In today’s workplace it’s not unusual to employ remote staff. The question is how do you keep them engaged and focused? Finding a motivated employee who is truly self-directed can be challenging. This means that managers play a key role in getting the most from their remote staff. Here are some tips for managing remote employees effectively.
Tip #1 – Build Rapport
Make time to talk about things other than work. It can be tempting to get on a call and just focus on the priorities, but you need to build rapport with every member of your team. This step is fundamental in creating trust and lays the foundation for an honest exchange of feedback.
Tip #2 – Establish Expectations
Set clear expectations. Do this in writing, and also through regular phone calls, video conferences or face-to-face. Remote workers may feel uneasy if they have a lack of direction or regular communication, so position them for success by explaining what needs to be accomplished.
Tip #3 – Equip Completely
According to a Gallup Study remote employees are “27% more likely than non-remote employees to strongly agree they have the materials and equipment they need to do their work right.” When a remote employee is first hired, send them a box of materials that they need to equip their home office including all hardware and software. Follow up with a phone call to ensure that they have everything they need.
Tip #4 – Schedule Feedback Meetings
Schedule regular one-on-one’s with your remote employees to both give and receive feedback. This will allow you to stay on top of the remote employee’s performance, and troubleshoot any concerns they might have. Make sure to explain the “why” behind higher-level decisions to ensure that the remote worker feels informed and included.
Read “How to Give Feedback” to learn how effective managers give constructive feedback.
Tip #5 – Accountability
Clearly communicate deadlines and establish accountability to ensure that the remote employee understands how their success will be measured. If your company does not have a formal evaluation process, consider this Gallup finding – workers are 12% more likely to be engaged if they know they’re being evaluated. They also miss 5 fewer days of work per year on average than their non-evaluated peers.
Tip #6 – Impact
One of the keys to getting the most from remote staff is to ensure that they understand how their work impacts the greater goals of the organization. Make it clear that their actions contribute to the company’s success and be specific in showing how. Consider building this information into their performance review in the form of specific metrics.
As a manager you need to understand how to keep your remote staff engaged and delivering.
- Build rapport
- Establish expectations and accountability
- Make sure your remote staff are fully equipped to do their job well
- Regularly check in with them to give and receive feedback.
- Ensure that they understand how their role impacts the organization and translate this information into specific metrics on their performance review.
While having remote staff can be uncharted territory for some companies, implementing the tips above greatly increases your chances of having a positive experience.
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