Building Remote Employee Trust
Remote manager Dan Belmont, a chief marketing officer, says he makes himself part of their “network” by working beside employees. “If you’re in the trenches doing the work,” he says, “you’re not just perceived as someone who is managing people and processes.” Belmont makes himself available to brainstorm or solve problems and typically spends an hour a week on the phone with each of his 14 remote employees. Five other ways to build trust include:
- Be available. Don’t let employee calls go to voicemail. When you absolutely can’t be reached, reply ASAP.
- Beware of using sarcasm and teasing in distance interactions, like email and conference calls, where signals can easily get crossed.
- Handle sensitive issues with discretion. One team member might say that another is having a bad day. He’ll immediately call the person having the bad day, without exposing the colleague who told him.
- Communicate in a variety of ways (email, phone, in person, etc.) and often.
- Visit employees on their turf. It shows respect for their time and interest in their life outside the job.
Source: Kelly Pate Dwyer. “How to Manage Employees in Remote Locations,” BNET Crash Course 12/13/07. http://www.bnet.com/2403-13068_23-165147.html.
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