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Relationship-based employee management won't cut it in a WFH world

With employees working from home (WFH), now and post-pandemic, how you assess and manage their performance must change. Centrical's CEO, Gal Rimon explains why and how to manage employee performance in the WFH that lies ahead.

By: Gal Rimon, Founder & CEO, Centrical

Relationship-based employee management won't cut it in a WFH world

The days of employees demonstrating their value by coming in before the boss and leaving after she left are gone. COVID-19 made such things gone for good. In fact,, the International Labour Organization said 81% of the global workforce has been impacted by partial or complete lockdown measures related to the COVID19 pandemic.

In other words, your employees are working from home (WFH). And 60% will want to continue to perform their jobs there once this health crisis is in our rearview mirrors, according to Gallup. That means how you assess and manage their performance must change. If not, they – and your company – may not thrive in the work from home (WFH) world that lies ahead.

When employees were working in an office environment, many aspects of managing employees were relationship-based. Managers strove to be the business equivalent of Vince Lombardi, the legendary American football coach who could motivate mediocre players to excel through the sheer power of his personality.

Few managers are Lombardi-like in their power to align and motivate. Consider how most handle the annual or quarterly performance review process. They’re moments of awkward conversation, where matters that happened months ago can’t be clearly recalled by either the manager or the employee. All too often those assessments become exercises in subjectivity and do little to help the employee get to be a better performer who can help your business succeed.

Now that WFH is a broadly accepted business practice, you must move away from relationship-based employee management to one that centers on the performance data your team members generate. Ideally, that should be real-time performance data so it’s fresh in the minds of employees and they can act on it immediately.

To be clear, data-based employee management is not about some sort of Big Brother-type monitoring system. Quite the contrary. It’s about transparency. Where the manager and employee have equal access to the data.

It’s been suggested that employees working from home are their own CEOs, making unilateral decisions that impact the outcomes of their efforts. And that makes lots of sense. WFH employees can’t adhere to a strict 9 to 5 workday. They’re dealing with all sorts of distractions that never cropped up in the office. Like bath-time for the kids. They will get to their tasks when it works for them. You should care about how well they accomplish their assignments. Do they hit their goals? Are their efforts aligned with the team’s or company’s strategy? Are customers voicing satisfaction, either through surveys or sales? And do you have a way to track the engagement, learning and, to be sure, performance of your employees in a way that benefits all involved?

Those aren’t trick questions. With employees scattered across the town, the nation, even the world, you must realize that high-fiving an employee for a job well-done can’t be done. But with an employee performance management platform you can send her kudos and share your appreciation for those efforts with others on the team. In turn, peers can recognize peers, a powerful motivator for any team.

Along with kudos, there’s the data that’s directly related to performance. And it’s measurement well beyond things like number of calls or sales or positive feedback on customer surveys. It’s a 360-degree view of the employee. By drawing on multiple data streams within your enterprise, an employee performance management platform lets you get that full, objective picture of how employees are doing and what they need to do next to get to the next level.

That information is for employees to see and use to drive ahead. And that data can be drawn on by the manager to coach employees to get to the next level by closing knowledge gaps, get more engaged, and more. Even if they’re not at all like Vince Lombardi. Because the platform helps them be better coaches.

The ideal platform combines real-time performance management with personalized microlearning, to develop new or hone existing skills in the flow of work, and advanced gamification to boost engagement along with friendly competition among peers, between groups, and within the individual.

Imagine being able to urge your employees to get better tomorrow than they were today, and have the data to show their progress in real-time. You can with data-based employee performance management driven by a platform that holistically blends the crucial factors of engagement, training, and performance.

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