Why have employers to motivate and engage people in working activities? Statistics won’t lie: 71% of top-managers and executives believe that employee engagement strongly affects the company's success. Numbers say that companies with the high engagement of their employees are 21% more profitable.
Still, the modern environment, when most IT specialists work from homes, requires innovative motivation methods. This situation brings new challenges, thus, coping with them means getting to another level of ‘corporate evolution’. If you have built a highly-motivated team with a fantastic engagement score once, that means that your next projects will only flourish.
So, keep calm and read our tips for motivating remote teams. And you will be surprised by the results of their implementation! 😉
1. Becoming Friends with Every Newcomer
First, a new employee contacts a recruiter, an HR manager, and their team lead or, if it’s a leading position, an executive they will report to.
New team members should feel involved in this mini community:
- Ask them not only about professional achievements and cases but their personal goals, interests, hobbies. Don’t go too far with questions about private life, keep a healthy distance.
- Be friendly and try to show a newcomer your appreciation. Even if they do something wrong, share the success formula your company commonly uses. That may be hard due to the lack of personal contact, still, messengers and online meeting rooms work well.
- Prepare a series of onboarding emails. Tell new hires where they can find the rules of your company (including the working schedule, bonuses for achieving KPIs, social support, vacation terms, and so on). Show them the knowledge base where they will find more details on the product/project. Share the list of contacts for various inquiries (HRs, admins, etc.).
- Let beginners get comfortable in the team. Create a newsletter or presentation with a short intro of each team member, their role, contacts, and additional information (preferences, hobbies, anything you consider necessary). Also, ask a new hire about their interests and background – this can be done via a brief questionnaire. Set a newsletter with newcomers’ intros for other team members to welcome them.
- Learn about all the problems associated with the project every day. Perhaps, someone needs help or advice from another specialist but is shy to ask personally.
2. Personal and Remote Communication
Working in the office implies interpersonal contacts which motivate themselves. Remote teams are lacking this factor, so they are not as united with all team members as offline teams.
So, what can you do to replace social interactions with online tools?
- Try to focus on video calls, not on emotionless text messages. Knowing how people in the team interact will make a new person feel part of a single united team. Conducting online brainstorms within one team is a brilliant way to engage everyone in the process — even new employees will grasp their contribution to the project.
- Find out whether a newcomer is an extravert or introvert. It’s a fact that many developers prefer to work on their own, while sales and marketing managers can’t live without communication. Work out separate strategies of talking with these people. Probably, text messages are not so ineffective in particular cases. 😉
- Remote work in the global quarantine conditions deprives people of non-working communication. Some teams gather in Skype and chat on non-working topics in the evenings, some employees play online games, some of them watch the same movies simultaneously and then discuss the plot online. This is limited only by your imagination.
3. Clear Process Structure
Every company functionates as a single organism, with its fine-tuned internal processes. If office employees have a chance to ask their colleagues about these processes, remote teams are lacking this privilege.
Finally, you can’t be distracted from your own tasks every five minutes, keep track of mistakes and make recommendations. You have lots of work to do as well!
So, what is the solution?
- Everything concerning how newcomers will perform their work should be written in the process map. It is a map of inner project iterations showing all the stages of working on the project and contacts of people to whom related questions may be addressed.
- The good news is that these processes can be easily tracked in professional tools like Jira. So, once you teach a newcomer how the project works, you won’t need to check their every step. Just go to your management system, see the results and measure employees’ success.
- As a result, employees will not bother you with tons of questions but address responsible people in one centralized system. What’s more, they will be conscious of anticipated results and strive to achieve the highest goals.
- Share a final goal with everyone. Otherwise, employees will be confused by the uncertainty and won’t imagine what should be the result. Consequently, they will do something with no understanding of what that is for. This may be a number of new features/clients, anticipated annual revenue of the product — it depends.
- To provide team members with intermediate short-term objectives, set the KPI system. For example, it can be 2-3 new features coded in a month (for developers), +200 new clients for sales managers, +20 new publications in media for PR managers, and so on. You will be surprised how productive your staff can be, especially if you set bonuses for exceeding the plans.
4. Additional Opportunities and Guarantees
After you have built a great online communication system, introduced management tools, and KPI systems, online streams for all company employees about the latest news and successes.
What else can be done to achieve maximum motivation for remote teams?
- Career growth, future business trips inside the country and abroad (after the global quarantine, of course), a chance of becoming a company partner and receiving dividends work well.
- Remote employees should be officially registered for work, as well as office employees. It’s especially important for full-time employees while freelancers prefer via specialized platforms (Fiverr, Upwork. etc.).
- You can give your remote employees additional guarantees such as participation in the corporate pension insurance system, which requires only small expenses on your part. Also, you can arrange medical insurance for them or outline the scheme according to which they will apply for compensation in case of illness. This will give your staff a sense of reliability and additional incentives to work.
5. Rewards and Bonuses
Financial and material motivation has always been one of the best ways to motivate employees.
Almost nothing new, still, here is what can glue employees to your company:
- Each employee should understand the criteria by which his work is evaluated. This is especially important for remote team members, who are eager to set the size of their salary depending on the amount of work performed.
- Provide people with pleasant surprises for professional success (for outperforming or achieving KPIs). Do your employees like watching Netflix or learning via online courses? Do they have hobbies you can support? You should know the hobbies of all your staff, which will allow you to motivate them with pleasant non-expensive bonuses. For example, these could be a certificate for a hobby course or food delivery.
- Last but the most important thing is a decent salary. This is still one of the most powerful motivators applicable to any specialist in any field.
Prepare Your Motivational To-Do-List
You now can evaluate your motivational tactics. Check what is already implemented in your company and what employees are lacking.
Create a list of points you could introduce and ask your colleagues which of them are necessary for feeling happier with their work. It can be a newsletter with a survey or poll.
Keep in mind that working hours take more than 33% of our Monday-Friday cycles. Someone even spends up to 50% of their time working. So, having comfortable conditions and clear altruistic goals, as well as other perks, might not only increase employees’ engagement but also push them for better productivity.
High motivation might cost money, still, these costs are just nothing compared to revenues made by common achievements of a united and inspired team.