While the pandemic has changed the face of the workplace overnight, with business continuity depending on a global digital transformation to the virtual workplace, remote work is not a new phenomenon. For thousands of years, leaders have been managing people that are distributed, and there is a formula that predicts success.
- How is that some rulers were able to lead their nation to great prosperity when others failed?
- How did successful generals overseeing thousands of soldiers dispersed across vast lands still manage to fulfill their missions successfully?
- How are today's greatest leaders overseeing Fortune 500 companies with thousands of employees spread across different campuses still able to be profitable?
More than crisis management, working from home is a growth strategy, and we're going to show you how your MOM is the biggest predictor of your ability oversee a remote workforce successfully.
When I was nineteen years old, I had the good fortune of being hired into a Fortune 500 company. It's still one of the leading Financial Services companies in the world today. The city where I worked was host to their five campuses, and they eventually bought a mall to house their ever-growing workforce. As I was in technology, I found it necessary to interact with all the divisions, and while I occasionally visited the various campuses in person, the bulk of my work was conducted remotely.
Since that time, I've overseen various large-scale projects, and in all cases, they involved a dispersed team. We didn't sit next to one another physically, but we got the job done. Ask any Regional Manager, and they will nod their head in agreement that it's not physical proximity that determines success but something else.
Interestingly, businesses are required to engage remotely with customers every day. They've proven they can serve and work with customers successfully without asking their customers to move in and live in their office building.
So why is there still a debate around remote work, and how do you make remote work actually WORK for you? Answering the first part of that question is rather simple. If you are having "trouble" with remote workers, it is much easier to blame "remote work" as the problem than taking accountability for the issues that need to be faced in your organization. (Ouch!) Remote work isn't the problem, but rather your management of it is. (Double ouch.)
Don't worry. We're here to help you debunk the myths and show you how using your MOM can make the difference in successfully engaging your team. MOM is an acronym that you can use to help you evaluate and understand the areas within your organization that may need attention.
We realize this seems pretty basic but allow us to state the obvious. You are only as good as the managers in your organization. Good management is what brings about success. If you don't have good management, you will not have success. The issues that you have sitting physically next to a person in your office will be the same issues you will have with a remote workforce. The bigger question is "What does good management look like?" (There are thousands of books on this topic alone.) Some of the basic principles include making sure that you are connected, that you are actually being involved, and that you're not just assuming that all the members of your workforce know what they are doing. According to Gallup, only half of employees know what is expected of them at work.
An interesting exercise I love to give executives is to have them walk through one of their divisions. Take a look randomly at one of the employees under your direction and ask yourself this question: "Do I know what this person is working on specifically today?" You'd be surprised to learn how many leaders don't have that level of insight into their people.
Creating a healthy culture of engagement starts with your employees understanding how their work contributes to success, and having managers who can equally speak to that individual's contribution. This is not an exercise in micro-management but an overall approach to your management.
Remember: the problems you have working with a group in a physical building will be the same problems you have with a remote workforce. When you apply the same level of management expertise to all your staff, you will see how performance issues equally affect your team regardless of their location.
Operational processes are not the sort of thing that lend themselves to inspiring TED Talks or getting teams excited. In short, they are boring, but you must have great operational processes in place to engage your employees. What that means is that as part of your processes, you must be the active embodiment of what you expect of your staff.
One of the mistakes that many leaders and managers make is that they have a remote workforce, but they've never actually tried working remotely themselves. If you want to have a successful remote workforce, then you have to understand exactly what that experience is like. By deciding to work regularly from a remote location (and not just as a one-time experiment), you will know exactly what processes are necessary to design and develop for your managers.
This is something that everyone is getting an abundance of experience in since COVID-19 lockdowns changed the way that most businesses were forced to do business virtually overnight.
At InspireHUB, we have designed a number of processes (along with an approach to what we value) that are now just second nature in our company. One of the most important things you can do with your remote workforce from a process perspective is making sure to replicate in the virtual space all those things that would normally happen within the environment of a traditional physical office.
For example, if every morning there is an informal update that happens in the kitchen between team members who share what they are working on that day, then you need to intentionally recreate that experience virtually. At InspireHUB, our teams meet every morning on video chat (coffees in hand) for 15-minute stand-ups that ensure we are connecting.
Do not underestimate the power of successful operational processes. Having proper engagement systems in place can address many issues. This includes nullifying resentment that can build between "offsite" and "onsite" employees by increasing trust and transparency. This only happens when you've designed the systems to facilitate successful engagement.
M - Measurement
You know how Mom's have a tendency to remind you annoyingly of the stuff you already know? The final element you must have in your organization is measurement, and it's something you already know. The effectiveness of measurement is determined by the tools you use, whether a management approach or an actual piece of technology.
At InspireHUB, we have made this our mission. We created the award-winning IHUBApp™ Digital Experience Platform (DXP) that helps organizations boost their engagement and track success through detailed analytics and reporting. It allows our customers to see how employees are engaging with their communications. We get rid of things like email fatigue where important communications can often get lost, and our technology ensures that everyone is getting notified in real-time about important messages.
The IHUBApp is the platform of choice for small business communicators looking to build community and easily manage their multiple audience touch-points across a number of channels. We make it easy for those with large, diverse audiences to provide a digital experience to their users that is personal, accessible and secure.
We are a technology company, and while we use theIHUBApp™ for ourselves (always a good sign), it's not the only tool we use. Your tool selection for your team is going to be critical. In our case, we have various development and project management tools that we use to get our work done. We combine all this with really great people in management and excellent operational processes, creating an environment of success.
We're here to help!
If you're looking to better engage your workforce, we would love to show you how the IHUBApp and our implementation approach can help you take your engagement to the next level.
The award-winning IHUBApp™ Digital Experience Platform was created for the small business who is ready to soar. We've been working 100% remotely since 2013. The entire goal of building our platform was to help small, under-resourced organizations who were disconnected be able to build community and engage across vast distances.
At InspireHUB, we get it. We've been a 100% remote workplace for more than 7 years, and are the first to admit we were UN-InspireHUB while we learned to grow into it.
We put this book together because we saw so many people struggling as they've had to adapt to this new way of working overnight.
We had the luxury of choosing it and growing into it, and discovering what a profitable, productive and HAPPY way of working it can be! It's given us the chance to experiment a lot and find what works best, so being able to share those resources and best practices with others felt like a good thing to do.
Here's how you can use it to grow YOUR small business too ...
Looking for more small business help?
The Ultimate Small Business Survival Guide is Here
We've been helping InspireHUB clients not just survive during this time but THRIVE! We collected all of our advice and made it available for FREE as our great big give-back during this difficult time. Included in this FREE Guide:
- Transformation Readiness Assessment
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As the Coronavirus has spread around the world, businesses are requiring employees to work from home and grappling with the practical implications of suddenly needing to manage a distributed workforce.
InspireHUB is a 100% remote company and has been managing an international staff of digital nomads for over five years. As the creator of the IHUBApp Digital Experience Platform, we also have had agencies and clients use our platform to build employee hubs to help improve their connection and engagement.
From this unique vantage point, we decided to share the internal guidelines and tips that have helped us become high-performers and produce at the award-winning level with the hopes of you making the most of the situation. Read more now...
The global pandemic has left many small business owners uncertain of their future and grappling with the reality that almost overnight the commerce world as we know it has become almost exclusively an online model. For small businesses that rely on their retail and physical storefronts to produce revenue, this transformation can be daunting. It’s important to understand that if ever there was a time to move your business into the digital world, that time is now. The sooner, the better in fact. It won’t just help reduce the loss of revenue but will continue to serve you in the future.
We’ve got some practical ideas to help you quickly make the digital jump your business needs to survive. Our skilled team has helped clients achieve this in one weekbecause of our experience. While youmay ot be able to move as fast, you can still get moving, and we hope this article will help to rescue many more businesses and jobs then what we can get to.