What is a remote employee’s greatest fear?
You guessed it: being forgotten.
An individual who telecommutes doesn’t see you regularly. He can’t pop into your office, tap you on the shoulder and have a casual conversation. He can’t join you for lunch. He’s not in your line of sight when you’re considering who should get that amazing new project or client.
As a result, nagging insecurities may eat away at him – fears about his job security, his value as an employee, and his potential for growth with your organization.
Until teleportation becomes a reality, use these tips to alleviate remote employees’ biggest fear – and reassure them that although they’re out of sight, they’re certainly not out of mind:
Acknowledge the elephant. Talk with your remote employees about their concerns and let them know that you “get it.” Simply acknowledging employees’ fears of being overlooked can go a long way toward relieving them. Discuss ways to open the lines of communication and keep their fears at bay.
Have regular conversations to discuss their growth. In a recent Forbes.com post, Mark Murphy, founder of Leadership IQ, lists four monthly conversation points to help you connect with remote employees in a meaningful way:
- Ask them what they’d like to get better at during the next month.
- Find out how they’ve grown, or what they’ve improved upon, during the prior month.
- Discuss last month’s low points.
- Talk about their professional highlights for the last month.
These monthly conversations take just 15-30 minutes, but their benefits are immeasurable. For you, they provide insights to help you manage and grow your employees; for employees, these conversations convey your continued investment in helping virtual employees achieve their full potential.
Be available. Nothing breeds insecurity among remote employees quicker than a sense of isolation. Try not to let their calls go to voicemail. Return missed calls as soon as possible. Respond promptly to e-mails. Consistent, speedy response shows remote employees that they’re a priority – and certainly not forgotten.
Provide extra feedback. People who work remotely don’t get nearly as much informal feedback on their work, so be deliberate in letting them know what they’re doing right, as well as what they need to improve upon. Remember, virtual employees lack the most basic form of human communication: face-to-face conversation. Over-communicate to fill the void and provide the reassurance your remote employees need.
Want more tips? Read this earlier post for more fresh ideas on effectively managing remote employees.
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