Keeping Your Remote Employees Engaged
By Travis Brown
Most companies can trace their origins back to humble beginnings. A small shop, a new idea, whatever the case may be. Usually it’s just a person or two in those early days, you don’t see too many companies open with lots of employees.
The better your company does, the more it grows until you’re adding more and more employees. This is great for sales, brand recognition, and usually for the bottom line. However, the more you grow and the more spread out your team becomes, the further away they can get from that original mission.
As many of you know, I used to work for the Boy Scouts, who are headquartered in Dallas, TX. Well, I didn’t work anywhere near Dallas (Wisconsin and Ohio), and the joke was always the farther away you got from Dallas the less strict you were with the policies and procedures. Now, don’t get me wrong there was never anything improper going on, but there was also a lot of truth in that statement, and I know the same is true for many companies….especially those with teams that are spread across the globe.
The more spread out you are, the bigger your opportunities…and the challenges. You’ve got to make sure you give your sales team all the tools they need to be successful (Pro tip: check out this case study about how we helped a company do just that), but you also need them to understand your mission and culture. Sometimes this is the biggest challenge of all.
This is where your internal communication becomes so important. Obviously you want to take advantage of any opportunity you might have to get all your team together. Sometimes this can happen in unconventional ways. For instance, if your entire national sales team is going to be at a conference, maybe you tack on an extra day or two and bring your office staff to join them out of the office. Perhaps you bring them to the office in groups or as a unit to introduce new products or tools, and get feedback from them. Other times it is email, phone calls, conference calls, web meetings, and the like. Whatever the opportunity, you need to connect to your team as often as you can (without being so intrusive that they cannot do their work). When you are getting together, you’ll want to make sure you do three things:
- Listen – get their feedback on what’s working and what isn’t. Let them tell you how you can better support them. They’re often your front line when it comes to the customers, and their input will be invaluable.
- Talk About Mission – remind them what your goals are. Why do you do what you do. Going back to my Boy Scout days I remember our Scout Executive would end every meeting with one simple phrase that always drove this home, “remember, it’s all about the kids”. Six words that kept us focused on why we were working so hard.
- Convey Your Culture…and let them be a part of it. This is more challenging the further you are from your home base. Unlike mission, you’ve got a company culture. Are you the hard working, blue-collar company, the suit and tie power-brokers? Whatever your culture is, you want to make sure you talk about it, and that you include your team as much as possible. They’re your front line, and you want them to represent your company the same as if they were based in the corporate office. The only way they can do that is if they understand and feel like they are a part of the company.
If you can do those three things, you’ll make the most of the time you have together, and you’ll find that your company will get stronger and stronger.
We’ve helped numerous companies with their internal communications to improve company operations, as well as providing terrific tools for their team to use with external clients. If this is something your company could use help with, give us a call and let’s talk about you!