“How do you build effective working relations with a new employee in a remote working environment?”
This question was asked during our recent Effectively Leading Remote Employees webinar. Here are some tips that can help you manage through this tricky situation:
- First and foremost, make sure that this person gets sufficient 1:1 time with you by scheduling not only video conference meetings to talk about the job and expectations, but also to get to know the person. Video chat lunches can be very effective, as well as beginning and/or end of week check-ins.
- Check-in often throughout the week to see how they are doing and if they have questions. Make sure they know it’s OK to reach out to you when needed. The person doesn’t know you yet, so they may feel uncomfortable contacting you too often with their questions and concerns.
- Assign some fun activities, such as a team or company “scavenger hunt” where they have to find information by reaching out to other team members (e.g. “find out which team member like to raise golden retrievers” or “find out from someone what sales record our division broke last year“).
- Give them an opportunity to introduce themselves at a team meeting. Start your meetings with all team members sharing some “fun facts” about themselves.
- Finally, assign them a buddy. Someone on the team that can look out for them, tell them the “unwritten rules” of the team or organization they need to know about to help them be ready for meetings or other interactions. Ask the buddy to be sure to schedule some quality time with them as well, getting to know them as a person.
Building relationships when leading a remote team can be challenging, but you can have great success if you take some purposeful actions to communicate effectively, build trust, and establish clear expectations.