Ultimately, remote workforce managers cannot demand respect and trust from remote employees; it must be earned. By showing them that you trust and respect them, through your communication practices, you will generate the same in return, along with strengthening their dedication and motivation. There are seven key communication techniques to help generate this respect and trust, and motivation.
Keep all promises and respond to employees in a timely manner – Don’t make a promise to an employee that you can’t keep, even if it is a small item. If you say you will get them something by Tuesday, then do so. If you email an employee with a request for response, give them a timeframe and be prepared to respond appropriately. Employees will mirror your behavior in the pattern you set.
Set consistent communication schedules with employees – Schedule weekly meetings or one-on-one phone calls with employees. Setting consistent schedules helps establish a routine, letting them know when to contact you to discuss needed items. This also helps ensure they feel connected to you and the team and keeps them on track with overall team goals. Remote employees can easily lose sight of company goals by focusing on what they think is important. Having a weekly reinforcement with their manager keeps them from veering off track.
Stick to employee appointments– Don’t change your scheduled employee calls and meetings unless it’s an emergency. Frequent rescheduling will send a message to employees that the meetings are not very important, which will encourage them to find excuses to reschedule. Let them know you respect their time and their contributions to the team, by keeping your scheduled appointments.
Provide details and reasons “why” for any requests – Be clear and complete. For example, when you schedule a call with employees, tell them the reason. Otherwise, they well might conjure a worst-case scenario that doesn’t exist.
Ask rather than tell – Asking your employees to do something, rather than telling them, builds buy-in and accountability. Individuals are more motivated to accomplish tasks they have been asked to do rather than been told to do.
Write positive emails – Emails always come across 10 times more negative than intended. To avoid this, try to be overly positive when you write them. Use exclamation points, use “hi” or “good morning,” say “thanks!,” use humor or positive feedback. Make it a pleasure to do business with you. You want your employees to look forward to your emails rather than dread them. Consider re-reading sensitive emails or have someone else give you their perspective before sending.
Ask them for their advice, opinion, and feedback –Show that you value and acknowledge remote employees. Enlist their feedback. In return, they will be more receptive to listening to yours when you give it. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.