How do you track employee engagement in remote teams?

Pavlo Pedenko
15 replies
How do you know they are engaged? How do you know they are writing code for you instead of playing Fortnite? How do you prevent employee churn within remote team?


Founder & CEO, Hustle Crew
In our team we share weekly updates on what we've accomplished and what we are working on next. We have project docs that outline our milestones and timelines for getting things done. I hope that's helpful! We find it useful to focus on the results. Folks can be productive without devoting every waking second to work - individuals need autonomy to operate at their best since we are all different and operate well in different ways. I think churn could be prevented by ensuring there are feedback loops in place so individuals can express how they would like to develop, and be given an opportunity to do that.
Growth Manager @ Preply
@abadesi thanks for your input. Can you please share how feedback loop is implemted within Product Hunt? Do you use any special software for that? What HR stack do you use at the moment?
Founder of Devero maker builder designer
Hi @pavlo_pedenko. 1) Set up clear communication channels that allow you to be in touch with your team every day, through the day. Initiate conversation, like with asking if anyone needs info, help, share something, etc. With remote teams, it is hard to keep the engagement and conversation going. However, it is a must for your teammates to feel like they are part of the team. So, engage with them thorough the day as you would otherwise if you were sitting in the same building or room. 2) Use some git-based solution and repositories for code projects. Then, you will know anyone makes a commit, PR, review, etc. Along with that, assign everyone specific task to do/code with a clear deadline. Or, even better, create a backlog or something similar, and let everyone pick tasks they feel confident about. And, make this backlog open, i.e. anyone can add additional task/issues and anyone can pick from those new arrivals. This will give your teammates sense of autonomy. This, in turn will motivate them because they will know they are in control of their work. You can then use the commits, PRs, review, tasks on backlog, etc. to ensure your teammates are working. 3) Churn in the terms your employees decide to leave? Make them feel like they are part of the team, i.e. engage with them via friendly talk and chatting. Give them sense of ownership, and control, of their work. Ask them what task do they wan tot work on and, if suitable, let them get them done. Next, let them have a word in how they should get their jobs done. Also, encourage them give you their suggestion about the tasks, work, just anything. Most importantly, treat them like people, like adults. Get to know them beyond the work, on a personal level. Think about them as normal teammates, not just numbers on spread sheet or "human resource". Remember that they all are people, just like you. So, think about how would you want to be treated. Then, act accordingly. Next, ASK! If you are in doubt about anything, ASK THEM. If you think something seems to be wrong, talk with your people. Ask them if they want to talk about something (in private). If you don't know how to treat them, ask them. Ask them what style of work they prefer. Ask them what style of communication they like. If there is anything you want to know about your teammates, it is simple. Ask your teammates. Show that you care about them, you want to make their work the best you can. Then, ask, either in private one-on-one conversation or in a group chat. As @abadesi mentioned, implement feedback loops. Set aside some time in regular intervals (weekly or monthly) to talk with everyone, in private. During these sessions, ask them for their feedback on you, their work, motivation, satisfaction, what can you improve and just anything. Then, give them your feedback (politely). Let them know satisfied are you with their work, if there is something they can improve, start doing or stop doing. Finally, make sure to praise them for the work they've done. They may not admit it, but everyone wants to hear he or she did a good job. This is great for motivation. It shows you care. It shows you don't see them only as wheels in a machine. Just make sure to be specific when you prase them. Address specific tasks. Otherwise, it cause damage because it will look like you actually don't no what they did and you praise them just to make them feel valued. So, watch their tasks and progress and find something you can praise them for.
Growth Manager @ Preply
@abadesi @alexdevero thanks for sharing your insight. Besides git-based solutions, do you use any hr-tech to track what they are up to and run different surveys? Being honest, even considering that I'm not a developer myself, working with developers remotely is fairly simple: I can just see what they commit and track the lead time. But working with marketers, sales, support is not that easy. To reduce manual work to the minimum level, the only way I see is to set up a metric every team / person is responsible for, so I can track them and see if something is happening.
Founder of Devero maker builder designer
@abadesi @pavlo_pedenko I usually work with KPIs or OKRs, for sales, marketing, dev, support, etc.. These are reviewed on either weekly or monthly basis. When it comes to dev, I don't force time tracking. Time is not a good metric. Almost all devs have their one specific way of working, some code quickly and prototype often while others think a lot about the problem before they get to code. Also, if there is some issue, talking about time will not solve it. It only puts devs under more stress, which can often be counterproductive. So, for the majority of projects I usually set up sprints. One sprint is usually week. There is a backlog, tasks, deadlines and road map for every sprint. Everyone has tasks to get done and ship. The best metrics I found so far are finishing tasks and shipping. I don't really care if dev is working slowly or fast as long as he or she meets the deadlines.
Just to add to what my predecessors said (totaly agree with what they've said), couple technics you might want to try if you're not doing them already: - good code reviews - team members will see exactly what and how was done. Also helps with knowledge sharing, bus factor, communication, etc. - pair programming/working (this can be done in different configurations than just dev/dev) - just like code reviews but much better :). - monitoring team metrics - this is a very good starting point for discussion about teams performance and impediments (perhaps that Fortnite is being used as time killer when blocked) - weekly 1 to 1's with people - this has a lot of advantages but mostly gives you a place to talk to employees about what they are working on, what problems they are facing, and what they would like to accomplish. This will also make you build a relationship with the employee that will make giving feedback (good and bad) easier – everyone want’s feedback, not a lot of people give feedback ;). Try checking out Manager Tools for good advice on 121’s
Growth Manager @ Preply
@jakub_hubisz hey Jakub, thanks for sharing your insight. Sure thing: we can track all the Jira-metrics, but tracking marketing and/or sales people is a little bit more tricky. I even thought of building a tool that will analyze Slack messages and track what's up with a tone of voice / frequency / sentiment etc. What do you use to track your employees metrics now?
@pavlo_pedenko I work in a 3 founders environment, so unfortunately I don’t have that problem. I also don't have any experience with managing marketing or sales people, but I think it should be easy to assess their outcomes, and I guess that’s what you really care about. I think trying to establish some pair working sessions would be a nice experiment, and team building exercise. And I’m absolutely sure 121’s would help (yep, I’m a huge fan of 121’s), building a good relationship is crucial for communication both ways. I will also hear a lot about their work on 121’s, you just need to be careful not to turn this into reporting meeting – 121’s are mostly for employee. Also feedback is something everyone likes to get (ties into what Abedesi wrote about feedback), and you should be giving both positive and negative feedback (if you check out Manager Tools you will learn a lot about that). If you experiment with pair working with sales/marketing, I would be very interested in your experience 😊.
Problem solver
@jakub_hubisz Just wondering what do you mean by 121? What is it?
@howard_chang One to one meeting between manager and direct. It's scheduled to happen every week at the same time (regular cadence is very important). Google Manager Tools, you’ll get a wealth of information regarding 121’s ;).
We are using Microsoft Teams and the toptal tracking tool:
Growth Manager @ Preply
@flavio_ferreira thanks for sharing that! Are you satisfied with both?
@pavlo_pedenko Yes, it's working very good for us.
Speaking from CXP, but I think some things we do might apply. -We have weekly meetings all-team meetings -We have monthly AMA's with our leaders -In Slack, we say hello when starting the day and say goodbye when we leave -I read somewhere that "employees leave people, not companies". If an employee feels there is no strong connection with anyone at the company, it's easy to leave. They also need to feel valued. This means asking for their input FIRST. The boss should give their input last. -How do you know they're actually working? You can have weekly meetings where everyone goes around the table and talks about what they're working on that week. Someone should take meeting notes. The notes will show how they progress. -Create channels that are about things other than work: #movies, #food, #music Hope this helps
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