Managing direct reports in an all-remote environment comes with some unique challenges.
Our asynchronous workflows and distributed nature require intentional management. Managers cannot rely on incidental encounters with reports at the water cooler, and managers and reports must have regularly scheduled check-ins and clear paths for communication.
Managers should have regularly scheduled meetings with each direct report. The meetings should be set at a frequency that both find most useful (and at least monthly at a minimum). These meetings are times for open feedback - in both directions - as well as anything that is on the manager’s or direct report’s mind.
Skip one-on-ones, or meetings between a manager and a direct report’s direct report (you and your boss’ boss) are also required on a semi-annual basis as they may facilitate more open lines of communication and an opportunity for honest feedback. Employees are encouraged, though not required, to voice any recognition, support or concerns regarding peers or managers at these skip one-on-ones. If you manage direct reports, part of your review may include your direct reports’ feedback in these skip one-on-ones.
Our 365 Feedback program is an opportunity to invest the time and energy necessary to help each of our team members grow and succeed. Twice each calendar year, each employee will receive feedback from their manager based on the extent to which they embody the company values, including both areas of strength and opportunities for growth. In advance of these meetings, the manager must complete Parallel’s 365 Feedback form, a copy of which will be sent to the direct report no later than the day prior to the meeting and a copy of which will be saved down in the employee’s personnel file
Managers should be focused on outcomes, not hours worked. Employees should be evaluated based on what they accomplish overall, not on how long it took to do it. In short we care about what you achieve: the code you shipped, the user you made happy, and the team member you helped. Someone who took the afternoon off shouldn’t feel like they did something wrong as long as they are performing at their best. You don’t have to defend how you spend your day, but you will be held accountable for your output. We trust team members to do the right thing instead of having rigid rules. No one will be rewarded just for putting in a lot of hours, and we discourage people from using “how many hours they spent working” as a badge of honor or as a defense for a lack of output.
When your direct report, manager, or peer does something great, make sure they get recognition. People must know their work is valued; in a remote first environment, it can be harder to make sure people know this. Extra, explicit effort to recognize achievement is warranted.