At Pinnacle Group, our team is comprised of a large remote workforce located in several countries. Already with different time zones, different languages, and different customs to consider, we jump at creative opportunities to break down any more barriers caused by physical distance. No matter if you work in our corporate headquarters in Dallas, Texas or you work remotely in the Philippines, we strive to create a corporate culture where all our associates feel like they are part of a team rowing in the same direction. Remove any barriers in your own team with these five ideas on how to manage, motivate, and keep your remote workforce engaged.
1. Develop Your Interpersonal Relationships
Those who work from home have a range of needs that must be met in order for them to be engaged and productive, just like any other office worker. Where you can pay more attention is their interpersonal needs. In an office setting, it’s easier to feel connected and part of the group. But when working remotely, you don’t always have the same the visual cues to alert you to how someone is feeling. Take the time to work in those interpersonal questions into your regular communication. How are you doing? What’s something you are looking most forward to this weekend? What have you been binge watching on Netflix lately? Developing this awareness of how someone else is feeling is crucial to the development of emotional intelligence.
2. Overcommunicate With Your Team
At Pinnacle Group, we rely on video conferencing tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams for everyday interactions with our remote associates. The more facetime we have with one another, the better bonded we become. We don’t just stop there, and neither should you. We also rely on communications plans to make our overall interactions much more meaningful. Firstly, be timely in your feedback, both positive and constructive. In trying times, people’s need for good news and recognition is exacerbated, but also, you’ll avoid any miscommunication barriers that cause your team to fall out of sync. Secondly, communicate more than you otherwise would with your remote workers. Plenty can fall through the cracks in group chats and emails. Don’t let your leadership stop there.
3. Set Your Remote Workers Up for Success
Your remote associates have interpersonal needs and then they have technological needs. At Pinnacle Group, we have invested in our virtualization infrastructure so that our company can be run 100% remotely in times of crisis and so that our associates can work from anywhere just as effectively as if they were in our offices. Monday.com is a favorite around our office. This platform is great for helping our departments to shape their unique workflows and connect collaboratively all within a dashboard that provides easily glanceable data and executive visibility. In addition, we rely on Smartsheet for project management and organization. Both platforms come with automation features that remove the time-drain of manual work and add value back to our day-to-day.
Beyond our tech stack, we help our associates – remote or not – to feel engaged with their work by providing them opportunities to experiment and solve business problems that really matter. For our remote associates particularly, it’s vital that physical separation does not decrease our team’s visibility into the impact we make on clients. It’s just as important that physical distance does not impede our remote workforce’s ability to gain access to colleagues that teach and develop them.
4. Establish Clear Goals, Objectives and Procedures
What you measure is the single strongest signal of what you care about. Make sure your team is engaged with what is important by defining processes around tactical work – the boxes that need to be checked – and the creative problem-solving we mentioned above. There should also be transparency when establishing work hours and online activity requirements. Another trick is to outline what aspects of work should be done independently or collaboratively. Harvard Business Review outlines a rhythm for weekly meetings that helps teams tackle goal setting and performance evaluation in regard to their output.
5. Maintain Honesty and Transparency
Specifically, in times of crisis, acknowledging an air of anxiety and expressing honesty and transparency is crucial for a remote workforce who don’t always have the opportunity to sit before leadership. What your remote workers crave the most is to be heard and to know that a plan is in place. Help your remote staff feel secure by offering support through employee assistance programs. Or it can be as simple as having your HR team lead exercises in managing stress and anxiety.
Bottom line is that if you want your remote workforce to be engaged in their work, you have to engage your remote workforce first. Take the time to tailor your leadership to their needs; frequent and open lines of communication, clear direction, space to express themselves, and access to resources. If you try any one of these five ideas, you’ll begin to break down any barriers keeping your remote team from performing at its best.