By Jon Clark, managing partner at Moving Traffic Media, a New York digital agency offering SEO, PPC and Amazon marketing services.
At the core of every successful project team lies motivation. However, motivating people in person is very different from motivating team members who are dotted around the world.
Many project managers have years of experience in the former but are only just getting to grips with managing a remote team. However, with many businesses in the United States hiring remote workers, knowing how to motivate them is key.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the strategies you can use to keep your remote team motivated.
Provide feedback on a regular basis.
Regular feedback is critical because it helps in terms of aligning expectations and objectives. More significantly, though, it demonstrates to the worker in question that you care about their development and the work they produce.
Often, remote workers can feel insignificant, and they’re left wondering how much their work really matters.
Providing regular feedback will encourage your team to take risks and try more innovative approaches that will drive growth.
Most employees find feedback valuable. Despite this, only 28% say they have received meaningful feedback in the past week.
Here are some tips on giving feedback:
• Make your intent clear. This is especially important when giving negative feedback. Negative feedback is easier to take and understand if there is a reason behind it—for example, changing a process so things run smoother next time.
• Focus on behavior rather than character. Feedback should never be personal!
• Be positive and look to the future. Don’t harp on the past. Rather than focusing on what went wrong, focus on what can be done better next time.
• Provide feedback on what went well. Positive feedback is just as important, not only to identify what the employee did right but to uplift them.
Maintain company culture remotely.
A sense of disconnect can be an issue for remote teams. However, you can preserve company culture in a remote environment.
One approach I find highly important is to put employee well-being at the forefront. When some people work remotely, they can feel drained or anxious. Protecting the mental health of your team is vital.
You should also look for ways to foster connections between employees. Just because you cannot go for lunch as a team does not mean that you cannot do little things to make your team feel connected. From online games to ordering a lunch delivery service for your team, it’s the little things that matter.
Empower your remote team.
When managing a remote team, it is easy to fall into the trap of micromanagement. Managers may start feeling like they have to keep on top of everyone’s work. This can result in them sending endless messages for status updates, and employees can get frustrated and sense a lack of trust.
Rather than boosting productivity, this actually harms it. If you show your remote team members that you trust them, it will motivate them to put their best foot forward and deliver great results.
Use mission-oriented communication.
Another way to keep motivation levels high is to ensure that the mission remains at the forefront of everyone’s minds. If people understand why their task matters, they will feel more driven and committed. This is why you need to make sure you communicate a compelling vision for the work that all of your team members are going to be doing.
When managing a remote team, this tends to be forgotten. We can fall into the trap of simply dishing tasks out without giving further information on the “why.”
Why is this task important? What will it achieve? Why does the work matter?
Being a supportive leader is key to boosting motivation levels. Being empathetic will go a long way in showing remote workers that you value them as humans. Some bosses may not extend the same care that in-office workers get when dealing with personal situations.
Don’t be one of these leaders. Instead, treat your remote workers with empathy and trust. If they are struggling, be there for them. Do not underestimate how much kindness is appreciated. Your remote workers will be more willing to go the extra mile for you because they know that you have their back.
Get feedback from your employees, too.
It is important to ask your remote team for feedback regarding current work processes. Do they find communication works well? Is there anything that they feel is preventing them from doing their best work? What could be improved for their working day to be better?
Not only may you get some really great suggestions that improve quality and productivity, but you also show your employees that you care about them and you value their opinions.
Keep team members in the loop.
Last but not least, communication is key in all businesses, but this is even more so the case when managing a remote team.
Anxiety and stress can start to creep in when remote workers feel like they do not know what’s going on. Keeping your team members in the loop with transparent and consistent contact can make a huge difference, creating a highly enthused and engaged team.
Make sure you give your team as much information as they need so that they feel an essential and valuable part of the team. From video calls and emails to Zoom and Teams, there are many tools and approaches you can use for this.
Create a highly motivated and engaged remote team.
As you can see, it is possible to keep motivation levels high even if you are not in the same physical location as the rest of your team. From maintaining company culture to empowering your team, use the tips provided above, and I am sure you will notice positive results.