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I am a manager of a program that has a minimal oversight style of management due to employees starting their work day out in the community. While they have to complete documentation (which I check weekly) and timesheets, it does not provide me with real evidence/knowledge of the actual work completed with the client.

What tools should I use to make sure the quality and quantity of work is up-to-par?

  • depends on the job, I get everything signed off by clients as part of their billing and I follow up every so often as customer relations. – Kilisi Aug 18 '16 at 3:09
  • @Kilisi that sounds like an answer ;) – Erik Aug 18 '16 at 5:39
  • @Erik it works for specific services but unrealistic for others so just a comment unless the OP gives more info. – Kilisi Aug 18 '16 at 6:59
  • Couldn't it be as simple as associating dollar value to a task? Ex if they are a gardener, did the place they do the job at return for more services? – Dan Aug 18 '16 at 15:06
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Client Feedback

If available, this gives you some of the thoughts from the most important people in your business cycle, your customers.

On-site Observation

You can also try audit sessions where you take a day to go with an employee while they work. Your presence may bias the worker's behavior, but some things like the worker's temperament and demeanor would be harder to hide especially in situations of distress (by this I do not mean undue artificial hardship, but more the regular stresses of the job and intensities of normal business peaks). This method has the additional benefit of exposing you as the supervisor to the work load and challenges the employee is dealing with on the job.

Pose as Customer

Either you or an agent you retain can pose as a customer and evaluate the employee's behavior, perhaps without the behavioral modifications he or she might apply under known observation.

Peer Feedback

Some might suggest interviews with the employee's peers, but my experience has been that this doesn't always work as well because relationships and office politics can skew the responses. This method also asks people to become evaluators, and that may not be their strength. The formality of a peer interview can also cause some interviewees to be guarded. But informal discussion with peers can usually provide some useful information about the evaluated (is he liked, is she pleasant to deal with, is he a team player, what kinds of work does she seem to like best).

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The best way would be to contact the client and ask them if they are happy with the work delivered. At the end of the day, that's the only true measure of an accomplished worker; happy clients.

If you're worried about quality of the work, it might help to check up on clients after a few months (or another period; depending on the nature of the work) to make sure they are still happy with it.

Keep in mind though that you need to know enough about the client to be able to tell for which ones a begrudging "meh" means they are super happy and for which ones an "oh yes, he did a great job" means they don't like the result.

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You haven't stated what type of work these employees perform for your clients, but it sounds like they provide some form of service in the field.

When it comes to team performance assessment, it definitely helps to use some of the methods highlighted by others, including routine customer surveys, random (unannounced) field checks, 360 feedback, and self-assessments. But I would go further and try to establish performance metrics that you score on a regular basis (i.e., once a month). An example of such a metric is # client cases resolved in a month.

You can use the metrics to evaluate the performance of both the larger team and individual team members, and compare performance of team members against each other. The right mix of metrics should allow you to identify top and low performers, your team's strengths and weaknesses, and identify problem areas that you need to address quickly. Good metrics usually follow what people refer to as the SMART criteria: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Other examples that may apply to your case:

  • Number of client visits in a month
  • Time to resolution or handle time
  • Number of client cases that remain open (backlog)
  • First response time

Just try to come up with metrics that matter to your business and clients, make sure to score them on a regular basis, and take corrective actions to address problem areas or weaknesses as necessary.

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