6 Ways to Motivate Your Remote Team

There will come a time when the employees on your remote team are not hitting goals, doing the very minimum of their work, or completely distracting themselves. If this is going on longer than a month, something has to be done because your business will start to suffer. Maybe it’s not the individual’s fault, maybe the structure of how you manage the team doesn’t keep them motivated. If you are struggling with ideas to how to motivate your employees spread out over the world, here are a few ideas that have worked for other teams. 

1. Give Rewards and Incentives  

Handing out rewards for hitting certain team sales goals or quarterly goals is a popular way to motivate and incentivize a team. These can be seasonally based incentives, like renting out an amusement park for the summer or going to a fall festival. If your team is spread all over the country, you can incentivize with bonuses, gift cards, or even company retreat if your budget permits. To maximize motivation do individual goals and rewards along with company goals and rewards. It’s possible that not all team members will be motivated to work together on goals, but most likely everyone will be motivated by getting performance bonuses, commissions, and raises. Managing a remote team isn’t the same as managing an office, but don’t let that limit the ways you can incentivize your employees. Get creative. An incentive can make the remote team come together.

2. Redesign Jobs 

A lot of managers overlook the design of their employee’s job description. If you have had an employee who has worked for you for a year, they may get burned out from doing the same all day everyday. As you get to know your employees, look and see what their strengths and weaknesses are so you can give them more responsibility to motivate and improve their productivity. There are many ways to redesign jobs such as: 

  • Job Expansion: Increasing the tasks in a position to create variety. 

  • Job Circling: Assigning staff to different positions for a temporary amount of time. This will allow employees to develop skills in different aspects of the job that could help them perform better in their own specific role.

  • Job Revamp: This involves increasing the task variety, responsibility, and authority of the position. It is vital to ensure that the skills the job requires are matched by the abilities of the employee’s strengths and weaknesses. 

3. Offer Progressive Feedback 

Prompting progressive feedback informs the employees of the effects of their actions on the company. According to the theory of goal-setting, a company’s staff gets its motivation from goal-setting and reception of prompt and progressive feedback on where they stand concerning the goals. Research also shows that employees are motivated when they realize they are progressing. It is essential to be specific in your feedback. For instance, avoid saying things like ‘excellent job’ and instead be specific like stating that the member of staff was organized in their presentation, had a succinct style of public speaking, and employed great citations for the project. Whether it’s a message on Skype, a thoughtful email, feedback during videochat or a phone call, be sure to take the time to passalong progressive feedback to your remote teammate. The employee is highly likely to apply these strong points in their next project when they are identified and praised.

4. Believe in Your Teammates 

Employees who feel they are screw-ups or an obstacle to the progress of the team will quickly lose motivation. It’s better to present errors or weaknesses in a different context as opposed to bluntly showing your team members how you feel about them. Convey to your employee that you know they can do better and that they are capable and smart. Help them understand that it is because of your faith in them that you expect more from them than they are currently offering. Schedule time to chat with them over these concerns 1:1 on a call or hangout, especially if there is a time zone difference. Transformational leadership is characterized by the perception of leaders’ trust. When attempting to motivate employees for a major project, always consider this approach. 

5. Make Rewards Achievable 

The annual bonus trip award for best performing employees is popular. The issue with such rewards is that they are awarded to only a few employees. The remaining members of the team feel like they don’t need to put a lot of effort because the reward will be awarded to the same individuals. In Vroom’s equation of expectancy, employees require seeing that the needed performance and related reward are possible to achieve. Come up with a series of rewards within the year to provide motivation for performance excellence. For instance, as opposed to a yearly trip, award numerous three-day getaways after every three months. Provide a variation for the reward basis from top sales, to top research, to most diligent, and so on. Numerous measurements of excellence will offer motivation to your team members to concentrate on more areas of their performance. 

6. Make Expectations Clear 

Employees who lack clear goals are usually working without a clear direction. Offer employees achievable and clear goals while ensuring standards are in place to measure their performance. Expectancy theory by Victor Vroom supports the notion that staff members must know the desired actions and that the desired performance will be yielded. When employees have clear goals, understand what is expected of them, and have solid guidelines to follow, your employee net promoter score will improve and as a result you team will achieve greater success. 

As a remote team leader, motivating employees should be a top priority because the success of your team depends on it. Let’s face it, if your employees aren’t motivated, it can affect customers, reputation, and money. The best part about motivating your employees is you get to look at your business in a different way and make it better. This will improve your company culture and positively affect your brand. Work will be more enjoyable, employees will be happier, and you will be helping your remote team find effective life-work balance.

This guest blog post is brought to you by Kevin Gardner. He graduated with a BS in Computer Science and an MBA from UCLA. He works as a business consultant for InnovateBTS where he helps companies integrate technology to improve performance. He shares his knowledge and expertise not only with his clients but with his fellow bloggers and readers. Follow him on Twitter @kevgardner.