Remote work is not a new concept at all. It has been around ever since high-speed internet connections became widespread. And many organizations that range from startups to multinational corporations have been using it in one form or another.
So what has changed?
For the most part, remote work used to be optional. Not anymore. Remote work is now the norm rather than the exception.
For instance, 1 in 2 people does not plan to return to jobs without remote work options. And 1 in 4 are willing to take a 10% pay cut as long as they can continue to work remotely.
For most businesses that are further down the road, this isn’t a big deal. If they made it this far, they already have all the systems in place. But for startups who need to collaborate, must run a tighter operation, and need to scale? What can they do? This scenario is where building a culture of accountability around the team comes in.
Here are five ways in which your startup can maintain accountability while managing your remote team.
1. Set Clear Expectations
Setting clear expectations is the cornerstone of making sure that everyone in your team remains accountable.
Put differently, if you haven’t communicated your team members’ expectations, it makes accountability difficult. This lack of communication causes a scenario where your team member is working hard, but due to the miscommunications in expectations, it doesn’t deliver what you need.
Here are three key elements of setting clear expectations.
- Have a reference document: since you’ll be working remotely, you won’t have the opportunity to check in with your new team member. So having a document that they can reference to make sure they are on track is a valuable tool. Make sure that this document is updated frequently and written in a clear, concise manner.
- Set up regular quick check-in meetings: One of the challenges of remote work is that short conversations can’t take place, and team members end up assuming or guessing. Setting up short 10-15 minutes check-in meetings is a great way to ensure that these conversations don’t fall through the cracks.
- Use a project management tool: tools like Asana, Notion, etc., have become essential to completing tasks. Explore which option works best for you and clarify that using the tools is mandatory for your team members.
2. Strong Communication, Limited Channels
One of the biggest challenges that remote teams have is being able to communicate effectively. However, communication in itself isn’t the problem since sending messages is relatively straightforward nowadays.
The challenge is keeping it practical.
Due to the overabundance of channels, teams come across situations where key messages and instructions fall through the cracks (aka lost); unavailable for later reference. The only thing worse than digging through a 20-message-long email chain is digging through hundreds of Slack messages, looking for the task at hand.
- Keep your communication focused: The biggest hindrance to effective communication is overdoing it. If you have too many messages sent to everyone, then the odds of the critical dispatches getting lost are increased.
- Limit your communications frequency: sending out too many emails, slack messages, or Asana reminders is the best way to keep your team glued to whichever platform you’re messaging them in and away from their work.. Instead, be strategic and make sure your team has periods where it can work without interruptions.
- Don’t have conversations over email: everyone can agree that having a conversation over email is ineffective. The same thing can happen with every other channel you have available. Make sure your whole team knows the guidelines to use every medium available.
3. Track the Right Metrics
The purpose of tracking meaningful metrics for accountability is to ensure your team members have the necessary information to make decisions.
Accountability is the opposite of micromanagement; for this reason, making sure your team has access and understands the reason behind each metric is critical to having a solid and effective remote team structure.
- Break down goals into meaningful metrics: doing this makes it easier for your team members to gauge the impact of their work in the big picture.
- Have goals and metrics for each startup area: you can track sales metrics, hiring metrics, and marketing, for instance.
- Educate everyone on the metrics collected: everyone must know how each metric is measured. When reduced to just numbers or charts, metrics stop being meaningful.
4. Hold Your Team Accountable
Traditionally, holding your team accountable would be akin to punishment or penalty. Instead, keeping your team accountable is a conversation where everyone can share perspectives on reaching the agreed-upon goals.
Here are three tips to make sure your accountability conversations end up in meaningful actions.
- Keep detailed documentation: create documents to go back and use to reference what you agreed upon and any findings.
- Track the effectiveness of your action plans: if you found a change to your deliverables necessary, make sure you track how well everything worked or didn’t work.
- Create a feedback loop: the main idea behind keeping your team accountable is that it’s an effective way to collaborate in a remote setting. For this reason, creating a feedback loop is critical to make sure that everyone keeps making progress.
5. Get sound analytical help.
One of the challenges every startup faces is that they have limited bandwidth. Resources are limited, and you need to make sure that you keep your startup moving in the right direction. Said differently, you need to make sure that you keep your business moving instead of just keeping it running.
For this reason, getting the right outside help to maintain the efficiency of your operation when moving to a remote model can be a gamechanger. Founder’s CPA knows startups, and because of this, they can work with you to find the best way to support your small team.
Set up a call with one of our experts to explore how to help you reach your goals more quickly.