How to create engagement and motivation with remote teams


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One of the challenges many leaders are facing is how to continue engaging with teams now that lockdown is no longer a novelty. Although some organisations are preparing for an imminent return, many see remote working being the norm for a while yet.

Many leaders are doing the big things really well. Practical actions like weekly huddles, daily stand-ups and coffee and connects provide the foundations. Extra-curricular offerings like Zoom yoga, mindfulness sessions and Friday lunches provide the scaffolding.

But leaders are also recognising that everyone is different and that what might fire up one person, totally turns off another.

As the need for personalised engagement intensifies, what can you do to make all your people feel valued so that they continue to perform at their best? And how can you create spontaneous moments to connect now that ‘bumping into’ them is no longer an option?

Employee engagement is defined as ‘an individual’s voluntary commitment to their organisation’s success’. The key word here is ‘voluntary’: you can’t force it. But you can encourage it. Now it’s about the little things. Personalised actions that show people you care.

Here are five strategies you can implement straight away:

  1. Hang out: create moments for spontaneous conversation by joining a call early and saying you’ll stay on at the end – these are often the times when people open up.
  2. Be curious: one of the benefits of remote working is that we’ve all had a unique insight into each other’s lives. So decide to be fascinated by who they are, and remember the little things they share that give you an insight into their worlds.
  3. Emphasize to engage: much of the subtleties of communication are lost through a 2D screen. To counter this, evidence your emotions. If you’re excited, show it. If you’re proud or grateful, say so.
  4. Face up: it’s difficult to open up to someone whose face in the shadows. Make sure your face is well lit so people can see your expressions. Get closer to your camera to build rapport. And watch out for your ‘resting face’, if your camera is on, you’re visible all the time…
  5. Walk and talk: many people find the whole ‘cameras on’ thing tiring and even intrusive. Instead, suggest a ‘walking meeting’. No intense eye-balling, the act of moving forward together encourages openness and exploration and, bonus, you both get some fresh air!

What little things are you doing, or advising people do, to create engagement with your teams?

For more information about the online courses Antoinette and her team are delivering to support leaders in lockdown, contact her at antoinette@gravitasprogramme.com



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