How can business leaders best measure and ensure productivity and performance within a remote workforce?
The Covid-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact since its emergence in late December 2019. Not least of all has been the shift towards remote and hybrid working, which has become the new normal for organizations the world over. However, how do organizations go about maintaining the highest levels of remote workforce productivity?
Coming together in a roundtable debate moderated by Chloe Tilley, Dan Kellet, CDO, Capital One; Roberto Maranca, Data Excellence VP, Schneider Electric; Ian Golding, Group CIO, Anthesis Group; and Brian Kelley, CTO, Ohio Turnpike, discuss the differences between productivity and performance, how organizations react to change and how best to support team members as they too adjust their own way of life.
Remote workforce productivity vs. performance
Brian Kelley of Ohio Turnpike began by providing his take on what differentiates performance and productivity. “For me, productivity is what you accomplish; performance is how you do it, and the way we measure that within the office is far different to how we do so remotely.”
Capital One CDO, Dan Kellet, follows this point by highlighting potential solutions to this challenge. “Firstly, it is about building flexibility into the way that your remote workforce communicates and engages with the work itself. This means being able to adapt rapidly to what different individuals want to achieve and how they go about doing so. Secondly, I think it is also important to build and maintain a feeling of community throughout said workforce.”
As Date Excellence VP of Schneider Electric, and Group CIO of Anthesis Group, respectively, Roberto Maranca and Ian Golding are all too aware of the points that Brian and Dan raise. “Performance management is one of the trickiest tasks that you have as a leader. It is not only down to people performing, but also an organization setting the right levels of performance and having the right framework,” says Roberto.
Ian goes on to note that also allowing people the flexibility to determine how best to get things done is extremely empowering when focusing on remote workforce productivity. “If people feel good and empowered to solve complex problems in their own way, that can be fantastic for an organization, and shows how far we have come in just a few years in getting used to this new way of working.”
Reacting to change
Considering the seismic changes to the working landscape, how much of a challenge is it for organizations to maintain optimum remote workforce productivity and performance levels? Ian’s view is that change is much less of a headache for those that are progressive and accept that the world is moving at an accelerated pace in the direction of remote or hybrid working.
It is a view that is shared by Dan. “I think things will continue to evolve quickly, and that will force organizations to be more attentional about how and why meetings take place, how a workforce engages with one another, and how it delivers its requirements. I also think it will become a greater point of difference between employers as to what their approach to remote or hybrid working is.”
Mentoring, nurturing and supporting
Is there not a fear, however, that in this new world, among those that may be negatively impacted are individuals who are just beginning work within an organization? In the view of all of the roundtable participants, the best course of action is to have a network of mentors and supervisors in place to educate, support and direct new people through the early stages of their careers.
A particularly personal issue to Roberto is also ensuring that workers still have access to the help and support they need to deal with any health or personal issues that may impact their careers. “It is vital to be able to understand the difficulties that remote workers may be going through, and to provide those moments where you stop and ask how they are, and if there is anything that you can do for them, but in a virtual way.”
As Ian concludes: “It comes down to authenticity and empathy, and ensuring that everyone realizes that – whatever situation they are in – it is ok to feel vulnerable sometimes, but that they can have those sorts of conversations in a safe environment.”
This roundtable on remote workforce productivity was created in partnership with AppDynamics.