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My Introspective

by Laurus Nobilis
My BrainCast

Human Resources

Step-by-step Guide on Managing Remote Employees

Remote Team

 

 

 

 

 

What are the basic aspects of remote team work? Why it is necessary to have trained and efficient members of remote team?

 

Posted: Apr 2014


 

Let’s get started with this building a successful remote team. Let’s build elements one by one.

 

Essentials

In order to get the best out of your employees you need:

  • to establish a clear COMMUNICATION

  • to build strong RELATIONS

  • to take extra steps to build TRUST

  • to FUEL MOTIVATION

  • to set GOALS and EXPECTATIONS

  • to MONITOR PROCESSES & RESULTS often to make sure they’re working for everyone

  • to TALK to people, provide them FEEDBACK

 

Master the Art of Communication

Communication is the essence of successful teams. In order to build clear and open communication it is necessary to:

  • Plan to see employees at least a few times a year

  • Hold monthly conference calls with the entire team

  • Use webcast or video conferencing for team meetings

  • Keep an hour free immediately following conference calls with your team, should any of your employees want to follow up on something that was discussed 

  • Agree as a team to define a written plan for communication and collaboration ,and performance tracking and assessment of progress towards goals

  • Agree on response times to messages. Examples: Return all phone calls within 24 hours, return all emails within 24 hours, and mark or tag urgent emails and voice mails

  • Conduct quarterly meetings face-to-face with team if possible (especially crucial when the team is first forming)

  • Arrange for direct reports to travel to each other's areas if possible

  • Be sensitive of the various time zones when holding a meeting. Don't always hold a meeting when the same person has to attend late at night. Rotate the calls during different times

  • Be very direct, either verbally or electronically, when managing conflict. If two groups of people are on either side of an issue, make sure they speak with each other on the phone. Participants can't rely on physical clues because they can't see them. Therefore, they have to ask a lot of questions to make sure they understand the full scope of the problem

remote team management

 

Build a Sense of team oneness

Build "we" instead of "I" culture. Promote team values, by supporting them with:

  • Devote quarterly face-to-face team meetings just for team-building activities

  • Learn how to celebrate "virtually." Use video conferencing for team building; choose a "theme" such as having everyone dress in Hawaiian shirts. Try a virtual "happy hour"--a phone or video conference where no work is allowed--just conversation

  • Get to know employees or potential team members before you form a team. It helps to understand what the interpersonal and team dynamics might be when you put together a team

  • Invite special guests (such as second-level managers) to attend face-to-face team meetings

  • Have the whole team welcome new members. If appropriate, provide a local mentor

 

Trust

Build trust between Team members. This requires time, but it can be achieve by:

  • Be available. Don’t let employee calls go to voicemail. When you absolutely can’t be reached, reply ASAP

  • Beware of using sarcasm and teasing in distance interactions, like email and conference calls, where signals can easily get crossed

  • Handle sensitive issues with discretion. One team member might tell Belmont that another is having a bad day. He’ll immediately call the person having the bad day, without exposing the colleague who told him

  • Communicate in a variety of ways (email, phone, in person, etc) and often

  • Visit employees on their turf. It shows respect for their time and interest in their life outside the job

 

Motivation

Try to motivate your teams. Remote work can be difficult sometimes and is very easy to loose motivation. Therefore try to:

  • Share good news and recognition from upper management with the entire team and other stakeholders.

  • Celebrate successes.

  • Send gift certificates to remote employees to show your appreciation

 

Goals and Expectations

Clearly communicate goals and expectations. You need to:

  • Share the team's vision and gain the commitment of all team members during the kick-off meeting

  • involve people in planning and decision making

  • Develop a methodology for gathering and analyzing data so team members understand how the goals were achieved and agree as to whether the desired outcome was achieved

  • Meet quarterly to review goal progress and remaining actions. Situations change quickly; therefore, it is important to review and update goals regularly

  • Require reports

  • Ask detailed questions

 

Processes & Results

  • Focus on the quality of your employees’ work, not their style of doing it

  • Consistency in your work process — quarterly gatherings, weekly phone meetings — provides structure and prevents gaps in communication

 

Feedback

  • The more you talk to everyone, the better sense you’ll get for whether each person on the team is playing the role they need to

  • In a survey of remote workers by Henley communication was considered to be the most important skill needed by managers. Mason agrees: "People need to feel part of a team. Pick up the phone and say ‘How are you?’ It can mean a great deal."

  • Managers should schedule and conduct regular one-on-one phone meetings to update, give feedback, and discuss problems. In group meetings, the manager should be certain to facilitate the team members by sharing success stories, providing a pat on the back, and assigning tasks

  • Good management requires a good communicator that trusts employees to get the work done. This is the same for remote employees. Setting goals, monitoring performance, and providing feedback are all essential behaviors of a good manager, and these become even more important in keeping remote employees in the loop and as productive and committed as possible

Managing Remote Teams:

Why Remote Teams?
Where to Start With Remote Teams?
Step-by-Step Guide on Managing Remote Employees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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