Motivating Your Remote Staff

By: Lauri Dahlberg, Manager of Firmwide Recruitment at Eide Bailly

Technology has changed the way many of us work. One of the biggest changes is the ability to work remotely. For several companies, this is a great opportunity to hire skilled individuals, regardless of where they’re geographically located. In fact, 25 percent of the workforce is telecommuting in some way (source).

However, with this ability comes a unique set of problems. One of the key areas centers on motivation. After all, how do you motivate employees you don’t see every day?

The key is RELATIONSHIP. Here are just a few ways to make that happen:

Schedule, schedule, schedule.

It’s important for your remote employees to still feel like part of the team. So take time schedule team meetings with the WHOLE group, including your remote employees. Also, make sure these are regular, not sporadic. Coming together as one cohesive unit on regular basis will help you foster and build teamwork.

Tip: make these meetings conducive to your remote employees. How? Work from home one day and call into your meeting remotely to see how it works. You may learn a thing or two.

 But more than just meeting with the team, you need to make time to meet one-on-one. Schedule consistent (weekly, bi-weekly … whatever works best for your organization) meetings with your remote employees. Take the time to make this a priority and discuss work tasks, projects, etc. Also, make sure you’re building rapport with your employees … read, don’t just get straight down to business. Take the time to talk about everyday stuff too.

Tip: Need something to guide the conversation? Set up KPIs with your employees so they know what it means to be successful, both individually and collectively as part of the organization. 

Utilize technology.

Don’t just stop at the phone because it’s easy. Find a way to communicate with your remote employees face-to-face. Look at video conferencing options, or find ways to incorporate Skype or FaceTime into your meetings.

This is for more than just meetings. You can even hold celebratory events via video or Skype, allowing the whole group to celebrate together. If you’re a really big planner, you can ship items to your remote employees ahead of time so they can partake in the celebration.

Get together.

Plan an annual team meeting so the whole team can be together in one room. Not only can you then deal with larger strategic initiatives and work on the business as a whole, but you can also plan a team outing or activity.

The moral of the story …

Remember to focus and make a concentrated effort to engage your remote staff. When you take this extra time, you’ll have a more engaged team, regardless of where they’re located.

A version of this article first appeared on the MN CPA website.


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