Clarifying expectations, setting goals and giving feedback

Expect a wide range of readiness for remote work among your team.  Some employees may be already overextended with worries about loved ones, dealing with children at home or coping with financial strain from the loss of a household income.  Others may need meaningful work to feel a sense of purpose and routine.  Be patient, flexible, and try to support each according to their needs.   The important thing is to focus on accountability for work outcomes rather than tasks or strict work schedules.  This will help build trust and provide flexibility to your team during this unprecedented time.

Here are some tips for setting goals and expectations remotely:

  • Review existing work plans and goals to determine what needs to be slowed, stopped, or can continue at pace.  Gather feedback from your team, when possible, so they can provide input about what might need to be adjusted in a remote environment.
  • Identify methods for communicating about work progress.  Be clear up-front about what information you want to be kept informed on, and discuss with employees ways to communicate that works for both you and them. Set regular check-ins.
  • Establish working norms so you and your team know when others are available.  Your team may need to work more flexible hours.  Focus on work outcomes rather than hours worked.  Determine a system for checking in as a team that maintains connection.
  • Be patient with your team; if an employee is struggling to work remotely, check in with them to see what they need.  Does the employee need more assistance from you?  Do they need coaching? Do you need to restate and clarify your expectations? If an employee is struggling to meet performance expectations, please connect with your Human Resources Consultant.  

Team plan for working remotely:  While most teams have managed to get up and running remotely in a very short period of time, you may want to document some team agreements so everyone on the team has the same information.  Here is a guide you can use and edit to suit your team’s needs.

Creating a culture of accountability: Here are some tips for creating a culture of accountability on virtual teams.

Setting goals: It will be important to reassess any goals that were previously established as part the Performance and Development Cycle.  The Setting Key Goals handout helps you to think about three different types of goals related to the job, the individual or to UVic.  If job related goal are not possible right now, try substituting some job-related goals or UVic engagement goals.