Leaders must learn how to effectively connect with employee teams in a remote context. Additionally, they must motivate the same kind of employee connection within the team too. So, there should be an effective communication chain among subordinates and another from subordinate to management. Only when both flow well can the whole team and whoever it reports to communicate with employees effectively as a complete unit.
If you are not sold on why leadership connecting with employees is essential to your business’ success, maybe these reasons can sway you:
- It sharpens communicative ability and can even eliminate any manager communication skill gaps that may be present. This is a “practice makes perfect” kind of scenario, where the more this kind of interaction is encouraged, the better the team gets at it.
- Feeling isolated takes a toll on mental health, which can hurt productivity. Your hybrid workforce needs to always be at its best, so you never want a situation where someone feels left out.
- Staff morale benefits when employees virtually communicate at work, which naturally happens when humans feel like they are a part of something bigger. It is a huge motivational push to understand exactly how your contribution fits into the bigger picture.
- A more connected team can respond better to an adverse situation. Tempers are much less likely to flare, which leads to a more levelheaded collaborative decision.
How to Connect with Team Members Remotely
Open Communication Chain
You may feel as if communication is being overemphasized where forming an employee connection is concerned, but it is only being mentioned this much because of its invaluable relevance to the situation. People who do not communicate well are never going to be able to connect on any other level but that of a distant acquaintance.
Therefore, managers must encourage an open communication chain to connect with employees, which means normalizing the bidirectional sharing of information. You must go prepared to give and take. Be open and honest in explaining things from the management perspective and treat subordinate ideas and viewpoints as vital to the business.
People connect extremely well when they are working toward a shared goal. Apart from gaining greater respect for each other’s abilities, they develop a joint sense of identity. Capitalizing on this is essential to motivate remote team success.
If you want to do this well, the goals that you set must follow the SMART model. So, ensure that they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. Using these elements bolsters your goal-setting ability and ensures the goals have the motivational effect you desire.
Provide Honest and Frequent Feedback
If you want your team members to grow and connect with employees, you need to lean on the power of feedback as much as you do training and evaluation. Not only do you make employees feel more job satisfaction by acknowledging what they are doing right, but you also get them to understand what areas they can improve on.
To achieve this objective, you are going to have to lean into feedback honesty. The goal is to tell the truth without being overly critical. Team empathy is very important, and while you should preach it as a manager, you also need to practice it.
Make Collaboration More Efficient
Collaboration is required in a team setting. You can look at it as one of the secret ingredients to achieve virtual team bonding, and when done effectively, it also contributes to business objectives. If you want your team to collaborate more, you must incentivize doing so, and making it more efficient is the way to pull that off.
Being a part of the process also allows you to effectively connect with employee teams. Technology is your best friend here, so use it as much as you can to facilitate the process. Ideally, you want a software system that allows instant messaging, comments, meetings, scheduling, etc.
Hold Weekly Meetings
Weekly meetings help to bring the team together and preserve that sense of connection. It is one of the best ways to fight off the isolation discussed above. Use it as an opportunity to check in with your subordinates and to keep abreast of what they may be doing and what kind of assistance they may need.
This is the place for you to reinforce that collaborative culture you are working on building. Note that people can be averse to meetings, so you want to package it as a short meeting that is a bit less formal, so the team looks forward to it instead.
Organizational culture and rules exist for a reason. However, there are areas in which you could exercise some flexibility for the good of the team. Whenever such areas crop up, take the chance to do so to connect with employees, provided it helps to keep the team engaged.
For example, the nature of your business may not be a time-sensitive one. So, even if remote employees were to work a bit later, they would be able to meet the targets set by management. If this is the case, encourage your team to work at the most convenient time during the days with their own productive hybrid work from home schedules. That makes staff members feel like their needs matter, which improves connection potential.
Create a Mentorship Program
Being a part of a one-on-one employee connection is likely to make each team member more receptive to connections throughout the entire team. At the same time, you can work on desirable qualities and capabilities through mentorship.
To this end, you may want to investigate setting up a mentorship program, which allows the kind of openness and vulnerability which leads to stronger connections.
Times of joy encourage employees to come together in happiness. When people are feeling good, it makes the perfect time to get a connection going. Therefore, management teams should focus on establishing celebration for employee recognition performance in different ways to connect with employees.
It could be as simple as celebrating something a staff member did with a shout-out to the entire team, or you can have ceremonies that are wholly dedicated to celebrating achievements, milestones, etc.
Arrange Virtual Activities
This follows the same principle as opting for celebrations. The work context is mostly serious. Therefore, employees are almost always looking for a little fun in the mix. You can further foster connections during good times by setting up virtual team building activities.
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