Measuring Goals in Today's Remote and Distributed Work Environments.
Let me ask you this: would you rather pay for "service hours" or for achieving a specific goal? If you are an employer, would you rather pay for an employee's output and effectiveness or for the time they are sitting in a chair in your office?
I'm going to wager that most people would rather pay for results and effectiveness instead of time. So, why is the subject of remote work still so controversial?
Could it be because many business are unsure of how to focus on the end result they produce - and how to measure it in a meaningful way?
Think of it like this - do you buy a drill because you like having tools in your garage, or because you need a hole? Too many businesses focus on the drill, when what they should be selling is the hole.
Our long-time Clients know that at Diaz & Cooper, we focus on meaningful results. What some may not know is that we are so committed to this approach that we became the first advertising agency in the US to become certified as a ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment) back in 2012.
At the time, our agency principals were looking for a way to boost productivity, align goals with our Clients and increase job satisfaction for our employees. After researching several "work culture" and productivity workshops we came to the radical (at the time) conclusion that ROWE was the answer.
Here's a video from back in 2015, explaining why we chose to become ROWE - the philosophy behind it still relevant today.
What is ROWE?
Results-Only Work Environment is the brainchild of Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson. ROWE is a management strategy where employees are evaluated on performance, not presence. Ressler and Thompson formed a consulting firm, CultureRx, to help employers like Diaz & Cooper transition to ROWE.
With ROWE, people focus on results and only results.
Forget flex time. In a ROWE, employees get to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done. It may sound crazy, but ROWE has a proven track record of success.
The Evolution of Remote Work
Back in 2012, around 24% of employees were spending 40-80% or more of their time working remotely, by 2016 about 43% of US workers were working remotely at least some of the time.
Nowadays, remote or flexible work is actually seen as the norm. In fact, a study conducted in 2019 by FlexJobs shows that 74% of respondents believe that flexible working has become the “new normal” and 80% of U.S. workers say they would turn down a job that didn’t offer flexible working. The middle market is onboard: a 2018 survey by Indeed found that 67% of middle-size companies have instituted a flexible working policy.
Increased job satisfaction and employee morale are commonly cited benefits of adopting a flexible work environment - especially from workers lobbying the higher-ups to adopt the change.
But the fact is there are compelling business reasons to make the move to remote - including increased productivity, higher quality work, a bigger, better more diversified talent pool, reduced real estate footprint and improved ability to conduct business across multiple time zones.
In their best-selling business book – Remote – Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, co-founders of 37Signals (makers of Basecamp) debunk some long-standing myths about in-office work showing that work rarely happens at the office, that meetings and managers kill productivity and working from home actually boosts the quality of the work. (it's not true that the "magic" only happens when employees are all together.) They famously went head-to-head with Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, arguing that she made a big mistake when she announced in 2013 that that employees no longer would be permitted to work from home.
The fact is that creative work, knowledge-based work that is meaningful requires focused sprints of uninterrupted time.
Unfortunately, in the modern workplace – rife with open plans and collaborative spaces – those long stretches of time just can't happen. Instead, it's just one interruption after another. That's a huge drain on productivity when you factor in that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return focus to the original task after an interruption. (University of California, Irvine, 2013)
HubSpot, winner of Glassdoor's #1 Best Place to Work in 2020, boasts over 200 full-time fully-remote jobs worldwide citing that they've "always believed that results matter more than when or where they're produced." As gold-certified agency partners, we completely agree.
We also think it's time to define what "results" mean and provide concrete KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) both for employee evaluation and for expected results of Client work.
In the book "Why Managing Sucks - And How to Fix It" - we cited several ways for aligning employees with their position expectations and holding them accountable for results. These include:
- Deadlines met
- Projects adhering to expected standards
- Client acceptance rate of projects
- Number of mistakes/revisions
- Project adhering to allotted budget
- Profitability rates per department
- # Client Referrals and Net Promoter score
- Performance against Position KPIs
Equally important to setting performance standards for Client work is setting goals
for the results of that work - that both Client and Agency can agree to achieving. Many have heard about SMART goals, but few use them effectively for marketing. In fact, successful marketing teams that always hit their numbers use SMART goals.
SMART goals for marketing are concrete and measurable targets that are relevant to your business (your bottom line) which you strive to achieve over a determined period of time. Each letter in the "SMART" acronym stands for a characteristic the goal should have: "specific," "measurable," "attainable," "relevant," and "time-bound" to ensure the goal can be reached and benefits the business.
Having KPIs for employee positions and using SMART goals for Client work will give you a clear outlook on expectations and set the stage for successful outcomes. The remote model aligns better with Client goals because you focus on your output and the results produces instead of counting hours.
To learn additional tips you can book a FREE 20-Minute Consultation with our Team to help you understand how to use SMART in your marketing.
Diaz & Cooper is a growth agency specializing in sale-driven digital strategies for the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Our mission is to transform websites into top salespeople, generating leads and online bookings 24/7.
Sources and Resources
- Get ROWE certified: www.gorowe.com
- Gallup – https://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/206033/america-coming-workplace-home-alone.aspx
- FlexJobs – https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/remote-work-statistics/
- Book: Remote – https://basecamp.com/books/remote
- University of California, Irvine – https://www.inc.com/nicholas-mcgill/it-takes-23-minutes-to-recover-from-a-distraction-at-work-heres-how-to-minimize-.html
- Stanford Work from Home Productivity Study – https://qz.com/1627980/remote-work-can-boost-productivity-if-you-have-the-right-tools/
- Book: Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix It
- Remote Work in the "New Norm" – Playbook from Toptal
- The 5 elements of a SMART business goal – Article from Bizee
- Remote Work Guide for Business - Article and Guide
- How to Set up Professional Backgrounds for Video Calls - Article from Rooms-to-Go
- Remote Work and Mental Wellbeing Guide – Article from Ezra