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#WFH: What’s You Target for Success?

Organizations that are really interested in performance need to look at culture. In fact, organizational culture is a good place to start when evaluating performance. Organizations that are willing to look at silos, bottlenecks, and a general lack of cooperation and mission are more likely to have success with virtual workers. If the organization is willing to support and look closely at the needs of those people working virtually, there is a much greater chance for success.

Cost per unit is often used to benchmark performance. This might have worked in an industrial age where workers were thought of as just one more widget, but it is totally in appropriate in the age of the knowledge worker. In many sectors real costs are hard to measure and often are not measured at all, or not measured accurately. Hours worked is a very limited and unrealistic approach to measuring performance, especially in a virtual environment. The complexity of the environment and the performance task weight heavily in monitoring and evaluating performance. Performance evaluation begins with self-evaluation and planning. This leads to new ways of measuring performance. There is a need to know how we are doing, both in the public and private sectors. If measures like performance indicators, ROI, and quality assurance do not do it, then what does? How do we look at performance and measure it both in the public and private sectors, profit and nonprofit, virtual and face to face work environments? There are many schools of thought on this ranging from checklists to blank sheets of paper, but ultimately it’s best to get back to the basics: mutually agreed upon objectives, benchmarking and evidence-based research.

Setting up any kind of measurement system requires setting a target. Most organizations start with a mission statement and a definition of values. These values are translated into objectives or goals. The big difference between objectives and goals is that objectives are definitive and measurable. These are communicated to the workforce so that leaders are not only aware of the objectives but under-stand how their individual contribution plays into achieving the results. This includes their ability to contribute to the formation of the objectives. It also includes clarifying responsibilities, accountability, review processes and defining and measuring performance. The natural next step is rewarding performance and assuring improvement and progression for the individual and organization.

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