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How to foster a high-performance culture remotely

If high-performance culture is on your mind right now, you’re not alone. In times of upheaval it pays to have a tight-knit team on your side.

This is especially true if circumstances necessitate a remote work arrangement on top of everything else you’re trying to keep on an even keel. Here are a few ways to develop and sustain a high-performance culture when your players are scattered.

Check your own attitude about remote working

Start by understanding the value of remote working and checking your attitude about it. The Corporate Leadership Council published a study which found that managers have a tremendous impact on their employees’ levels of commitment to the team, organisation and job. However, we’re sure you knew that already – a bad attitude has a way of trickling down the pecking order and affecting everyone on a team, especially if it comes from high up.

If you’re currently finding it hard to stay positive about managing your remote team, it may help to keep in mind that there are plenty of studies out there that have shown that remote working has valuable effects on employee productivity, happiness and wellbeing in general.

For instance, Nicholas Bloom and graduate student James Liang gave the staff at a Chinese call centre the opportunity to volunteer to work from home for nine months. They collected performance data and survey responses to determine how it affected corporate culture and work performance. The result? In comparison with the control group of employees who came into the office, the at-home workers were happier, more productive and less likely to quit.

If you’re concerned about keeping connected to your remote team, check out these Fresh ideas for motivating and rewarding top performers remotely.

Keen on some more happy news? This article by Global Workplace Analytics lists the benefits of telecommuting, which includes reduced unscheduled absences, improved employee satisfaction, fewer wasted meetings, talent pool expansion, increased collaboration and more. Good stuff!

Work out the kinks on your communication set-up

One of the main reasons why many companies kick against the idea of remote work, even when the nature of the business actually makes it completely possible, is because they believe it will be too difficult to keep their team on the same page. Happily, this no longer needs to be the case at all. One of the major benefits of living in the technological age is the sheer abundance of amazing communication platforms we have at our disposal.

These days, project platforms like Monday, Wrike, Trello and Jira allow you to stay on top of a project with features such as bird’s eye project views, time management tracking, dependency settings and so much more. Not to mention easy-to-use communication platforms like Slack, Skype and Zoom, for example.

The trick lies in finding the tech mix that works for your team. Most employees are happy to adapt to a new platform or two if you can demonstrate that it will count in their favour to do so. However, if it gets to the point where you’re using tech for tech’s sake, and everyone has to figure out a new system and figure out new processes every week, there is likely to be kickback and behind-the-scenes watercooler grumbling.

Here’s a tip: Check in with every member of your team individually with regard to their home connectivity. Not every South African family has the wherewithal to afford a top-notch router and Wi-Fi setup for personal use. Additionally, some of your employees may currently have school-age children at home who need to access data and bandwidth to keep up with their schoolwork. It may be worth your while to check if certain employees could benefit from a dongle or extra data to run a hotspot from their smartphone if they have issues with connectivity that could affect their productivity.

Set clear goal posts so your employees know what’s expected

One of the most important questions you need to ask yourself when you’re evaluating remote employee engagement is whether your team knows what’s expected of them. Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D., erstwhile chairman of American analytics and advisory company, wrote in his book Soar With Your Strengths, that ‘nothing will happen until someone expects something of you in a way that you can achieve’. As an HR manager or team leader, this should be a vital component of your approach to building a high-performance culture. After all, your employees can only be held accountable for what is expected of them, and this is especially true when they are working remotely at a time of great pressure and uncertainty.

Up the ante on employee recognition and rewards

Regular employee recognition and rewards are some of the most important cornerstones of a healthy, happy company culture. In times of social distancing, this vital step in the employee engagement lineup becomes even more important. After all, statistics tell us that highly engaged teams show a 21% greater profitability and for every 1% increase in employee engagement, you can expect to see an additional 0.6% growth in sales for an organisation. This is key if you want your business to stay on an even keel when market forces are wholly unpredictable.

Rewards don’t need to be incredibly expensive to be effective either. You can spend as much as your budget allows on popular, personal choice rewards like gift cards, shopping cards, online shopping cards and digital vouchers. It’s the broader rewards experience – the delivery, the timing, the message – that makes people feel truly rewarded. And in these days of social distancing, purely digital rewards like vouchers and online shopping cards are a perfect way to enjoy the pleasure of rewards shopping while avoiding crowds and close physical contact.

Following these guidelines will smooth the way for you to develop and maintain a high-performance culture while your team works from home. Who knows? You could very well find that productivity skyrockets!

In the meantime, feel free to get in touch with the GET Rewards team if you want to discuss your options for rewarding your customers, channel partners and employees in ways that lead to deeper engagement and lasting loyalty.


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