5 Reasons Why Social Performance Is Ideal for the Virtual Workforce

Did you know that more than a third of Americans work from home?

It’s fact. According to the American Time Use Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 36 percent of employed people age 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree or higher did some work from home.

Now that so many employees are clocking in from their own homes, the neighborhood Starbucks, and even the local park, it’s become abundantly clear that the HR world needs to make room for this “alternative” workplace.

Why is this so different?

5 reasons why social performance works

Apart from the fact that virtual workplaces go beyond cubicles, borders, and time zones, the employees themselves are inherently different. Virtual employees typically are more independent and self-starting, they can do without high levels of group interaction, and they can operate without you, the manager, peering over their shoulder as they work.

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There we have it: the virtual workplace and its employees are different. When it comes to performance management, how can one manage in the virtual workplace?

In my humble opinion, social performance can complement the virtual workforce’s core values and principles. I’ve discovered five main reasons why.

  1. They love continuous feedback. On-site or online, employees want feedback. They want to know if what they’re doing is “right,” otherwise it’s a waste of time all around. However, where annual performance reviews have fallen short for the conventional workplace, they fall twice as fast in the virtual sector because support is all but nonexistent. Social performance is a solid solution because it allows management to provide continuous feedback and coaching.
  2. Communication is apple-to-apples. If everyone is virtual, why continue with offline management strategies? Instead of translating on-site to virtual, virtual : virtual allows for a more efficient feedback system because everyone is speaking the same language. The virtual workplace already employs social media tools in projects, collaboration, and the like. As a manager, you can rest assured that your staff already has a certain level of proficiency on day one.
  3. Insert collaboration. It may sound contradictory, but independent, virtual employees can work collaboratively. The key component to keep in mind is that it’s not a lack of skill, but a lack of venue. Virtual employees need tools tailored to them in order to collaborate appropriately.
  4. HR can finally connect. It’s the tale as old as time: Human Resources is out of touch with employees. In the virtual workplace, this unfortunate fact is multiplied tenfold. With social performance, HR can record, review, and engage with employees, not swoop down in an annual attack.
  5. Welcome to the future. Like it or not, we are at the very beginning of a performance management revolution. Social performance has been happening and it’s only gaining momentum where traditional performance management can’t keep up. Despite their differences, you can expect to see massive transitions in the way work gets done in the virtual workplace and its on-site counterpart.

What do you think? Do you agree that social performance is ideal for the virtual workforce? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Morgan Norman is the Founder and CEO of Work Simple, putting an end to performance reviews by providing a better way for coworkers and teams to share goals, work together, get and give feedback, and make each other shine. Connect with him and WorkSimple on Twitter at Twitter.com/worksimple.

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2 Comments on “5 Reasons Why Social Performance Is Ideal for the Virtual Workforce

  1. Good points raised. The sooner there is a system that compensates for lack of venue, and that is in support of a dynamic virtual workforce, the better. Now, if I can only keep the dog from barking during customer calls I’ll be all set.

  2. Morgan, I most certainly agree that social performance is the way things are going, perhaps for everyone in the workforce and not only those who work virtually!
    If I may, I’d like to share a great web-based tool for performance management that is particularly relevant to the first point you bring up about continuous feedback, as well as your 4th point. The tool is called Engage: http://engage.calibreapps.com/tourRypple is another one that is popular for online, social performance management.Great post!

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