This applies both in the “real” world, and in the virtual world where the remote working relationship exists. Employees don’t like being treated like anonymous statistics hired to simply carry out tasks.
People value being valued, and in some cases, it’s not the size of their paycheck but that sense of being appreciated that keeps them working for you.
So how does one go about this in the virtual working landscape?
For starters, set-up communication channel. Aside from email, setup instant messaging and online meeting platforms for your entire business team.
This gives you a lot of opportunities to reach out to them, and a lot of opportunities for them to reach out to you.
To get them to know you and your style of management, communicate to the group as a whole as often as possible. Send a weekly memo, newsletter or create a blog.
In each piece, write about your goals for the company and the direction that you’d like to take, as well as thoughts and advice on how they, as employees can become better at their work.
This will serve as a gradual orientation of your staff to your company philosophy and make your team members feel connected to you and the company.
It will also improve their sense of belonging if you consult them in making decisions, however small it may be.
Send emails or chat with them either directly or as a group and get them involved in discussions, let them feel that they are contributing and making an impact in the company.
Make them feel involved and part of the team.
Encourage your locally-based staff to interact with the offshore team, keep them in the loop in emails, update them on newsworthy events in and around the office, and send email greeting cards to them on their birthdays, holidays and milestones such as the birth of their child, or every year that they achieve as an employee for you.
But lastly, give them an opportunity to address you directly. It may be in the form of emails,or direct messaging. Or, if you have limited time during the work week, then give them at least 15 minutes of time to talk to you via Skype. It might be about work, or it might just be a way for you to catch up on them.
What’s important is that they are able to feel that their contribution is worth something to your company.
Special thanks to:
Number 10 for the main image, follow him on Flickr.