Being responsible for a remote employee is not as simple as many people think. I know because I have been in your shoes as a hiring manager, trying to include a remote employee in spite of the difficult hurdles. Not only do you need to make sure this employee is a part of the team, but you also need to make sure that you are not ignoring your remote employee.
I promise, if your remote employee is feeling ignored or undervalued, she will leave.
There are 2 key things that you should be doing in order get the most out of and retain your remote employee.
1. Communicate Frequently
Communicate, communicate, communicate!
I cannot stress enough the importance of constant communication with your remote employee.
Let’s face it, when an employee is working outside of the office, there are certain things that she will not be included in. However, it’s up to you as her manager to make sure she is included on the important changes and decisions amongst your team.
Make sure that you are communicating with your remote employee EVERY DAY. Whether it be via phone, email, or video, be sure that your remote employee understands expectations and any changes in priorities for the day.
When your remote employee goes a day without communication from you, she will naturally feel forgotten.
Likewise, do NOT ignore your remote employee. If your employee has sent you an email with an update or requesting further instruction on a certain matter, you must reply as soon as possible. When you do not reply to your employee’s emails, you are sending the message that the employee’s efforts are not valued or that you have forgotten her.
I promise, if your communication skills are lacking when it comes to your remote employee, she will find another job and you will receive notice soon.
2. Schedule Visual Time
While communicating via phone is great, and communicating via email frequently is good, you still need to schedule face-to-face time with your remote employee.
If you are traveling near the location of your remote employee, be smart and schedule time to stop by and take your employee out for a meal or a coffee. Also, I believe it is of utmost importance that you occasionally schedule time for your remote employee to visit your office and spend time with your in-house team. In between these face-to-face meetings, make sure that you are using video during your meetings so that the remote employee is able to see and be seen by you and your team.
By making sure that your remote employee has visual interaction time with you and with your team, you are building strong team relationships and letting her know that you value and appreciate her efforts on your team.
When you include face-to-face time with your remote employee, you have a better chance of fostering a strong team atmosphere that is accepting and appreciative of your remote employee. This greatly increases your chances of retaining your remote employee.
What are some other things you could do to retain your remote employee?