A common complaint heard among business leaders is that their employees aren’t strategic enough, or that they’re not taking action to drive the leader’s strategy forward.

However, in many cases, the employees don’t even know what the strategy is, sometimes because managers tend to approach corporate communications as “one and done.”

Communicate the strategy five times

If you have a new strategic direction or a critical initiative to share with the team, find five different ways to share it.

For example, if you want your remote marketing team to prioritise your Q4 product upgrade:

  1. Share why that’s the priority in a team stand-up meeting.
  2. Follow that meeting up with an email recap, outlining the talking points from your meeting.
  3. Discuss the product upgrade during each one-on-one meeting that week and ask each employee to share their initial thoughts, reactions, and questions.
  4. Assign them a brainstorming activity tied to the product launch.
  5. The following week, have each team member share their best ideas during your team stand-up, and then send out recap notes from that meeting via email.

The bottom line is to never assume that one email or one meeting will drive the point home. If you claim something is critical to your strategy, demonstrate that in your actions and communications. If you want your employees to think and behave more strategically, prompt them to do so.

Keeping remote workers inspired and motivated

How can leaders keep all their employees performing to their potential – regardless of location – all motivated and inspired to work towards the joint mission?

Inspiring and motivating teams is a universal leadership skill and fundamentally, it all starts with communication. Motivating employees to perform at their best requires leaders to think carefully and strategically about how they communicate with employees.

You must first build relationships with your employees, get to know them and earn their trust. Once you’ve built that relationship, don’t shy away from the tough conversations, and check that you consistently:

  • Set clear expectations, reinforce them, and address it when those expectations aren’t met.
  • Approach difficult situations in a way that shows your employees you care about their success.
  • Frame your conversations in a way that helps employees think about behavioural changes they might need to make to perform better.

Also, giving your team members visibility into what their peers are working on can be a big motivator. Especially for remote employees, it is difficult to know how other team members spend their time, or on which projects as they may not regularly see what a colleague working on. But, if a manager shines a spotlight on a peers’ achievements, others will want to rise to the challenge. Seeing wins in action inspires more wins for the future.

By keeping these key recommendations in mind, you can ensure your employees remain motivated and working towards the same ultimate goal, even when tasked with varying sub-projects.

If you’d like to learn more about managing a remote workforce, check out “The top five challenges of managing a distributed workforce” here.