Human resource managers must excel in managing remote teams to adapt and thrive in a changing business landscape in the current global situation.
Remote teams can range from workers in the same time zone who were sent home as part of the pandemic response to employees located worldwide, working either as company employees, as contractors, or as freelance talent through hiring networks.
With nearly half of all working Americans doing so from home, paired with companies’ longer-term objectives of hiring the best talent from around the world, the virtual work trend will continue to grow.
With that in mind, here are seven tips to be a great HR manager for remote teams.
Steer Clear Of Micromanaging
Onboarding top-quality team members will help you build trust among remote team members and yourself. From there, building trust is best achieved through autonomy with accountability and open communication.
Think Progress, Not Proximity
If you want to see if your remote team members are getting their work done, check how they’re progressing on their projects, not whether they are keeping a nine-to-five schedule. One of the perks of remote work is that many times, work schedules are more flexible. Your work from home or remote team may find that their most productive time is at night or daybreak.
Let your team work at the times when they are the most productive. You don’t have to micromanage them constantly while they’re working. Instead, look at their results.
Make Expectations Clear
Providing guidelines, specifications, deadlines, and boundaries that are easy to understand is vital in any work situation, especially in a remote working environment. When team members understand what expectations are, those expectations are much more likely to be met.
SHRM recommends the setting of SMART goals, ones that are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely.
Make sure that your remote employees are treated fairly, consistently, and equally. Providing them the same opportunities and the same recognition will go a long way toward making remote teams feel connected to your organization.
Open communication about priorities, milestones, and performance goals fuels remote production. Some organizations are now holding Facebook Live town halls, with employees posting questions and hearing them answered in real-time.
By communicating news about organization developments, new hires, and promotions, you will keep remote team members included, engaged, and knowledgeable.
Collaboration has been a reason why some organizations have resisted forming remote teams or allowing remote work. However, suppose remote team members feel the connection of working toward a shared goal and work together with mutual respect and accountability as shared values. In that case, collaboration can blossom among remote teams.
The growth of Zoom, WebEx, and other platforms for virtual meetings has allowed for video conferences that only a few years ago would have been conference calls or in-person meetings.
Since the pandemic, video conferences have also become ways of socializing safely. Getting your remote team together for coffee in person might not be cost-effective or safe, but you could schedule a virtual coffee break for team members to get to know each other.
To make sure that all conferences go smoothly, you need the right technology and the right specialists to help you. Therefore, you need to consider a web developer hiring guide to help you find a high-caliber specialist to ensure that all the tools and technology you use for meetings is working smoothly.
HR managers can reach out as leaders to their team members and aid in building a sense of community and camaraderie. Clear communication, giving members autonomy while holding them accountable, and giving credit to team members for jobs well done will go a long way toward fostering and encouraging collaboration.
Adapt Meeting Times and Lengths
As you set up virtual meetings for your remote team, consider the time zones of your team members as well as their schedules and duties. Consult with them to find a meeting time that works for everyone and not just you as the HR manager. Having buy-in from everyone on a meeting time will ensure good attendance and engagement.
Also, remember that the length of the meeting that works well in your office may not work for employees who are meeting and working remotely.
The length of your virtual meeting should be just long enough for plans to be set and communication to occur, and not a second longer. Lengthy, unstructured virtual meetings can suck the energy out of your remote team.
To keep that from happening, set an agenda for your meeting, getting input from your team members. Email that to everyone before the set meeting time so that each team member can be prepared and so that your meeting is productive but brief.
Provide Ways to Collaborate
Working together when you’re not together is a challenge, but the technology available today can make collaboration easy. Shared Google documents and One Note scheduling can help in planning and execution, as can Dropbox, SharePoint, and other tools for sharing documents and images, whether WFH or working worldwide.
The website and app Trello offers a shared bulletin board and list functions that can make setting priorities and planning projects together easier.
These collaboration tools are most effective when paired with open communication either in Zoom meetings, Facetime or just through a phone call. The best communication tools must have an organizational culture of communication, backing them up to be effective.
Celebrate Together Separately
Every team needs to celebrate successes. You might not be able to throw an in-person party with your remote team, but something as simple as a distance high-five in a Zoom call can be a great morale booster. Your company can also honor remote employees through social media posts, videos shared online, and shout-outs in organizational e-newsletters.
Putting these tips to work will boost your remote team’s performance, but more importantly, they’ll help you approach remote leadership from a practical angle. With the right mindset when it comes to remote teams, you are already a step ahead of the competition.