Feedback and recognition are critical to enhancing the collaboration and ultimate success of remote work teams.
Today’s guest post is by Shiela Mie Legaspi, President — Cyberbacker
The rise of remote work has made it increasingly more appealing to workforces around the world, but the benefits are not without their own set of challenges. A lack of physical proximity can inhibit communication, tasks can need tweaking, and team dynamics can require fine-tuning.
Luckily, every challenge brings an opportunity for growth. In the case of optimizing virtual team collaboration and enhancing remote team success, the opportunity lies in a smarter use of performance recognition and feedback.
The new paradigm of recognition in remote teams
A recent study on employee recognition reveals that 92% of workers are more likely to repeat a specific action after receiving recognition for it, and over 40% of working Americans feel they would put more energy into their work if recognized more often.
Recognition is an essential part of the engagement equation that should be part of your performance management process. It is especially important in the case of remote teams because these employees otherwise tend to work in isolation, meaning they need to feel that their contributions are seen and appreciated in order to remain fully engaged and productive. When managers provide positive feedback, team members feel valued by the organization and connected to the team’s efforts.
Whether recognition is formal or informal, make sure that it reinforces behavior that supports your company’s goals and values. You can do this by tying it into goals or performance metrics so that the recipient understands how their work contributed toward meeting them.
Feedback as a catalyst for engagement in remote teams
Feedback is a key part of building a successful team, but it’s important to recognize that feedback is a two-way street — it must be given and received by both parties. As such, it’s vital that you make sure everyone understands how they can provide effective feedback and receive it in return.
Both positive and negative feedback are important to effective performance recognition. Positive feedback reinforces behaviors you want to see more of, while negative feedback helps your team improve their performance.
To create an environment where people feel comfortable giving and receiving positive and negative feedback on their performance, establish clear guidelines for what constitutes good work, ensure that everyone knows what’s expected, and encourage open communication. In such an environment, team members understand how their actions impact others and discuss issues — rather than letting them fester — meaning they tend to experience higher morale and avoid project delays.
Feedback frequency and impact
When delivering either positive or negative feedback, timing is everything! The sooner you provide feedback, the more likely it will be received positively. With this in mind, build opportunities for communication into your team’s schedule.
The frequency of feedback will vary depending on the nature of your business or organization’s culture. Some managers prefer weekly meetings, whereas others prefer daily communication to keep everyone on track and avoid miscommunication. Remote team leaders must find a routine that works with their schedules and those of their team members.
The role of technology in feedback for remote teams
Remote workers often struggle with feeling disconnected. Because they’re not physically together in the same office environment, it can be difficult for managers and employees to convey everything they are doing to contribute toward the common goal.
As a manager, you can use technology to enhance the feedback process. Multiple communication apps such as Slack or task management platforms such as Asana deliver, track, and can even analyze feedback data. Furthermore, platforms like Motivacity enable managers to share recognition with remote teams in real time.
For feedback that is best delivered in person, online scheduling apps like Calendly and video conferencing platforms such as Zoom facilitate quick virtual meetings, which allow team members to provide guidance and feedback remotely without writing everything down. If needed, the meeting’s information can be collected via video recording software.
Virtual team bonding through feedback
Both recognition and feedback are critical components of building successful remote teams. Recognition, for instance, is the acknowledgment of an employee’s contribution to the group. It can be a simple “thank you” or pat on the back; it can also come in the form of a formal raise or praise at an annual review.
More than anything else, recognition builds relationships, encourages virtual team collaboration, and enhances remote team success. In addition to its role in creating rapport among members of remote teams, recognition promotes reciprocity. This is the idea that people tend to give back what they’ve been given by others.
Feedback focuses on how individuals can improve their performance in order to achieve future goals. It also helps people learn from past mistakes and avoid repeating them.
Constructive feedback is a proactive means of keeping a successful, engaged team on track. To be effective, this feedback must be frequent, specific, constructive, and actionable.
It’s easy to lose sight of how remote employees contribute to the bigger picture, but regular feedback and recognition keep each team member improving and feeling good about his or her contributions. These two powerful tools enable you to build strong relationships with coworkers and conquer tasks collaboratively — no matter how far-flung team members happen to be.
Shiela Mie Legaspi is the President of Cyberbacker, the leading provider of virtual assistance and administrative support services from anywhere to anywhere. She empowers growth-minded business owners with world-class economic leverage to fulfill their greatest purpose. Legaspi is an expert on career coaching in the remote workplace, and she leads the company to organizational excellence through her work centered around workforce experience. She excels in people management and teaches others how to lead with integrity, purpose, and passion. Read more from Shiela on Chief Executive, Employee Benefit News, HR Daily Advisor, California Business Journal, and Newsweek.
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