Remote working is more than just a fad. Growing by 115% over the last 10 years, remote companies and teams are changing the way we do business. But remote work comes with its own set of problems, namely, how can you create a positive company culture when your team is dispersed?
Things move quickly in business. Over the past decade, we have experienced a global shift in the nature of work. No longer do workers crave the stability of an office 9 – 5. Instead, more and more people are looking to work from home or further afield. This is actually good for business. Location independence results in increased productivity and efficiency, higher morale and lower turnover, and these are only some of the benefits of remote working. The future of work has arrived — and it’s no longer restrained to a stuffy office cubicle.
The move towards remote working may have many positive outcomes, but as with anything new, there are some hurdles to overcome. The most pressing question for any business revolves around how it can create a positive company culture when its team is split across a range of locations.
In this post, we’re going to break down how continuous performance management software is the key to creating and maintaining a thriving company culture.
The Biggest Challenge Facing Remote Companies
What is company culture? Company culture is the environment in which your employees work. One way to think of it is as the personality of your company. This personality is informed by a whole host of factors including your company mission, values, ethics, goals and ideas. Most importantly, your company culture isn’t static, but informed and shaped by your employees and their experience of working. This is where performance management comes in. A great company culture relies on having an efficient system for regular, meaningful dialogue and feedback between employees and their managers. In the world of remote working, this kind of ‘continuous performance management’ can be a struggle.
When your team is dispersed across different locations and potentially even time zones, you don’t have the benefit of being near them. This may sound obvious, but as a general rule, remote work makes communication and feedback more complicated. Despite its benefits, remote work comes with no watercooler or communal staff room, which can result in your employees feeling isolated and low in morale. And that’s not great for your company culture.
Thankfully, advances in performance management software make it easier to bridge the gap with your remote workers. Here’s how:
It Helps to Establish Clear Objectives and Expectations
One of the toughest challenges for remote workers is being clear on expectations and deliverables. In an office environment, expectations are more easily understood as there is more day-to-day interaction and observation going on. But, for a remote worker, goals can become vague.
So although remote work is, by nature, more flexible — it should never be at the expense of having clear goals and objectives. When a company and individual’s objectives are murky, an employee can’t ensure that they’re doing their job in the way that is expected of them. The result? Underperformance, misunderstandings and a lack of organisational productivity.
Clear Review’s performance management software provides a solution. By empowering employees and managers to collaborate on SMART objectives, our system ensures that everyone on your team is on the same page and working towards your business’s long-term goals. Using a simple upward aligning process, reviewing and updating objectives becomes easy. Remote workers are able to both easily access their targets and update managers of their progress online — making the process simple, easy and effective.
It Encourages Regular Check-Ins
Remote workers still need regular check-ins. In fact, it’s arguably more important to have regular check-ins with your remote staff than with your office staff. How can you build rapport and trust with your team if you never see or speak to them?
Lack of communication can leave remote workers feeling demotivated and unappreciated. Equally, without regular check-ins, managers can feel anxious and uncertain both about how their employees are performing and how they feel about their job. Instead of benefiting just one party, checking in regularly is comforting for both employer and employee. It ensures that completion of objectives remains on target and helps to identify any obstacles and issues early on — before they become unmanageable.
Clear Review’s software has integrated check-ins, allowing employees and their managers to easily stay connected. It enables both parties to have future-focused one-to-one virtual meetings, capturing action points and important notes so that everyone knows their next steps. Our continuous performance management software also has email integration that reminds both parties of agreed tasks that need to be actioned — allowing remote workers to stay on track and giving managers peace of mind that their employees know exactly what is expected of them.
It Enables Continuous Feedback
If remote working is the future of business, then continuous feedback is definitely the future of performance management. More and more companies are ditching outdated and ineffective annual performance reviews in favour or continuous feedback models. The reason? Well, we could list multiple benefits, but, in short, it is proven to increase productivity, engagement, performance and motivation.
Continuous feedback is especially useful for remote workers. Whether your employees work from the comfort of their bedrooms or in a small office overseas, remote workers can easily feel disconnected and over time this can harm motivation. To keep engagement and productivity up, it’s essential that managers provide regular feedback that guides their employees by recognising their strengths and achievements, supporting them to develop and encouraging them to achieve their targets and goals.
Clear Review enables feedback to be given instantaneously, via desktop, tablet or smartphone. Continuous feedback doesn’t have to feel like a chore when communication is so easy.
It Builds Trust
When your workers are dispersed, trust is essential. With a remote team, it’s just not possible to swing by an employee’s desk to discuss progress or a deadline. You can’t casually chat about a new project over a shared lunch table and you can’t use coffee breaks to build rapport.
Providing continuous feedback, having regular check-ins and having clear goals and objectives helps to build trust. But is that enough? The majority of remote workers are millennials — and millennials are a completely different type of worker. They’re ambitious and driven, but they also crave support and creative freedom.
Clear Review also encourages employees to have ongoing personal development objectives that can be updated and reviewed online. Research has shown that personal development is one of the most important drivers of employee performance. With this feature, you can keep team morale up by showing your employees that you can trust them not only to do their work, but to make crucial decisions about their career development and, therefore, the development of your company as a whole.
Are you finding it hard to keep your remote workers motivated and engaged? Clear Review helps you overcome these challenges and build a great company culture — even from a distance. Watch our 7 minute video demo and take your next step into the future of business.