Co-written by VP Legacies and Kimberly Goodwin

Transnational corporations are on the rise, and with that the rise of remote employees. With cloud technology and an increasing number of communication tools such as Slack, Google apps, and Workday, companies are able to expand across the world. It has become the norm for employees to be working outside a central headquarters in various places around the world. But it does have some challenges when it comes to personally connecting with remote employees. This means trying to manage and connect with employees outside of the company’s headquarters abiding by different business practices in different states and countries. This may also mean that for some remote employees, their “office” is their home, creating little to no in-person interaction with their colleagues and managers.

Managing remote employees isn’t just employees who work from home; it includes the relationship between corporate headquarters and their branches. A lot of times, there is miscommunication between corporate and branch offices, especially with new company-wide policies and procedures. Managers of remote branches need help to identify problems that less profitable or inefficient branches might have and address them in order to increase productivity. Without being face-to-face, remote workers have a hard time communicating both qualitative and quantitative information in a clear, concise way for their managers to understand. Lastly, managers need to train their employees to work autonomously without supervision, but also be able to freely ask questions.

Here are three ways managers can boost remote employee engagement:

1) Build Trust

Employees want to feel like they are valued on both a personal and professional level by their managers. They want to feel confident in the work that they do from both their managers and their colleagues. This is the foundation for building trust with employees. At the end of the day, remote employees want someone to believe in them and their work. Managers can give employees a challenging task that can help build their confidence and ensure they trust their work. And when managers connect with remote employees, it yields better work output and relationships among co-workers. Managers want their remote employees to feel comfortable sharing information about their projects or team dynamic without fear of judgement or criticism. While it’s hard to do this face-to-face, just providing open and honest communication can make a huge difference in remote employee engagement, resulting in employees being able to work autonomously without manager supervision while reaching out for the things that matter.

2) Share Story Details

Managers struggle to know what their remote employees are up to on a day-to-day basis or how they spent their weekend. They want to be in the loop in order to personally connect and build a relationship with their employees. Sharing story details is a great way to build a connection with employees so they know a little bit more about them and what their interests are — even if they are thousands of miles away. By sharing a few details to create deeper conversation than just small talk on calls, managers can glean some insight into the lives of their employees. Asking for, listening to and knowing the details of an employees story will make them feel more comfortable and connected. Managers also want to hear about any issues happening in terms of employees communication. They want the details of what is going on to take into account to make the environment better. Additionally, by connecting with remote employees, managers are able to get more qualitative and quantitative information from their employees, especially with regards to projects they are working on. This gives managers a better sense of the big picture so they can better communicate their employees’ work to others within the company.

3) Embrace Emotion

About 90 percent of decisions made on a daily basis are rooted in emotion. So it’s important for managers to speak to the emotions that drive employees, and make the work they are doing emotionally resonate with them. By doing so,  you will increase their qualitative and quantitative output. By discovering the emotional root of an employee, you will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your remote employees. Remote employees want to feel as though they are part of a team in an environment where healthy conflict is encouraged to receive their honest input. As a result, managers foster an environment of healthy collaboration rooted in the emotions that drive their employees to succeed.

Personal connection can be tough for managers if they are far away from their employees, but by building trust, sharing story details, and embracing emotion, managers can close the gap between them and their remote employees in no time.

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