ensure that any improvement feedback is delivered in a specific, practical and timely manner.


4. Recognise good performance

Recognition is a critical element in ensuring that your people continue to be engaged - it is vital that this is not overlooked in a digital environment. In times of uncertainty, it is even more essential to reinforce those behaviours that you would like to see more of. A simple ‘Well done!’ can go a long way in boosting motivation and encourages other team members to follow suit. Exploit the virtual tools available to share and celebrate both individual and team accomplishments, both privately and through public channels.


5. Adjust your expectations

COVID-19 has led to a complete upheaval in our professional and personal lives. The challenges we are facing are unprecedented, disruptive, and stressful. Keep in mind that these are not ordinary times and we are still adjusting to the new ‘normal’ - whilst juggling other personal predicaments. Expect and accept that productivity will be impacted to a certain extent. Show empathy towards the plight of your employees - support them by providing flexibility and help them identify new ways of working productively.