Keeping Remote Employees Accountable with Time & Attendance
1. Communicating with Remote Employees
Keeping connected in the remote employee environment is both critical and challenging. A best practice is to hold weekly "rally calls" that are built around the team's objectives to reinforce their priorities, ensure that wins are recognized and propagated across the teams, and recognize any improvements that can be quickly addressed and rectified. Additionally, team managers (district, regional, territory) should hold regular 1:1s with their team members to ensure both quality assurance and developmental coaching, supporting the quality of execution of the program.
There are effective team collaboration tools that improve communications, including the team's in-store, management, and the client (if desired), to share information, post pictures and enable immediate findings to be surfaced.
2. Examples of Ongoing Communications with Field Teams
Communication and connection with remote teams is critical. The goal is finding the right balance of information and leveraging the right vehicles to ensure effective communication. Establish an online communication "Hub" where all program specific information and documents would be housed like weekly directives, best practices, and other program related updates or news.
Typical ongoing communication would consist of the following components:
Weekly "Win the Week" rally call – high energy call within each market to motivate team for sales success each week using best practice sharing, wins in market, and other motivational content in order to rally the team to win the week.
Quarterly all team call to review program sales success, and product, messaging and strategy updates and ‘news you can use’
3. Building Employee Engagement
Retaining talent is incredibly important for performance, learning and financial reasons. The following best practices represent an integrated approach to engaging talent and optimizing their positive impact.
Coach Up, Not Down
Whether it’s a manager or field trainer, look at performance management through a coaching-lens to help every member of your team reach their full potential through a tailored approach that builds off their strengths.
Utilize community building tools as a way for to stay connected and share successes or best practices across the country. Executive leadership and managers can also comment on great performance they see posted. Doing so builds stronger unity across the program and brings greater visibility to the ‘wins’ happening in the field each day.
Empowering Thought-Leadership & Innovation from the Field
Take advantage of the passion and expertise of the field team, when they innovate amazing solutions or bring great ideas to the table, listen and act on good ideas.
Recognizing Exceptional Performance
It feels good to be recognized by your leaders for your hard work, right? There are creative opportunities to recognize individuals for exceptional performance on national program calls and company newsletters and other public communications forums.
Coach in the moment, and provide regular feedback on a week in, week out basis. Operate against established clear KPIs, and conduct regular monthly reviews and quarterly planning sessions to ensure they are getting the support they need and the development they deserve.
Competitive compensation, benefits package, and bonus structure.
Managers and field trainers provide the greatest value to their teams when they are in the field with them, so everyone in the field can expect to see their manager and/or field trainer at least once per quarter depending on the size of the team. This is their dedicated time to shine as well as seek feedback and coaching.
Professional Development & Path for Advancement
Be on the look out for the next wave of future leaders and want to ensure they receive the coaching and guidance needed to succeed at the next level. This includes mentorship programs and professional development opportunities.
One of the most common complaints of remote teams is visibility. There are a number of effective tools and resources for management and line-level employees to see their operations, KPIs and sales performance in an easy to use view that keeps everyone informed of team and individual goals. This enables the team to keep abreast of their performance and start all development conversations with critical information at their fingertips.
4. Monitoring an Employee's Urgent Projects
Oftentimes, there are urgent communications needs, such as a change in inventory, scheduling or location, that make it critical to close the loop on both the communication and the assurance that the assignment was executed properly.
Software platforms should have built-in alerts that distribute messages and materials to all users, or can be targeted at specific people/markets, recording the date & time at which those messages/materials are accessed. This enables you to see who did and did not open messages and follow up accordingly. These messages are also driven by “active” time periods, so messages can be pre-planned and also set to expire when no longer relevant.
If deadlines are missed, managers will receive exception reports that enables immediate follow up. This includes monitoring of all direction, including market sensing, audit requests, scheduling execution and training tasks.
5. Sharing Best Practices in the Workplace
Given the evolving workforce and how employees communicate, real time communication and social interaction further binds remote teams. To facilitate and drive a culture of teamwork, support and celebration, you can leverage a number of integrated real-time, social media enabled tools like GroupMe, MeWe, and Yammer to drive engagement and best practices sharing across teams, enabling an interactive environment for teams to engage, share information and encourage one another. The client can also actively participate in these social networks to drive further cohesiveness and engagement.
A common “best practice” is to establish regular recognition and tracking of the most sustainable, business impacting approaches. This facilitates sharing across markets and turning best practices into common practices.
6. Managing Sales Performance
Sales performance for any investment is critical. Actual retail sell-through data is ideal when available, however, proxies can be defined and agreed to track team sales performance. All sales incentive programs start with visibility. Business partners identify sales goals and set up dashboards that enable you, team managers and individuals to see where they are tracking against goals.
Best practice suggests weekly team calls place the team's focus on particular SKUs and/or categories to keep the team laser focused on desired outcomes and work collaboratively to share best practices.
Incentives are deployed in a variety of ways, depending on the goal of the client and budget allocated to the effort.
Approaches include but are not limited to:
Individual payouts based on personal performance
Commission payouts for each qualified sale
Team rewards (special events, particularly at regional level)
Entry based rewards (e.g. earn tickets to enter drawings)
Budget allocation for "ideas that spread" to take in market success and amplify it
7. Developing an Incentive Program
Multi-layered incentive programs will continue to optimize the team’s performance and program KPIs.
Reward for Extraordinary Efforts
Develop timely incentive programs that encourage off-the-chart performance
Don't Let Them Strike Out Early
Create opportunities to allow every team member to earn an incentive
Prepare the team
Clearly communicate program goals and expected performance so that everyone is committed to the KPIs
Announce Results with Flair
Make certain all team members get the message that “superior performance pays dividends!”
Be Consistent, Uncomplicated
Keep incentive programs simple and easy-to-understand
Post Standings Frequently
Ensure team members know where they stand in the competition
Create Specific Objectives
Make incentive program KPIs specific and measurable coaching methodology focuses on the ‘more is more’ approach, that is to say, the more opportunities to learn and grow, and the more ways you can deliver content will result in more engagement, and more results!
A recommended approach to incentives would be a mix of operational, execution, and sales incentives to drive desired performance and sales results consisting of the following components
Quarterly incentive based on operational compliance and sales goal attainment
Operational compliance – comprised of KPIs such as report accuracy and timeliness, time in store audit compliance, real time call reporting
Sales attainment to be based on sales metrics mutually agreed between you and provider. Align with your internal sales goals
Sales incentive only becomes available if the operational compliance is met or exceeded
Geo-Fencing and Photo Submission
An individual's incentive payout is doubled upon the 12 month anniversary date of employment to promote longevity
Other incentive metrics that drive sales and advocacy in store can be considered: non-contracted displays placed in store, rate of recommendation levels in store, new product planogram compliance, RSA survey scores.
Similarly, manager incentives are mostly tied to the team's success in sales and operational excellence and may reflect the following components
Sales attainment across market