Kim Kaupe is a leader and manager of a high-performing team. She’s been on several prestigious lists, like the Forbes 30 under 30 and Inc 35 under 35 lists, and she’s even been on Shark Tank, the American TV show for entrepreneurs. Here, she sheds some light on managing performance in this virtual and blended environment.
(energetic music) - I think it's safe to say that we're in a transition period, but it seems like working from home is here to stay. And as a manager, you've likely had to adapt. Now, whether your team stays remote moving forward or goes into more of a hybrid model, or even goes back into the office, you might have some questions around managing employee performance in this new space. Hey, I'm Kelly Ruda with LinkedIn Learning, and today, Kim Kaupe is joining us. She is a manager and a leader of a high-performing team, plus she's been on several prestigious lists, like Forbes' 30 Under 30 and Inc.'s 30 Under 35. And she's even been on the American TV show for entrepreneurs called "Shark Tank." She's here to shed some light on managing performance in a virtual environment. Kim, welcome. - Thanks for having me! What a crazy world we're living in. - It certainly is. (laughs) So when we're talking about managing performance, we're looking at remote management, we're looking at hybrid teams that are both in and out of the office, and then some people are going to be going back to the office. What are kind of the differences that you see between those? - I think one of the main, obvious differences is that with in-person employees, I can physically see them. (laughs) I see when they're at their desk. I see when they're working, I see when they take a two-hour lunch break. Whereas remote employees, that sight is totally gone. I don't know when they go to lunch, and I don't know when they're at their desk. And so, managing each group is going to be a little more unique. So for the people that are in person, I'm able to manage them a little bit more with my eyes and kind of gauge, "Wow, that project took them a long time," or, "Wow, they finished that really quickly." With the remote employees, I'm really looking at how quickly they're getting the work done and how fast they're getting it back to me, not when they're doing it, and I think that's the key difference. 'Cause again, when they're in person, you can see them doing it, but at home, maybe that person's doing it at four in the morning, or at midnight. All I know is it's landing back on my desk at 6 a.m. So for me, it's really about what is the work like, and when is it getting done? - And do you think that's going to impact the current 40-hour work week or so that we see in America anyway? Or do you think, has that kind of changed your vision of how many hours people need to be working? Is it the productivity or the efficiency that's more important? - I think this new environment is actually providing us a great advantage when it comes to productivity. So I know for me and my team, we're a New York City-based company, and so, you don't realize, but in an average eight-hour Workday, you put a commute on this end, you put a commute on that end, maybe there's a couple of meetings in the middle that you're also commuting from, and every single one of those interruptions is really breaking down the focus and breaking down your productivity. Now, with these new systems where there's going to be less in-person meetings for those that are in the office, and obviously, for those that are working remotely, no in-person meetings, you're able to have these eight hours where you can hyperfocus and be super productive on the things that you're working on. So what we've seen is, actually, we're getting more work done, which sounds completely backwards, but we're actually getting more work done, even though we're not together. - Yeah, that's very interesting. And you had remote employees before all of this happened, and some people working in the office. Were you able to use that information that you had from the remote employee before, knowing was that person more efficient than what was happening in the office, or did anything around that shift for you? - I feel like we got really lucky, because my business partner Abby has worked from South Carolina for a number of years now. So I feel like we've been able to work out the kinks of how we're going to work remotely as a team. So when the rest of the team went remote because of this new working situation, we were able to take a lot of those learning lessons and transfer them over, which is huge. I think the only difference now is that again, each person is different, and that's the one thing you have to keep in mind as you're managing people remotely. You can't expect all humans to be the same. It's just not possible. So for instance, I work best in the morning. My big proposals, my deep thinking, that's getting done in the morning for me, whereas there are other people on my team that really start to hit their groove in the late afternoon, and they're more night owls. So I think it's really about catering to where is somebody's genius spot and how are you going to get the best work out of them, regardless of when that is or where that is. You really want the quality work, not necessarily dictating when or where that they're doing it. - And do you think that you're going to take that... Now that your whole team has been remote, so you've really learned these lessons, even more, reinforced them, do you think you're going to take that back to the office? And if so, what could something like that look like if it were someone that's, say, working from home and the office? - I think the one thing that we're going to bring back as we all start to transition back into this new normal is really using our listening skills. So we've all heard the saying, "You have two ears and one mouth," (laughs) and that's always been true, but now, more than ever, we're really going to have to listen. Listen to the people that we're managing, listen to our team in what is working well and what isn't working well. because while it's always important to listen, before, you could kind of get into a routine, and that was constant. With this new setup, with some people working in person, some people working remotely, some people doing a combination of the two, you're going to have to listen triple the amount that you were doing when everyone was in the office. So as leaders, it's really important that in this new landscape, we turn our listening skills up to a 10. - Listening is super important, like you said. Now, that also makes me think, are there other ways that you, as a manager, can support your employees when you're looking at remote versus in-office, and both of the two together? - I think as we look in a service-based program with leadership, you really need to lead from a place of service, from a place of helping others. And so some managers get in the bad habit of saying, "What do you need from me?" And with that, somebody's immediate answer is going to be, "I don't need anything. I got this under control." Again, this is your boss. This is the person who is going to promote you or going to give you a pay raise. You want to seem like you've got it all together, so you're not going to want to need anything from that person. Instead, managers should look not from "What do you need from me?" but "How can I help you? How can I be in service of you? What can I provide to you to help you and the team and all of us be our best selves?" And so I think that's going to be more important now, more than ever, really coming at it on a helping, service-based perspective for these managers. - Yeah, and is there something that you've done to shift in your team now that you're all working remotely that provides that extra level of help or service or support? - For us, it's really been important to not only be of service to each other, but to be in community. I think we all forget, as we're setting up these different areas, whether it's work from home or coming into the office, sometimes we don't have that same water cooler talk. We don't have that same, "Hey, how was the weekend?" and, "How was your kid's play?" You don't have that camaraderie as much anymore when everyone's on these different schedules. So what we've done that has been super important is Monday through Friday, we get on a video call every single day at the same time, whether that call lasts 15 minutes or a half-hour. It's a way to touch base face-to-face with the whole team. We can talk a little bit about what's going on in our lives or the day, and then we can talk about our goals for the week, or for that specific season, of what we're looking to accomplish. And that little bit of consistency every day, no matter where employees are, what time zone they're in, it helps put all of us on the same page, which again, ends up aiding in the productivity and the focus for the team for the whole week. - Yep, that makes complete sense. And how is this affecting performance review or reviewing your employees' performance? Are you doing it during those daily 10 a.m. meetings, or are you doing separate meetings? Are you thinking of doing an annual review? - For us, checking in about performance is really a constant focus. And I think as leaders where we might have, in the old days or previously, thought about it as it happens once a year, or it happens once a quarter, with all of these new variables, we need to be checking in now, more than ever, checking in with those employees, checking in with those teams, and again, checking in from a service-based mindset of how you're going to continue to help and how you're going to continue to lift everyone up. So whether that's one-on-one check-ins or, again, group check-ins, like the daily video call, it's important that you realize that this needs to be a constant, because the more variables that are thrown in, the more checking in that you need to be doing. - Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense. Well, Kim, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your perspective on this. - Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited about this new world that we're diving into. - Now, if you want to keep in touch with Kim, you can join her at 1 p.m. Eastern every Wednesday on LinkedIn Live for a show called "Coffee with Kim," where she shares business tips and other hacks to really help you succeed in your career. And while you're there, connect with her. You can also check out our courses right here on LinkedIn Learning. And thank you for joining us today as we considered productivity and how to manage employee performance in this new era of work.
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