9-5 jobs can get monotonous. With distributed and remote work, teams are uniquely positioned in a way that lets them break up this monotony and see their job in a different light. And with this freedom to work when we please, goal-setting brings us back together — adding value milestones, improving communication, and establishing a connected purpose.
Very few companies communicate goals effectively. The majority of employees, 57%, report not receiving clear directions in the first place. Remote work often requires an emphasis on specific and descriptive communication, something that cannot be met with a mountain of video calls to replace in-person check-ins. Successful distributed teams rely on transparency set up by clear processes that grow with their organization. One of the most important processes a remote, hybrid, or distributed company can invest in is goal-setting, and how to encourage communication around goals.
Remote workplaces are outcome-based
In a remote workplace, you’re no longer paying your team members to show up — you’re paying them for the work they do. We’ve become a knowledge economy, where actual results are more impactful than time.
When working toward specific outcomes, setting goals can drastically improve performance. According to a Harvard MBA study, the 13% of the student body that had set goals earned twice as much ten years later than the 84% of the class who had no goals at all.
Goals are also a better metric of success than hours logged because they provide results. Simply showing up doesn’t dictate success or productivity, as our previous working norms had set us up to believe.
Make expectations clear
86% of employees and executives cite a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as workplace failures, and only half of employees strongly indicate they know what’s expected of them at work.
Muddling through communication barriers has become commonplace in virtual work. For a while, this was referred to as “work about work” in the business sphere. Just a few months later, the language has already gotten tired.
Communication failures are often compensated for by micromanaging, which is impossible when managing distributed teams. Instead of compensating for failed communication, distributed teams need goals to clarify expectations and proactively keep their team members on track.
Goals align teammates for optimal collaboration
All teams need an end goal for effective collaboration, but strategic goal setting is especially vital for distributed teams that can’t feed off the motivation that comes from working alongside teammates in an office space.
Your team members probably have a loose idea of how their work fits into the team’s overall purpose, but setting intentional goals with your teammates will help them reach their full potential by providing clarity. They’ll understand the importance of their work, as well as the extent of what they’re expected to accomplish.
You’ll reach optimal collaboration when your whole team knows what they’re expected to do and can access their goals and track progress easily. Alignment is crucial to achieving outcomes for a task or project. 97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment impedes the outcome of a task or project.
By keeping everyone aware and on track, setting goals will speed up your teamwork.
Your feedback has value
When you set goals, you’re able to track each employee’s progress and provide feedback. If you want your team to know where they stand, providing intentional feedback should be prioritized within your distributed team’s best practices.
Feedback is vital to a productive distributed team. A team member doing their job well can fly completely under the radar as long as they don’t encounter any hiccups. You might think this is fine as long as they’re doing their job well. The truth is, it can result in disengagement and attrition.
An engaged workforce can result in 202% higher cumulative performance. To keep your top team members engaged and at their best, it’s your job to recognize and reward their hard work.
Goals result in clear, measurable expectations, making feedback much more black and white. You’re able to easily see if your employees are reaching their goals or not. You can congratulate them when they reach milestones or question how you can provide assistance when you see a delay in progress.
Ready to set goals for your distributed teams?
Now that you know how important discoverable goals are for distributed teams, here are some tips for implementing them.
Try these goal-setting strategies:
- Objectives and key results (OKRs)
- SMART Goals
You can streamline your goal-setting by using a work hub to make goals accessible company-wide and connecting them to your team’s everyday tasks and tools.