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#WFH: How Do You Analyze Remote Workplace Performance?

The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. —Helmut Schmidt

Measuring performance is about communicating a vision and getting a buy-in. It sets discrete, measurable and attainable objectives at the team, unit and departmental level that relate directly to overall business objectives. The purpose of performance management is to improve business out-comes. Measuring performance in the traditional workplace is challenging. Performance management by definition needs to align with business objectives and other aspects of general management. It can’t be looked at in isolation. Quality is all about service. Service is all about people. Separating performance management from the overall business doesn’t work.
Good virtual performance analytics happen at least once a quarter formally and even more often informally. Using only yearly analytics in a virtual environment is useless. A performance review twelve months down the road is just not effective. Performance appraisals are traditionally used to identify outcomes: monetary, development, learning and personal improvement. This is a good place to begin but performance analytics needs to do much more. No matter what we call it, improving skills, motivation and performance is why we analyze it. We ana-lyze it to support it, to try to fix it, to find out what we can do better. We design surveys, personal development plans and standards to insure quality. We analyze performance so that we can help people do it (whatever it is) better.

What we label as performance has changed over time because our understanding of what high performance is has changed. Technology and our methods of communication have greatly impacted this definition. Traditional performance analytics were focused on top-down appraisals and initiated to as-sure directives. Today we have evolved to 360-degree feedback and to a flexible serviced-based approach. The focus of performance analytics in the virtual workplace is to confirm the vision, assure buy-in, and support development. Good performance analytics identify areas of improvement in the entire business process. They are a way of pinning down movable targets and communicating these targets so that they can be obtained. Performance analytics needs to be linked to something. Usually this is pay or promotion. Performance should not be taken for granted. Good performance needs to be rewarded.

Performance management is a process that in-volves setting individual, learning and strategic objectives. It is an iterative process. It is a systematic process. And it is an ongoing process. It is a process where individuals, teams and leaders look at progress toward goals and objectives. Success is gauged by the contribution an individual is making toward meeting organizational targets. To do this, a series of steps involving setting, measuring and evaluating these objectives is undertaken. Strategic objectives and targets are set for the organization and then different teams or units set targets that will lead to meeting the overall goals. Once these are set, then targets for the individual are usually established. Un-fortunately, this is a top down, directive approach. Even if tasks are identified and activities initiated, it is difficult to monitor those in a virtual workplace. This is part of the reason so many organizations struggle with the concept of working virtually.

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