You have a library of employee-evaluation material for your in-house staff. But how do you review the performance of your telecommuting salespeople? Carolyn B. Thompson, president of Training Systems, a $280,000 provider of customized training and human-resources consulting in Frankfort, Ill., suggests these steps for designing your own evaluation system for telecommuters and field sales staff:
Draw up a list of reasonable expectations, benchmarks, and a tentative schedule of "check-in" times that you and the employee agree on.
With the help of those benchmarks--such as monthly sales reports--figure out whether the person has met expectations by comparing this year's stats with last year's.
Given this year's information, you and the employee should establish measurable goals for the coming year.
Finally, ask the employee to write an action plan for achieving those goals. The review system should be "ongoing and participatory," says Thompson.
When scheduling check-ins and reviews, consider how well-linked your telecommuters are to headquarters. In some cases, frequent interaction can mean less frequent reviews.