This week, we have asked Mr. Allan Gamboa, our resource person on leadership and organisational development, for his tips on how to deal with monitoring employees, most of whom are now “working from home.” The following are his thoughts and recommendations.
The shift to a virtual working environment triggered by the coronavirus has surfaced so many questions, even bringing about confusion for some. Among these concerns is the aspect of People Performance. How do we now manage performance in this new virtual working environment? If no concrete plan exists in your organisation, here are some steps you may want to take.
1. Analyze the current situation. Identify what has changed and what remained the same. Consider the following: Strategies, Goals and Objectives, Measures, Systems/Methods/Tools, Duties and Responsibilities, Competencies, etc. Initially, you can do this for your department or team, then engage your senior leaders for alignment with the rest of the organization. This will help you develop a better grasp of the extent of the changes that you would need to consider when managing performance.
2. Regroup, Re-examine, Redefine. Based on your analysis, determine how you are going to proceed. Do your research. Find out what your counterparts in other organizations are doing. However, don’t be limited to similar organizations; consider other pioneering organizations as well. Find out how they are adapting but refrain from immediately embracing and implementing them. Take note of the relevant principles being employed, then determine what will work best for you and your department. Involve your senior leaders and your fellow managers as you redefine work requirements, methods and procedures, measures and targets, etc. The last thing you want is to operate in a silo. Involvement of others will be crucial if you are to succeed in adapting to the changes.
3. Talk to your people. Once you have a clear grasp of how your department will move forward, you will need to focus on people. Because of the many uncertainties, your people will need your leadership ability now more than ever. Communicate your revised plans, targets, methods, etc. but spend reasonable time listening to their questions and concerns. Most people are going through difficulties (in some way, shape or form), as they adjust to everything that has changed. You need to have a handle on these so you will know what you (and they) may need to adjust.
4. Monitor performance constantly and provide Coaching. Remember: “Out of sight, out of mind.” You interacted and worked with people daily back then, yet you observed and corrected many performance concerns. This time, in an environment where you will have less opportunities to observe the people, the need to ensure that people are performing according to standards and expectations becomes more crucial. For this reason, you will have to communicate clear and agreed measures and targets for performance. Allow these to serve as your indicators for reinforcing successful performance and correct ineffective performance.