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Fostering relationships with remote employees

Dec. 14, 2020
During this time when managers are having fewer face-to-face interactions with their teams, it is more important than ever to work on fostering relationships with employees to keep them connected to the organization.

Under the best of circumstances, managing people can be difficult. Add in the COVID-19 pandemic and the situation becomes worse as many managers are not seeing their employees in person as regularly as they once did

I was recently on a webinar entitled Bringing Human Connection Back To Management, sponsored by Blueboard, an employee recognition and incentives platform. The webinar offered strategies to help managers build stronger relationships, especially during this time when many of us are working virtually.

The panelists emphasized the importance of one-on-one meetings as an opportunity for managers to connect with employees. These meetings need to be more than just status updates; the time should be used to clarify and prioritize goals, recognize accomplishments and give and receive feedback.

Given the increased stress all of us are under right now, consider starting these meetings by simply asking the employee how they are feeling.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the flow and frequency of these meetings. Leave it up to the employee to determine whether the get-togethers will take place via video conferencing or over the phone.

Give the employee ownership over the agenda and let him or her set the frequency, date and time for the meeting. Make sure employees understand that they are the only ones who can cancel the meeting. You, as the manager, are committing to them to be available at the day and time of their choosing for these regular check-ins. This helps to build trust between managers and employees and demonstrates to employees that the manager is truly interested in them and that they are willing to discuss issues that are important to their workforce.

Managers need to make sure they are open to hearing any feedback employees may have and recognize that it can be difficult for some employees to offer feedback to their managers. The webinar panelists suggested managers use the stop/start/continue model. Ask the employee what they would like you to stop doing, what they would like you to start doing and what things you should continue doing.

During this time when managers are having fewer face-to-face interactions with their teams, it is more important than ever to work on fostering relationships with employees to keep them connected to the organization.

Jane Clark focuses on managing the member services operation at NationaLease as vice president of member services. She works to strength member relationships, reduce member costs, and improve collaboration within the NationaLease supporting groups.

About the Author

Jane Clark | Senior VP of Operations

Jane Clark is Senior Vice President, Operations for NationaLease. Prior to joining NationaLease, Jane served as Area Vice President for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Companies, Pro Staff, and Manpower, Inc.

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