How To Boost Engagement With Remote Teams
“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” – Simon Sinek
Out of sight should never mean out of mind when it comes to managing remote teams.
The fact that your people aren’t in the same building or even necessarily the same city, let alone within view and earshot, makes it challenging to know how they are getting along from one moment to the next.
A team may seem to be performing well even while individual members are struggling with problems that you won’t know about until there’s a meltdown. According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, remote workers are more likely to feel “left out” and “ganged-up on” than those sharing the same space.
But with the right engagement strategy your remote teams will function as well as they would if they were all sharing the same office – here are a few key ways you can make it happen:
Provide the best collaboration tools
With a plethora of useful collaboration software and apps available there’s no excuse for not making the most effective resources available. Check out the likes of Google Teams, Flowdock, GoToMeeting, Slack, Trello. WebEx and Asana among many others.
Encourage virtual meetings
Sometimes instant messages and emails just aren’t enough to convey the right tone and can even unnecessarily raise hackles – especially if team members aren’t having frequent enough facetime or calls to maintain familiarity.
Schedule regular catch-ups
Working remotely can be very isolating – a quick, literally five-minute call to just ‘shoot the breeze' is likely to be appreciated. It will also give you a better sense of your team members’ individual personalities and encourage openness about both work and personal issues that might otherwise impact productivity.
Ask for feedback
Keep the lines of communication open at all times and regularly prompt team members to report any issues they may be having. Asking them if there’s anything they feel could be done more efficiently is a good place to start.
Keep everyone in the loop
Make an effort to ensure there’s never a situation when anyone on the team feels like they’re the last to know about the news that may or may not affect their working lives – whether it’s any change in the project or company direction, or even personal milestones in the lives of colleagues that are already known to everyone else.
“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne M. Mulcahy