The Global People Operations Team
In our series on Global People Operations, we discussed the importance of establishing a People Operations team that specialises in Remote Work. There are many reasons you need a dedicated team of professionals, instead of relying on management to wear so many different hats. That team is crucial to helping your company operate like a well-oiled machine, especially when your employees are spread out across so many locations. We also discussed the importance of making sure the leaders of that team are trustworthy.
Your employees deserve to have resources they feel safe approaching with a variety of issues. But how can your People Operations team build that trust for your Remote Work organisation?
In Part 2, we’ll discuss actions you can take as a member of the Global People Operations team to help build that trust and become a powerful asset in making sure your company has the structure, culture, and people skills it needs to be successful. Let’s get started!
When you have a global remote team, it’s easy for people to feel invisible, or unheard. When you can, schedule time for people to meet face to face, even if it’s in small batches, and make it worth their while. Even if this means international travel for you, it’s worth it.
Getting everyone in a room together is crucial in helping to build relationships. Maybe you can make it part business and part fun, with a working session together in the morning, and afternoon activities to further that bonding.
Being present and communicative will help employees see you as a human, and not just an email address they hear from in mass announcements or if they’ve done something incorrectly. Nurturing those connections will help you, as well, see the people behind issues if something ever comes up that you need to address.
Make your word count
If you say you’ll get back to someone in an email or phone call, make sure you do it in a timely manner. As previously mentioned, you want employees to feel valued and seen, and forgetting (or worse – procrastinating) a communication can make them feel underappreciated and frustrated.
This is especially true for remote workers who may not feel like they’re getting enough attention to begin with. More than likely, because of the nature of your job, the issue was pretty important, anyway. Don’t keep them waiting, and if you do foresee delays, or realize it’s taken longer for you to respond than anticipated, reach out and let them know it’s still on your radar and when they can expect a follow-up response. You want them to be able to rely on you to consider their matters just as pressing as anyone else’s.
Keep it Quiet
I cannot stress enough that your discretion is paramount to having employees trust you. I once knew of an employee who overheard another group of employees discussing a personal matter she had confided in her People Operations team about – and it’s safe to say nothing good came of that.
Not only can it be downright harmful to the employee you’ve betrayed, but others will know the source of the shared information, and feel insecure about approaching you for their personal matters, as well. It may be easy to think nothing like this happens when the org is remote, but emails can easily be forwarded, screenshots of chats can be taken and shared, and someone could simply leak confidential information on a conference call.
Unless their issue is big enough or has legal ramifications for not sharing with the appropriate hierarchy, keep it to yourself.
Survey & Act
Another way to have your remote employees trust you is to send them polls and surveys. This tells them that you care enough about their opinions and how they feel to consider their input. But that’s the catch – you actually have to consider their input.
Nothing turns sour faster than a group of employees who feel like what they say doesn’t matter. This can be regarding culture, benefits, preferences for feedback and review – the list goes on. You’re representing your employees, so make sure you include their thoughts when you can on structure and other aspects that allow them to shape the full experience.
Get to Know People
Whether you have 5 employees or 500, make an effort to get to know each of them. Yes, it sounds daunting, but it can be done. While you may speak extensively with new hires, unfortunately, you can become a little too distant once someone joins the company, and the next thing you know, it’s been a few years.
Create small focus groups you can invite them to, or speak with each manager about how you can have a short 20 minute session with the group on their thoughts in general. Whenever you do speak to someone individually, see if you can arrive at the call early, or try to have it face to face online, so you can show your expressions just as easily as you can see theirs, and chat about their dog you see in the background. Letting them know you’re a person too is important!
These are all steps you can take today to help build trust with your remote employees. The more they trust you, the more value you bring to the table, as you can be the glue that holds it all together. You have such an important job, and it’s crucial to make the most of it!
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