I’ve never ascribed to the notion that my team should be thankful for being employed, or that they somehow owe me or the company a debt for giving them a job. Rather, I endeavor to surround myself with people that humble me with their contributions and skills, people that I am thankful to have the pleasure to know and work with.
As we celebrate the spirit of gratitude this month on The Future of Business Collaboration, it reminded me of a struggle I face as both a manager of remote employees and someone who is often remote themselves: how do you make people feel appreciated when you rarely see them face to face? It’s one thing to give an employee a knowing smile or sincere, heartfelt thank you in person when they’ve done a good job. But how do you bridge the remote work gap and provide those same vital moments virtually?
It’s not always easy to ensure that remote team members feel noticed, appreciated and valued. But with a little planning and consideration, remote managers or managers of remote team members (or both) can spread the spirit of gratitude across their team:
Giving of Gifts
This seems like a no-brainer this time of year, but gift-giving is one of the best and simplest ways to show your appreciation to your team members.
I’m not talking about Secret Santa—I’m talking about you as a manager taking the time to give a little token of your appreciation to the people who work so hard for you year-round.
It doesn’t have to be something extravagant—even something as simple as a gift card lets your team members know you’re thinking of them and are appreciative of the value they bring to your team. And if you’re worried about having to fuss with shipping, there are even some sleek online gift-giving options like GiftRocket you can consider to further break down those distance barriers.
Take the Time to Visibly Acknowledge Accomplishment
Often more powerful than gifts, however, is simply regular acknowledgment that your team is performing well. As managers and leaders it can be easy to get so caught up in our own responsibilities that we forget to take the time to recognize the people around us that we rely on every single day.
Set aside time in the weekly team status meeting to recognize jobs well done, work anniversaries or career milestones. Post a comment on your company’s intranet or team workspace acknowledging a team member’s work.
Or, while it may not be the most cutting-edge of communication tools, never underestimate the power of a good email for making your team members feel noticed and appreciated. By sending a quick note congratulating someone for a win or thanking them for their hard work on a project (and copying the rest of the team, of course), you create a quick, simple and visible moment of pride.
These little moments of gratitude from manager to team—receiving a gift or note of praise—are so important for building that team dynamic. While the opportunities for these moments may be harder to come by when you or your team are remote, their impact is well worth the extra effort.
How do you celebrate and include your remote team members? We want to hear from you – comment below or tweet us @PGi!