Best practices for setting goals and measuring success with remote workers

Discover more about the best way to evaluate remote workers.

Manager evaluating an employee using a whiteboard

Setting goals for your employees is an essential part of managing a team. However, goals alone are not enough, you also need to regularly evaluate their progress toward those goals. Employee evaluations help you and your team understand what’s working and what needs to change going forward.

When you manage remote workers, it’s even more important to measure their progress and success. In-person meetings are powerful, but your remote evaluations can have the same impact when done correctly. Use this guide to learn how to evaluate remote workers more effectively.

Evaluating remote employees: the basics

Employee evaluations, at their core, should be about maintaining a productive dialogue with your team members. Navigating these conversations with remote employees can be challenging, but investing the time to do it right will pay off. 

When you’re evaluating remote employees, try applying these tips below to make the process more streamlined.

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1. Establish clear expectations

The topics and findings discussed with your remote employees during their evaluations shouldn’t be surprising to them. To keep everyone on the same page, establish clear and realistic expectations for your employees. Let them know how often you plan to evaluate their performance, what topics will be discussed in performance reviews, and what your priorities for them are.

Expectations for remote workers may differ from those for in-person employees, so be sure your remote team understands what is expected of them. This information will provide the groundwork for successful employee evaluations down the line.

2. Set measurable goals

Vague goals aren’t useful to you or your employees. Instead of setting abstract goals for your remote workers, make sure they have measurable benchmarks. Since remote workers likely complete most of their work online, you should have access to data that can be used to quantitatively measure their progress.

With a remote sales representative, for example, your goal may be for the employee to reach more conversions. You would set a benchmark of how many conversions you want them to complete. That way, your employee would have a clear goal to work toward and could measure their own progress toward that number.

3. Schedule bi-weekly check-ins

Traditionally, managers evaluated employees annually, but that schedule just doesn’t fit with the modern work environment. Keeping an open dialogue with team members and regularly checking in with them is the better approach to employee evaluations. Since remote employees can’t just drop by your office with questions or concerns, frequent check-ins are even more important.

Bi-weekly check-ins with remote employees hit the perfect middle ground between too much and not enough communication. These meetings are frequent enough to give you a good idea of their progress without being so overbearing.

For the most productive communication, avoid check-ins by email. Though convenient, email is less effective for evaluation discussions with remote workers than video or phone calls. 

4. Tie daily tasks to long-term goals

Setting quantifiable goals will help guide remote employees toward success. However, they may still struggle to understand how their daily tasks relate to the long-term goals you set together. Tying those big-picture goals to concrete daily tasks can help ensure that remote employees make progress every day.

Your remote employees will be more motivated to complete their daily work if they understand how finishing those tasks gets them closer to their goals. Making the connection between long-term goals and daily tasks can also eliminate the urge to micromanage your remote workers, freeing you up to focus on other work.

5. Identify available resources for support

It’s common for remote workers to feel isolated. In your discussions with remote employees, make sure to identify resources they can use if they need help achieving their goals. Applicable resources include online training, mentorship meetings, and productivity tools.

Reaching remote team goals

After establishing open communication around goals and evaluations with your employees, the next step is to evaluate whether your team is successfully reaching those goals.

If you set quantifiable goals, measuring your remote workers’ output is an ideal method for determining their progress. Compare the actual results to the remote team goals you set and discuss any significant differences between the two figures with your workers. It’s also a good idea to ask for feedback from your team about how they perceive their own work and the work their fellow team members have completed over the last evaluation period. Remote workers may have insight into their fellow team members that you wouldn’t otherwise discover. 

Don’t forget to regularly review the goals you have set for your remote employees as well. These goals should change over time as the worker’s role grows or your company’s broader priorities shift.

Completing effective employee evaluations is just one of the challenges of managing a global team, but the right tools can make things easier. Oyster’s global employment platform helps you grow and manage a remote team across borders.

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, engage, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.

Oyster enables engagement anywhere in the world—with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks.

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