In light of COVID-19, many organisations have been remote working for a few months now.
However, despite this, some businesses, or even departments are struggling to manage their staff performance effectively. How can we ensure our virtual teams have a high-performance culture? What part does high trust play into high performance and limiting underperformance?
On our recent webinar, with around 120 people attending, we conducted a poll on the impact of trust and productivity. Of those polled, 78% thought that trust directly impacted the level of productivity in staff. So, if there are issues with underperformance in your organisation, the question is this trust related?
Creating the foundations of a high trust culture
We trust those who meet our expectations time and time again. But how can this trust be achieved if those expectations are not clear in the first place? The best start to building trust is to be open and honest about organisational and role expectations from the outset. From here, you can co-create objectives with clear agreed milestones, deliverables and timelines that are documented by the individual. Find out more on how to write SMART objectives in our free white paper here.
Now that you have clearly defined goals, you can move the focus from input to outputs. Use statements like ‘I don’t expect you to be nailed to your desk 9-5, I just trust you to get the job done well’. The vast majority of people will pay back this trust in goodwill and increased productivity.
The next step is to empower your employees by being available for support and encouraging them to ask questions if needed. Utilise Skype or similar for quick responses but encourage a call if you sense confusion or radio silence. This ease of on-going communication should be separate from weekly catch-ups, which we recommend you honour and pre-diarise. Attending these virtual check-ins provides the individual the opportunity to reflect on their own wellbeing, what they've achieved in the past week, as well as the ability to refocus on new tasks for the week ahead.
Encourage a culture of responsibility and accountability
Another way to encourage this high trust culture is to share your own personal challenges or pain points. By leading by example, this can encourage others to open up about challenges fairly. This in turn, encourages a culture of personal responsibility and accountability, where it is safe to own mistakes. Certainly, if mistakes are made, it should be an opportunity to grow and learn by asking staff what they could do differently next time.
It is important that we recognise those who exhibit positive behaviours and go above and beyond our expectations. Recognition of great performance should be shared with the team or through wider forums, or perhaps through the use of a performance management tool such as Actus. As a result, this not only encourages those who have received recognition to keep up the positive momentum but the wider team as well.
All of our tips on building trust are outlined in our infographic on building trust as a remote manager here.
Where to draw the line in the sand?
If after building the foundations of a high trust culture by providing clarity, support and feedback, you are still experiencing issues with underperformance, then don't be afraid to take action. It is good to recognise when to have the tough ‘line in the sand’ conversation and if it is appropriate to formalise. Remember to be hard on facts, and open-minded on reasons.
In order to have a better understanding around some of the causes for underperformance, why not take a look at our free resource Managing Underperformance in a virtual world?
Building a better workplace for people
In this blog, we have outlined ways in which you can build a high trust culture in order to limit underperformance. This content is based on a recent webinar hosted by the CEO of Actus Software, Lucinda Carney. We constantly strive to build a better workplace for people, whether that be by providing quality software, webinars, free resources, or through our HR Uprising Podcast. Why not take a look at our upcoming webinar schedule?