15 Oct Long distance relationships: the secret to a high performing remote team
You’re a remote manager. And you’ve hired people with the right experience and attitudes (or so you hope). But once your fledgling employees fly the coop and into their places of remote work, are they are soaring like mighty eagles? Or are they running around like headless chooks?
Bird analogies aside, if you’re anything like us at iClean, you pride yourself on the business’ integrity. So, you want your staff to uphold those values – especially when you’re not there.
After years of managing our own remote staff, we’ve learnt a thing or two along the way. And we’ve perfected a range strategies that ensure consistent success and performance. So, let’s go: our top tips on how turn your remote staff into a team of high flyers.
1. Start from a place of trust
The fact you aren’t there to keep an eye on employees doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
No employee will thrive when their boss continually checks in on them (much to the shock of micro-managers everywhere).
Take it from us, staff go above and beyond and take ownership of their work when they are trusted. As Hemmingway said, ‘The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them.’
But it doesn’t stop there. Trust is a two-way street.
So, to help employees build trust in you, model integrity and lead in line with your corporate values in all you do.
2. Don’t be a seagull manager (okay, just one more bird analogy)
Many managers are, what we not-so-fondly term, ‘seagull managers’. You know the type. They only communicate with their team when something goes wrong.
Then they fly in. Make a lot of noise. Dump their sh!t all over their staff. And then fly off.
Only hearing negative feedback is not going to improve your team’s performance. If anything, they will think you don’t have their back. Which leads to losing their trust.
So, how do you avoid becoming the dreaded seagull manager? You…
3. Catch them doing the ‘right’ thing
Whatever is rewarded is repeated. Readily give respectful recognition of good work, and praise your staff when they model your values.
Recently, one of our cleaners found a $50 note while on the job. What did he do? He left it on the desk of the client.
Honesty and professionalism are things we pride ourselves on at iClean. So, we gave him a massive ‘thank you’ – and a $50 bonus in his bank account.
The moral of this story? Always say thank you, and never stop looking for reasons to give praise.
4. Embrace modern technology
Maintaining consistent communication with remote staff is vital. You don’t have the luxury of popping your head over their cubicle to check in.
What you do have though, if you’re like 88% of Australians, is a smartphone. (And if you make up the other 12% still using a Nokia brick, the advice in this tip still applies to you!)
Don’t wait until you see your staff in person to give positive feedback. Send them a text or use a team-building app to share your praise instantly.
Because recognition helps staff stay positive and motivated.
5. Track team performance
While managing staff isn’t all about procedure and protocol, these things do play an important role. Everyone likes to know what’s expected of them.
There’s nothing more frustrating for employees than constantly moving goalposts and unclear boundaries. By setting up smart systems, your team will know what you want from them and how you define ‘good work’.
Checklists and audits will also keep you informed about how your staff are performing.
However, don’t take this as your opportunity to, well, be a seagull about it. See it as a chance to have a conversation. It highlights where you can be a better manager and help your staff improve and grow.