These are difficult times, most staff are feeling isolated from their friends, family and their workplace colleagues. They miss their colleagues, the workplace banter and the normally constant reassurance as to their fit and importance to the organisation. They are feeling anxious about their future, both health-wise and job-wise.
It is of paramount importance that we address both their feelings and the challenges of managing their work processes remotely. Focussing on one without the other would decrease the productivity of the organisation, the quality of the customer products and services and ultimately reduce your ability to keep your customers happy and win new ones.
We all need to work harder at demonstrating to staff that we really care. To do this we need to take a more active interest in how our people are doing. We should regularly enquire about them and their personal situations. Where possible, we should help them to resolve their problems and be flexible enough to allow them to take time off when needed.
Creating a safe environment of care and trust will make your staff feel much better and will pay handsome dividends in future, in terms of improved productivity and commitment to your organisation.
Feedback is exceptionally important in these troubled times, as it lets staff know how they are doing and if done well, reaffirms their importance to the organisation. To ensure this is done well requires a special type of feedback process, known as “CFR”, Conversation, Feedback, Recognition. Provided weaknesses, once identified, are promptly addressed, this will reassure your staff and improve their quality and productivity.
This is an ideal time to have a greater focus on training, as staff generally have some down time and training is currently delivered remotely using Zoom type tools. Remote training is also generally cheaper than in person courses; incurs zero travel costs, requires no travel time and is available at short notice.
In the current world of remote workers, we need to ensure that we focus on the outcomes of work processes and avoid trying to manage the conduct of the processes. We should not micro-manage processes. Provided the quality of the outcomes are of a high standard, we should not be too concerned with how things are achieved.
Leading Remote Teams – Top 12 Tips
An analysis of highly successful teams and companies relying on remote staff working from home or other non-corporate locations found that the best Remote Leadership had these common attributes:
- Listen to your staff and prove it by asking follow up questions
- Be interested in them and their families
- Be understanding, feel what they feel. Give them time to solve their problems
- Use “CFR” to give prompt and useful Feedback. Start a Conversation, then give Feedback and finish with positive Recognition of their inputs and value to your organisation
- CFR will identify their weaknesses. Move to reassure the staff and immediately improve the value of their contributions by promptly arranging suitable training. This will show staff that you are investing in them and the future of your company
- CFR will also help to identify their relative strengths. It would greatly improve the quality and strength of your products and services, as well as the morale of your staff, if you were to use these competency champions to spread their excellent competencies amongst their colleagues
- For Remote Teams focus on the target outcomes and why their work is important. If possible, these outcomes into the company vision
- The vision should ideally be a worthy purpose, which the employees would be proud to be part of. It should not have profit as its main purpose; although profit would be a natural consequence of achieving the vision
- Use KPIs to measure progress towards the target outcomes. Key Performance Indicators should be SMART, that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based
- Targets should never be imposed. They should be discussed and agreed with each team member, before becoming formal targets
- Do not try to micromanage your remote staff
- Provide all new team members with a formal induction and education process. They cannot be expected to just fit in and know what to do through telepathy
To improve your leadership and other business skills, even further. We can help, we provide courses accredited by the: Chartered Management Institute, the CMI and the Institute of Leadership and Management accredited courses; CPD certificates, Live Online, London, Manchester and Birmingham locations.
Telephone 01494 590446 or Email Excellence1@ExcellenceInLearning.com
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