By Jaimy Ford
Today, we are going to step back and take a broader look at leadership. In a recent post, we talked about how the basic qualities that make leaders successful are the same regardless of where employees are located, and this post expands on that a bit. I came across the infographic created by Classy.org below, and some of the data struck me, particularly as it pertains to leaders of virtual employees:
- 59% of employees have left a company because of trust issues
- 84% of employees believe they don’t receive enough information from management
- 47% of employees feel loyal to their organization
Keep in mind that those percentages include all employees. If the poll was limited to virtual employees, I’m betting those percentages would be even higher. Building trust and communicating effectively are two of the biggest hurdles leaders of virtual employees must overcome. And virtual employees are more likely to consider and accept competing job offers, evidence that loyalty is lacking. That probably has everything to do with the fact that they don’t trust their leaders. They don’t trust their leaders, because their leaders are doing a terrible job of communicating with them.
As the leader of a virtual team, you have to work even harder, no doubt, to keep the lines of communication open. Still, it is your most important task. Not only is it critical to reaching your business (and financial) goals, but it is also crucial to keeping your employees onboard.
I don’t have to remind you of the cost and time it takes to recruit, hire and train a new employee, much less the frustration. So you should definitely be working hard to retain your top performers, even if they work across the globe from you. Doing so starts with communication. In fact, 66% of employees agree that open communication is the characteristic they admire most in a leader, and that admiration could turn to loyalty fast.
So take an honest look at your day-to-day interactions with virtual employees:
- What do you do to keep them in the loop?
- How do you make them feel included?
- How often do you conduct one-on-one sessions with them to build rapport and trust?
- Are you doing everything you can to build and maintain trust (e.g., keeping promises, sharing plenty of information with them)?
Then decide what you are going to do, starting today, to improve communication with them.