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Performance Reviews for Teleworkers

This study examines the overarching question of how managers rate employees who telework and the implications for job performance assessment. Findings are provided in the full report in relation to three themes: (a) key elements of results-oriented job performance for teleworkers, (b) factors that influence the job performance of teleworkers with respect to productivity and effectiveness, and (c) the need to institute clear teleworking policies.

Results-oriented job performance measures play a central role in telework job assessment.

Results-oriented job performance is a management approach used to attain "measurable progress toward outcome-related goals" (Wholey, 2003, p. 42). It establishes trust by integrating managers and employees to mutually set and agree upon clear goals and strategies that refer back to results and joint decision-making. A results-oriented system employs both managers and employees to contribute, problem-solve, and work together in activities that are necessary to achieve a quality outcome (Deadrick and Gardner, 1999).

Staples (2001) suggests that managers must shift from traditional job assessments towards results-oriented assessments that include a "focus on what you contributed today, not whether or not you were at your desk" (p. 189). Along with the shift in process is also a change in paradigm toward the development of trust and minimal supervision expectations. By involving employees in the process, there is opportunity to identify and address a broad range of factors that constrain and enhance job performance for teleworkers. Four key elements of a results-oriented job performance review system are described in the figure below.

Key Elements of Results-oriented Performance Reviews
Element #1
Establish agreement on goals and objectives.
Building key objectives to be accomplished in a job requires identifying intended outcomes, establishing goals, and identifying factors that could affect achievement of the goals. The process requires a partnership between the teleworking employee and the supervisor.
Element #2
Employ collaborative decision-making strategies and tools.
Strategies should involve functional teams, since complexity in the workplace requires input from a collection of people. The use of technology (e.g., email and video conferencing) may make decision-making more inclusive for teleworkers and empower employees by opening the lines of communication.
Element #3
Monitor and evaluate results.
Types of measurement systems include comparisons of outputs to outcomes from performance targets, manager and peer reviews (360 degree), and validating performance data. Results evaluations should tie to vital and key responsibilities and include timely data. Accountability is essential.
Element #4
Create a culture of trust and empowerment.
An environment where employees are measured by results rather than by attendance relies on a culture of trust from both managers and peers of teleworkers. The influence of the organizational culture may affect individual job performance positively or negatively.

Figure 1—Key Elements of Results-oriented Performance Reviews

References

  • Barrett, J., & Turtz, D. (1998). Computer focused communication: changes and challenges for the contemporary organization. Telematics and Informatics, 15(4), 275-304. doi: 10.1016/S0736-5853(99)00003-9.
  • Baruch, Y. (2000). Teleworking: Benefits and pitfalls as perceived by professionals and managers. Work, 34-49.
  • Deadrick, D. & Gardner, D. (1999). Performance distributions: Measuring employee performance using total quality management principles. Journal of Quality Management, 4(2), 225-242.
  • Staples, D. S. (2001). Making remote workers effective. Safety And Health, 186-212.
  • Wholey, J. S. (2003). Improving performance and accountability: Responding to emerging management challenges. In I. D. Stewart & M. Scriven (Eds.), Evaluating social programs and problems: Visions for the new millennium. Mahwah, NJ: Taylor and Francis eLibrary
AIM alumna Allison Davis

Research Paper Author: Allison Davis, sr. business analyst/project manager, Intel Corporation—2011 AIM Graduate.

Abstract: The study provides a set of factors that pertain to the essential requirements that employees and managers working in large multinational corporations must consider for job performance assessments of teleworkers. This review identifies the use of a goal-oriented system and technization that create trust relationships and empower employees to achieve a quality outcome. These elements consider the benefits and drawbacks of relevant social and technology factors that influence productivity and effectiveness for results-oriented job assessments.

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