If you buy into the philosophy that engaged employees and more productive, how then do you manage the same level of engagement with remote employees that you hardly ever see and only collaborate with over the end of a phone?
Many workforces are virtual, and I know many managers that have some employees they have literally never seen in person. Not only is it difficult to manage virtual employees but it’s even harder to try and get to know them in any tangible way. That’s where behavioral assessments can help play a helping role.
By understanding the preferences for the way a virtual employee likes to work, you can adjust your management style to either mitigate, or take advantage of their unique behaviors to both yours and their advantage.
Let’s talk about a few different types of virtual employees and how the insights gained have such a big impact:
1. The “Collaborative”: Collaborative employees, who like to work in teams and socialize with companions, have to get their “fix” of people time. If you don’t give it to them as a manager, then they will get it outside of work (family, coffee shops, neighbors). Some of this might detract from work, so make sure that you spend some time on Skype each week 1-1 and with the team to make sure they feel included.
2. The “Non-Responsive”: These employees absolutely work hard, but they tend to jump on tasks and requests according to priority. The result is that you may feel like they are ignoring you when they got the message, but shuffled it away in favor of something more important. Be clear with these people about expectations and deadlines and ask for confirmation if you’re unsure of what they’re spending their immediate time on.
3. The “Detailed Problem Solver”: Ever get to the 6th agenda item on your conference call and realize that someone is still stuck on item 1? They’re not slow, they’re just attracted to solving problems like a moth to a flame. If your first item of business was an initiative to try and figure out a business solution to a problem, it’s tough for them to pass it up without getting involved in the details (to the point where they might be tuning you out). Be clear about the expectations of calls and when it’s time to listen, and when it’s time to execute.
There are many types of virtual employee, each with their own unique method and preference of working. Their behaviors are their strengths, but also your challenge to understand and leverage to get the most engagement for the good of the team.
Do you have a virtual worker you would like to know more about? Drop us an email and we’ll let you assess their behaviors to see how you can maximize their engagement.