In business, you need to grab onto whatever competitive advantages you can.
Companies that leverage people data have a superpower. They can better predict which candidates are likely to be highly successful, and they can better manage their employees in a way that motivates them to work at their potential.
The importance of strategically designing high-performance teams and then managing those people effectively can’t be overstated. If you don’t nail both parts of the equation you’re going to suffer poor results.
Most companies fail to reach their potential. In addition to making bad hires, they have no idea how to manage in a way that inspires employees to do more than the minimum requirements. When employees are mentally checked out productivity suffers. You’re left with a toxic workplace.
Physical distance creates emotional distance, and it’s all too easy for remote employees to feel isolated from teammates and company culture. And if there are issues to begin with, such as poor job fit, the separation only exasperates things.
It’s also more difficult to gauge disengagement when your people aren’t sitting in front of you every day. This is especially true of employees who are doing a great job.
As PI CEO Mike Zani explained in our webinar on optimizing employee engagement, companies have four types of employees. Your “grinders” are your disengaged high-performers. When remote employees are crushing their goals, you might assume all is well—but they’re one call away from quitting.
The good news is that any leader can learn to manage in a way that drives results.
Here are five ways to support your remote workers and help them feel connected to their team as well as your company values and culture:
1. Be self-aware
In our people management study we discovered that “self-awareness” is a defining quality of great managers.
Many business leaders are naturally highly dominant. When a low dominance employee works under a high dominance boss there’s great potential for hurt feelings and resentment. However, if high dominance managers take time to understand how their natural work and communication styles affect their direct reports, they can build better relationships and manage much more effectively.
To gain self-awareness, take a behavioral assessment or a management style quiz. These will provide insight into your behavioral drives and needs, which manifest as workplace behaviors.
The more you can build positive relationships with your remote workers, the better chance you have of keeping them engaged.
2. Get to know your employees
Every once in a while you come across a unicorn manager who can effortlessly inspire his or her employees to work at their max potential. But most managers will fail to achieve this success if they don’t take the time to truly understand what makes their employees tick.
As a manager, you might feel like you know your direct reports well. Yet you can’t possibly know what’s going on inside their heads unless they open up and tell you.
If you’re fortunate to have a strategic HR team who “gets” the importance of data analytics, speak to them about having all employees take behavioral assessments. This gives you x-ray vision to see what motivates your team. And when results are shared across the company, each individual can learn and appreciate each other’s differences—and work more harmoniously.
3. Go the extra mile to connect
When it comes to remote workers, “out of sight, out of mind” is the unfortunate truth for lots of organizations. That’s why it’s so important to let your remote workers know they’re top of mind.
One CEO who does an exceptional job of staying connected to and effectively motivating his fully-remote team is Robert Glazer of Acceleration Partners. In fact, sending a weekly email changed the way he led his company and allows him to inspire his people wherever they are.
The company has a rating of 4.9 on Glassdoor, so it’s obvious that going the extra mile pays off in terms of employee loyalty—and brand image.
4. Invest in meeting technology
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been leading a meeting and had to stop to check if my remote employees were still on the line.
Relying on voice-only conference calls is a huge mistake. Not only is it frustrating for the person leading the meeting (you), it’s frustrating for the people dialed in from home. They can’t see what’s going on, and they feel isolated from the rest of the group in the room.
Meeting technology like Meeting Owl and Zoom provides a better experience for everyone and helps remote teams work better together and feel more connected.
The number of employees who work remotely grows bigger every year. But while expanded talent pools are a great thing for companies, remote workers can quickly become disengaged. Make sure you go the extra mile to support them and stay connected
This article was a guest post written by Erin Balsa. She works at The Predictive Index, a platform that allows leaders to strategically design and manage their most important business asset—their people.