How to Trust and Engage Your Remote Workforce
Updated: Apr 20
It’s natural to feel uncertain, disconnected and even apprehensive about a team that’s suddenly working from home. You’re used to having an eye on your business from inside 4 walls and now that everyone is spread out, thoughts like “what’s going on”, “how will I keep track” or “how do I hold everyone accountable” are natural.
The good news is that it is absolutely possible to support and trust your team from a distance. You might even find that your relationships get stronger as you get more creative and intentional about engagement.
Here’s my 4 tips for leading your work from home people ::
1) Remember why you hired them in the first place
Whether you hired your team or inherited them, they went through a process that led to belief they were right for the job. Including fit in the culture, being people of character and integrity and having the skills and experience to get the job done.
They are the same people whether their working in the company building or working from home. Remind yourself and them that you are all in it together just like you did when you became their manager.
If you believed they are the right people when they joined the company, decide that nothing has changed. You’ll put your mind at ease.
2) Employ an extra dose of servant-leadership
Be extra intentional and proactive about supporting their efforts. It’s easy to take this for granted when you’re in a room together because as a leader you naturally elevate the room with your physical presence and energy.
You can do the same thing now, but you’ll need to use technology and put a bit more expressiveness into your communication.
Use video conferencing, or face-to-face via mobile phone so they can see and feel your support as if you were speaking in-person. If it is normal for you to express thanks and recognition in an email, keep it up and do it more frequently.
Be specific in your praise and sincere in your offer to talk through any challenges they may be experiencing. Remember this WFH thing may be just as challenging for them as it is for you.
3) Start out and wrap up
For nurturing employee engagement, I always recommend starting the week or day with a quick check in and ending the day with a short wrap up and thank you. This applies as much or more now that your team is remote.
It’s NOT about micro-managing. It is about making yourself available and getting a sense of the day ahead to you and your team members set an expectation of what will accomplished that day. At minimum, you’ll create a plan for the day.
This also puts you in a great position to be specific in your follow-up questions, coaching or appreciation at the end of the day or the next morning.
1) DECIDE that remote work is not only OK but is working out great!
Ever hear the phrase that you get what you expect? It applies as much to setting job performance expectations as it does to your daily interactions with your team members.
When you expect that your team is operating in integrity, working hard and acting in the best interest of the company, guess what? That’s exactly what you get.
The choice to trust people, especially when they’ve opted-in to work with you, usually results in them rising to the level of trustworthiness.
Your belief in their capabilities and resilience transfers to them. When someone believes in you, it’s much easier to work hard and see yourself as contributing to something greater than yourself.
Engaging and trusting your remote workforce is as easy or hard as you decide to make it. If this is new territory for you, that’s totally OK, too. Everyone is stretching the “flexible and adaptable” muscles.
The good news is, the habits you’re developing working together from a distance will make you better when you work in the same building again.
One of my favorite things is to do is to come alongside leaders and teams to address specific concerns and needs around employee engagement and performance.
Good teams get stronger and strong teams rise to superb. I offer personalized solutions around your culture and goals.
If this sounds like something that would benefit your business and teams, I invite you to reach out to me for a free consultation today. Let’s grow your expectation of what’s possible and achieve it!
Elissa Shuck :: @strategicelissa