I’d like to spend my time this week sharing our Wejungo® “MAP” to building an effective remote workforce touching on 3 important areas.
- M stands for Meetings
- A stands for Accountability
- P stands for Performance
“M” for MEETINGS Virtual Ensuring Effectiveness
There are so many cool technologies out there to allow for virtual meetings, like Microsoft Teams, Go-to Meetings, Google Hangouts, and Zoom, which we are using today.
Many companies and displaced office workers are just now trying to learn how to use these tools and most are not yet using the tools to the fullest potential. So here are our 3 tips on how to ensure virtual meeting effectiveness.
TIP #1: Set a standard and clear expectations for everyone to be presently listening. You can accomplish this by doing the following:
- Require everyone attending the virtual meeting to have their VIDEO ON.
- Kill the mute function to allow for conversation, banter, and discourage people from multi-tasking and typing emails during the meeting.
- Have the “host” of the meeting call on people to share their thoughts, ensuring more people pay attention, since they don’t know if they will be called on next.
- Give each person a “meeting responsibility”, for example, someone is responsible for sending a recap of the meeting, someone else sends out the deadlines committed, and a few people can lead different sections of the meeting.
TIP #2: Always provide the team a meeting agenda with the start and end time of the meeting.
This will allow everyone to know what is supposed to be covered during the meeting and keep the team on time and on task.
TIP #3: Encourage engagement and collaboration. People will always work better with each other when they continue to build a personal connection.
You can accomplish this by doing the following:
- Start a video meeting by having each person take 1-2 mins to share what they did the past weekend or a quick update on their personal life.
- Schedule each person to have time on the meeting agenda. At our Wejungo monthly meetings we have each person share what they did well, didn’t do well, and learned since the previous video meeting.
The most common question companies are asking us this month is “How do we keep our newly virtual workforce accountable?”
No matter what type of virtual workplace you have, you do want to make certain that your employees are still held accountable for their performance. Here are our 3 tips for managers to effectively drive results with their team virtually.
“A” for ACCOUNTABILITY – Driving Results
TIP #1: IMMEDIATELY scope out very clear performance expectations. When converting an office worker to a remote worker, you should clearly provide your expectations regarding their performance, project deadlines, and what I can Rules of Engagement (communication foundational blocks).
Unspoken rules and expectations can and will create confusion and lower performance. To set employees up for success, they need to understand exactly what success looks like and how their performance will be measured.
Also, it’s important for companies to have all employees sign a telecommuting work agreement during COVID-19 times.
I (Susie) can send a sample of that out if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TIP #2: Manage the results, not time. We see many managers who are new to this remote workforce environment trying to require their team to check in every few hours or answer emails within a certain time frame. But productivity doesn’t have to be measured this way, instead hold your team accountable by how well they perform their results and meet deadlines. In order to do this properly you must have TIP #1 completed first.
TIP #3: Get to know people as people. Take the time to know your team as people. Interacting with them via video and phone weekly, not just email will help managers better understand someone’s strengths, weaknesses and communication work style(s).
Lastly the P in MAP stands for Performance.
If you want high performance with a virtual workforce, we believe their success is directly related to a leader’s ability to inspire collaboration.
“P” for PERFORMANCE – Inspiring Collaboration
Employees and managers need to be able to effectively communicate with each other. Working in virtual teams is different
than it is in person, you can’t just walk to someone’s office and ask them a question or flush out a disagreement real time. So here are our 3 tips for inspiring collaboration.
TIP #1: Schedule online team collaboration opportunities and meetings on a regular basis (we recommend weekly). This keeps everyone informed of who is working on what and lets them ask questions or give their thoughts on different topics, projects and business initiatives.
TIP #2: Create a need for a monthly or quarterly group discussion, problem solving or brainstorming during a virtual meeting. This will allow the team to hear each other’s viewpoints, ideas and generate collaboration.
TIP #3: Create a need for more collaboration. An example is you could ask your team to vote on a list of new ideas and pick a final one where the team will need to work with each other to complete a project. Schedule in a debriefing session after the project to have everyone share what worked well, what was a challenge, greatest learnings, and what can be done better / different next time?
What will you do differently this week to MAP out success for your newly remote workforce?
Continuing to send our positive thoughts and healthy wishes to everyone,
-Susie & the Wejungo Team