Attracting Talent on a Budget

Hi, Anita:

I have been charged with finding a superstar financial analyst to join our growing company. We are a start-up company and my budget for this new employee is rather slim. How can I attract and retain high-quality staff while not breaking the bank?

Dear, Cost Concerned:People Money Stacks

All companies, large and small, depend on their employees for future success, and every employer wants to get the best people to join their teams. It can be hard to catch the attention of top talent when you don’t have “top talent” salary to offer. For the most part, the saying rings true that when it comes to employees, you get what you pay for. But surprisingly, according to a 2011 Harvard Business Review survey of Human Resource leaders, only 38 percent said that a high base salary was very important in the decision-making process. Just for you, I have found a variety of other ways to position your job opening so that it will hook the best candidates.

  • Flexible schedules. As much as some may try to deny it, employees do have lives outside of work. Work hours at many companies are often strict and have their 8-5 schedules set in stone. For employees that have families, school, or other obligations that make a standard work day difficult to abide by, the option to tailor their work hours (in exchange for some more flexible compensation) to fit their needs is a huge draw.
  • Employee health benefits packages. Health benefits are a hot topic these days and many people are using this as a deciding factor between choosing one employer over another. I think it is one of the number one ways to attract and retain high-quality employees. By providing affordable health insurance to your employees, you are showing that you have a general interest in the well-being of your staff and they are not just a number to the company.
  • Offer more paid time off than your competitors. It will cost you money in the short run, but people will jump for joy at the chance for more vacation time – and will stay more loyal in the long run (don’t forget the high cost of turnover). Another bonus is the benefit your company will receive in terms of increased productivity and a more pleasant work environment with happy and refreshed employees.
  • Career coaching and opportunities for advancement. By providing additional on-the-job training and advancement opportunities, you are not only improving the quality of your employees but also investing in their future at little cost to the company. If you show that you are genuinely interested in developing and having this person grow with the company, the salary numbers will become less and less important.

Career SignAs you begin your search for your next superstar, keep these ideas in mind. Though you may have a tight budget, you don’t have to let salary be the reason you do not find high quality candidates.

Wishing you the best of luck in your search!

Anita

Managers and Supervisors, what other incentives do you offer to attract top talent?

Making the Right Hire

Hi, Anita:

I have just received notice from one of my employees that he will be resigning from his position in 2 weeks. What tips can you offer that will help me make sure I am making the right hire to fill the opening in our team?

Hi, Hoping to Hire Smart:

Thank you for the question. At one point or another, all managers or supervisors are faced with the challenge of selecting and hiring a new employee. Once you have spent hours sifting through résumés and aInterviewpplications to weed out the definite “no”  candidates, it is time to begin contacting the promising ones to schedule an interview.

The information gathered during the interview provides the strongest insight into whether or not hiring this person is a smart decision. Not only do you need to look at the candidate’s professional experience, but you also need to take into consideration whether or not this person meshes well with your company’s culture and current team dynamics.

One bad hire can throw a wrench into your well-oiled machine, so take note of the following:

  • Understand that making the right hire is not a race. Take the time you need to find a candidate that best suits the position and your company culture. Don’t let pressure or the copout of “I had no other options” be the reason you make a hiring mistake.
  • Utilize behavioral interviewing techniques. Ask questions that require honest, on-the-spot answers, not carefully rehearsed responses.
  • Before the interview, carefully review the candidate’s résumé and be prepared with questions that will provide insight into past, present, and future performance.
  • Test the skills of the candidate. Just because they listed them on their résumé doesn’t mean they can actual do them.Oops Sign
  • Talk to your team to get a feeling of what they want in a new hire.
  • Ask for and check references. Explain the job description the candidate is applying for and how well this person would perform in the role.
  • Be honest with yourself about your selection and interviewing skills. If you are not confident that you can make the perfect hire, contact a professional staffing agency like Select Staffing. They take the worry and hard work out of finding your next employee. With their skill evaluation tools and strict screening process, you can be sure that the bad apples stay away from your basket.

Here is great video from Microsoft Small Business about the importance of hiring the right people.

I hope this information helps you make the best hire for your open position!

Readers, what do you think is the reason why bad hires happen and what do you do to avoid them?

Becoming the Boss: Advice for New Managers

A reader writes:

Hi Anita,

After working as a Sales Associate at a high-end interior store for 4 years, I have finally received word that I am being promoted to Store Manager. I am very excited to have this opportunity and to have reached my goals. What are some tips you have for new managers in transition and just starting out?

Boss LadyDear, Proud to Be Promoted,

Congratulations on your promotion! This is a wonderful accomplishment that you should be extremely proud off. The hard work you have been putting in has certainly paid of!

Becoming a manager comes with a large new set of responsibilities and tasks that must be executed to keep your store or business running on a
day-to-day basis. Not only are you responsible for your own work and performance, but you must manage those who now are under your supervision too. It may seem overwhelming at first, but from the looks of things, I think you are on the right track.

Before you begin your first day as the new manager, schedule some time with your new boss to discuss expectations and roles they expect you to fill. Ask questions about how they feel about the team you are directing and what issues they feel need to be resolved first. Once you have a list, I suggest formulating a plan that you can submit to your boss before you assume your managerial role. This shows responsibility and initiative and confirms with your boss that they made the right decision by selecting you for the position.

Take some time to reflect on your past and figure out the managers in your life that you look up to. Ask yourself what these individuals did or did not do to make their office a great or terrible place to work. Find the key elements that you admire most in your mentors and implement these into your management strategy. Remember that this strategy is not set in stone. It will need to be shaped and molded to fit you and your team appropriately.

First off and most importantly, you have to refrain from letting the ego boost go straight to your head. Sometimes, as people are given more power in the workplace, they can be more aggressive and demanding. Do your best to maintain an even keel. On the flip side, don’t be a pushover and forget that you ARE the manager now. Be confident in providing direction, offering constructive criticism and feedback, and monitoring and managing performance/attitude issues.

If you haven’t already, get to know the people you will be working with and allow them to get to know you. Staff meetings are a great way to come together as a team and learn from one another. I think hosting staff meeting about once a week isStaff Meeting ideal, but schedule according to what your work requires. It helps build team strength and confidence. Next, take the time to meet with each employee individually. This will help build a one-on-one professional relationship and an open forum for questions and concerns. It will give you the opportunity to learn about their work style, what they need from you as a boss, and what you want from them as an employee. The collaborations help you and your team members get on the same page.

Once you have gone through the above steps, take out the management plan that you had created at the beginning of assuming your new role. With all the information gathered from your employees, bosses, other managers, and your own insights, make a few final tweaks and fine-tune your course of action. This is another good time to sit down with your boss to get any advice or suggestions from him or her. Once you are given the green light, grab the bull by the horns and take on your responsibilities full force.

And before I sign off, whatever you do, do not become this guy!

Have you been promoted to a managerial position recently? What did you find the most useful in making the transition?

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Best of Luck on Your New Adventure,
Anita

Hire Our Heroes!

Today, we celebrate the courageous actions and valor of the servicemen and women who served in our country’s armed forces. Let us take a moment to thank them for their service and sacrifice in the name of freedom this Veteran’s Day and every day.

After last week’s post offering advice to recently returned veterans, I have been inspired to take it one step further. Hiring managers, I am talking to you. The large pool of skilled and accomplished veterans is some of the top talent available. Many of you may ask what skills and traits military personnel have that are applicable to your businesses.

There are many!

Veterans hold specials sets of skills that are so engrained in their being, they have become second nature. Determination, dedication, and drive are some that come to mind — all three highly valued qualities that any business owner, supervisor, or hiring manager would hope to bring to their teams.  I could go on and on, but I will simply highlight the top 10 reasons why you should put our veterans on your payroll!

  1. Leadership – The most successful military personnel are incredible leaders. They have the traits and characteristics to inspire and motivate those around them. The ability to lead and get the best from the members of the team is a priceless attribute.
  2. Global experience – Veterans have experience in a wide variety of regions around the world. They are used to adapting to different cultures and experiencing life/business from other viewpoints.
  3. Exceptional learning curve – Upon entering the service, military personnel must quickly master a series of skills and competencies that are required for survival. This experience allows veterans to quickly adapt and accomplish tasks that may take others months to achieve.
  4. Teamwork – Individual and group productivity are required in the military setting. Servicemen and women are familiar with working together as a team and understand the importance of personal responsibility to one another and accountability in a group setting.
  5. Ability to deliver results under pressure – Resourcefulness and adhering to tight time schedules are common occurrences in the military. Veterans are trained to organize and tackle priorities no matter what difficulties they are faced with.
  6. Respect for authority and procedures – Military vets understand the importance of structure to an organization. They value and encourage a clear set of rules and regulations that help maintain and support strategy.
  7. Integrity – This is a characteristic that is hard to come by in today’s environment. Veterans understand the value of hard work, persistence, honor, and honesty. Many have been involved in missions that require high level of secrecy and security clearance.
  8. Adherence to safety standards – Safety is a major concern in the military with regard to fellow servicemen and civilians. Military personnel believe in maintaining a safe and healthy environment; protection of colleagues and equipment is a top priority.
  9. Working knowledge of technology and machinery – Veterans are trained to effectively use the latest computers, machinery, and technology to achieve goals and accomplish tasks. If they are unfamiliar with a piece of equipment, I’ll bet my favorite set of knitting needles that they will be heads down until they can operate it with their eyes closed.
  10. Positive outlook – Even under the most dire circumstances and grim futures, military veterans have the intrinsic knowledge and skills to triumph over adversity. As mentioned in the beginning of this post, drive, determination, and the desire to achieve greatness and success for the team are of the highest priority.

As if all that weren’t enough…  thanks to the Returning Heroes Tax Credit, employers will receive tax credits for hiring veterans —  40% percent of the first $6,000 in wages (up to $2,400) for short-term unemployed vets and 40% of the first $14,000 in wages (up to $5,600) for vets who have been unemployed longer than 6 months.

Employers, what are you doing to recruit and hire military veterans? If you are uncertain of hiring veterans, what is your reasoning?

Here is a video sharing the many ways that you can help support our veterans.

Rewards From Retreats

A reader writes…

Hi Anita,

I have a team of about 10 people who have been working incredibly hard over the past few months. I want to reinforce their positive attitudes and keep the group productivity and focus flowing through a department retreat. But I am in need of some pointers to make sure the outing is both rewarding and beneficial to our group. Please help!

Dear, Retreat Ready,

Department retreats are a great way to step out of the office setting and focus on reinforcing strengths of a group or addressing areas for improvement. They help
re-center and boost creative thinking and break through the monotony of daily activities and tasks, so your employees will return to work feeling refreshed and rejuvenated by the change of pace. Retreats also promote team unity and strengthen the commitment of the group toward a common goal. I suggest you schedule a retreat at Handsleast once or twice a year.

To make a retreat produce top results, your group must be comfortable, the presentations interactive, and the topic relevant. Here is a list of things you can do to put together a fun and productive staff retreat:

Provide breakfast or morning snacks, such as coffee or muffins. Your employees will appreciate the gesture. Added bonus: Now they will not have an excuse for low energy while participating in the activities.

Encourage participants to dress comfortably and on the casual side. It can help set a tone of relaxation and remove any stuffiness that should be left at the office.

Ask your team to be prepared with real-life work achievements and issues. Sharing successes and troubles will help the group come together as one to revel in wins and to find solutions to obstacles standing in the way. Make sure you give your team enough time to prepare before the meeting – don’t spring it on them in the room – and make sure they know you expect them to participate in the discussion.

Start the retreat with an “ice breaker.”  To start your meeting off on the right foot, play a fun game or activity that brings your team closer together. The more fun and crazy, the better! One example is to have each person share something about them that is not work-related. To keep everyone at ease, be sure to make a point to say that sharing is encouraged but not required. Check out this list of funny questions to integrate into your ice breakers. My personal favorite is “If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be?” Some may disagree, but I am going along the lines of a chili. I like to think I am spicy!

Get people involved. Create a space for open discussion and creative thinking. Challenge your team to stir the creative juices and really think outside the box. Sharing thoughts with the team and encouraging feedback and input are where great ideas are shaped and big accomplishments take place. Keep your eyes out for a post I have in the works about hosting a successful brainstorming session.

Don’t just stand there; get up and move. Plan to have lunch off-site from the retreat. It will give your group time to stretch their legs, socialize with group, and develop relationships outside of the office. Make sure to pick a place that isn’t too loud and has a little something for everyone in attendance.

Provide visuals whenever possible. These are great for keeping the energy up and tstimulating the creative parts of the brain. Plus, I wouldn’t want to listen to me yap all day long. Throw monotony out the door and bring some images and videos into the mix.

Build in some competition and some prizes. Offer some goodies for good ideas shared, the quickest right answer to your question, and more. People love to win free stuff, and it will get your group talking and volunteering information faster.

End with a bang! People will most likely be starting to wind down after all the fun activities and discussions you have had during the day. Give everyone a little something to take home with them that ensures things end on a positive note! A card acknowledging their hard work and dedication to your team and a bag of M&Ms is just the right thing to accomplish this.

Managers, what interesting activities or ideas have you come up with to create a rewarding retreat? What were your results?

Employees, what types of activities have you participated in that worked well and others that fell short?

I can’t wait to hear from you all.

Best wishes until next time,
Anita

Tackling Employee Tensions

A reader writes:Conflict Resolution

Dear, Anita,

I am having trouble resolving a conflict between two employees in my office. The tension has been mounting and appears to just be getting worse as each day passes. How can I face this problem head on and arrive at an acceptable solution for both parties?

Dear Trouble Tackler,

Personality conflicts and disagreements are bound to arise in the workplace. As a manager or supervisor, you must be prepared with the tools and knowledge to resolve uncomfortable conflict that is brought to your attention at the office. It would be so much easier to sweep the issues under the rug and hope that they just disappear, but the longer you wait to dispel the tensions, the larger the problem can and will become.

First and foremost, make it very clear that you are a neutral party and that it is best to have a human resources representative present during any and all discussions. This can be helpful down the road in case termination or suspension may be needed to end the conflict. Select a room that is away from other employees and where distractions will be limited.

To get the ball rolling on resolving the workplace conflict, you need to call a meeting with all of the parties involved and gather as many facts and evidence as possible. Hearsay and “he said, she said” will not be of any use in these situations. Encourage the people involved to use “I feel” language versus “You do/did” Conflict Resolvedverbiage and coach them to listen to each other’s feelings. Once feelings are presented on both sides, get down to what the root issues are that are causing this “possible” negativity. To lighten the air in the room, it may be helpful to ask both parties to evaluate and share what they view are positives in their working relationship.

Next, ask both parties what actions they are willing to take to change the situation and what they would like to see changed in the behavior of the other person. Each person must accept responsibility for part of the dispute in order to move forward proactively. You want to develop a win-win solution that has the highest rate of a successful outcome.

For a few more quick tips, check out  The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Resolving Conflict in the Workplace quick guide online.

I personally enjoyed this video by The Ninja Leadership Academy. View it here or see the video below:

I hope these steps will be helpful for you during your first conflict resolution adventure. Please, readers, share any extra tips and tricks that you have used with positive results!

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Best of Luck,
Anita

Public Recognition

A reader writes….

Dear, Anita,
Due to tight budgets, I am unable to give my staff promotions or raises so I’m trying to come up with additional ways to reward them – without breaking the bank. Besides giving positive feedback one-on-one or a pat on the back, what are some other ideas?

Dear, “Mindful Manager,”

As you’re leading your team through projects, sitting in meetings, and making decisions, there’s no doubt that your role as a manager is critical. What you may not realize, however, is that the way you interact with your staff (including your tone with them, your body language, your words) has a tremendous impact. In most cases, your team cares about what you think of them and their performance on the job. One simple way to truly “make their day” is to recognize them publicly.

Don’t limit the praise and high-fives to your private meetings. Instead, make a point of recognizing their good work and dedication in front of the entire staff…. Or in front of the entire company for that matter! Even the shyest of shy likes to be recognized in front of peers and co-workers… there’s just something about being a hero for that very moment.

My advice would be to get on the agenda the next time you have a company meeting. Or initiate a “town meeting” with your immediate department where you can share some success stories and invite key performers up on stage.

Another idea is to establish an “Employee of the Month” program where recipient names are featured on the company website, in a newsletter, or even on the internal intranet site (if available).

Public recognition is a great (and affordable) way to acknowledge employees. It also motivates others who may be seeking the limelight to crank up their performance a notch or two.

Hey Managers! What are some other suggestions for recognizing top performers? Do you agree that public recognition works well?

Please post your comments here!
Anita

Quick Question Quibble

A reader writes…

Hi Anita,

I’m a manager of a fairly small department and really make an effort to be approachable for my staff. In fact, I have established an “open door policy” and make a point of encouraging my colleagues to pop in with questions or stop by as needed. What I’ve noticed, however, is that staff members will stand in my doorway and say, “Can I ask you a quick question?” Then, next thing I know, we’re sitting together in a full-blown meeting (for which I’m totally unprepared and is taking me away from what I was doing). I appreciate my team and want to be there for them… but these impromptu meetings are really starting to frustrate me. Any suggestions?

Dear, “Impromptu,”

I can understand your frustration and can sense a feeling of resentment. Maintaining an “open door policy” with your employees is very commendable, but if it’s a practice you have established (and are encouraging), then you need to stick with it and be prepared for these types of situations. On the other hand, you can take the bull by the horns and reestablish some ground rules with your team to prevent this from happening further.

Now, am I suggesting you hang a “No Soliciting” sign on your office door?
No.

But can you gracefully manage these “quick questions gone wild” while still maintaining a supportive and welcoming management style?
Absolutely!

Here are some suggestions to consider:

1. The next time an employee comes to you with what appears to be a “quick question,” politely ask what it’s regarding.If, in fact, it’s something simple like, “Which project should I tackle first ‘X’ or ‘Y’?” you can likely give a quick response. If they say something like, “I wanted to share some ideas I had about ABC,” you can let them know you would love to discuss, but that this seems like more than a “quick question” and you’d want to dedicate your full attention to the subject.

    • Ask them to shoot you an email with their initial thoughts (so you can digest the information and clearly understand where you’re input is needed).
    • Let them know you will schedule a meeting with them to discuss in detail. Doing so will allow you time to prepare and shows your employee that you care enough about them and the matter at hand that you want to block ample time.

2. Address the problem with your entire team (as a group). Rather than singling out someone and potentially making them feel bad, openly share the situation – and the problem it’s creating –

with your entire group. Simply state something like, “You all know that I welcome your input and encourage you to bounce ideas off me, but I’m noticing that certain ‘quick questions’ aren’t actually ‘quick’! I want to give you my undivided attention, but I’m noticing I am unable to do that when I’m heads down on something and get interrupted. Moving forward, please send me a quick email that simply says, ‘Can we talk?’ or ‘Will you please call me when you have a few minutes?’ Giving some sort of head’s up will help tremendously, and I promise that I will set aside the time you need (and deserve!)”

I know, I know, that example is pretty scripted, but hopefully you get the idea.

3. Establish a regular meeting schedule. I’ve said this in previous posts, but it’s worth repeating. Managers MUST make a point of establishing a regular meeting with staff. Not just group or department pow-wows… I’m talking one-on-one. As long as the individuals on your team know they have time scheduled with you, they will get into the habit of tabling a lot of their “quick questions” and loose ends until their set meeting time arrives. For relatively small groups, you should try to have one-on-one meetings once a week.

The bottom line is, people won’t stop popping in if you keep inviting them to do so and actually meet with them for a long period of time. Your employees don’t realize this is bugging you! Be open and honest with your team and simply redefine your expectations (and needs) as the manager. In the end, you’ll feel less aggravated and your team will have a clearer understanding.

Hope this helps!
Anita

New Year… New Management Style

A reader writes…

Dear, Anita,

As you know, this is the time of year people tend to take a close look at themselves and make a long laundry list of “resolutions” they intend to tackle. I realize people don’t change overnight, but one of the things I’d like to work on as a manager is the way I lead my staff. What are some best practices for being a “good” manager?

Dear, “Mindful Manager,”

I love the fact that you are making a conscious effort to improve or enhance your management style… it’s a new year and a perfect time for a new start! I bet most readers wish THEIR manager would pick up on this positive idea – hats off to you, my dear!

I’ve tried to think back to my personal experience with managers (and even did a little research to throw in some other ideas) and came up with the following list (in no particular order, of course!):

  1. Be open and honest…Even admit your faults – I think a manager who, as difficult as it may be, can openly admit his or her faults to employees will immediately gain a whole new level of respect. Like a good parent, a manager can guide employees by teaching from their mistakes. When things have gone wrong in business or poor decisions were made, the consequences taught good lessons that others can (and should) learn from.
  2. Be yourself – Sure, you need to be professional, be accountable for your team, and maintain your leadership role… but during team-building events or outside of the office, be yourself. Hang out with your team, talk about your personal interests, share funny things you’ve seen or heard. You don’t always have to be perceived as the straight-laced dominant figure that everyone sees at work. Loosen up… your staff will appreciate it.
  3. Call people on the carpet – I know this sounds harsh, but the fact is, sometimes employees get into heated discussions or let their emotions get the best of them… and they could use a good kick in the pants. As their manager, pull these people aside and point out their behavior and how it can be detrimental to their success if it continues. Sort of the “tough love” approach… but necessary.
  4. Be complimentary – Everybody likes to receive a compliment every now and then. Share your appreciation for a job well done, salute the skills of your staff, and celebrate achievements. A good manager surrounds himself with a team of talent. A great manager hires people who are better at certain things than they are. Don’t be threatened by this… give yourself a pat on the back for putting together such a great team!
  5. Help strengthen the weaknesses – The last thing you want to do as a manager is set up your employees for failure. If they have areas of weakness, help them improve. It may not be a “fun” process, but by providing the right guidance and tools, you can help your team overcome challenges so they are better equipped, well rounded, and more productive for you!
  6. Stand behind your people – If you see one of your staff members up against a wall, faced with opposition, or being blamed for something (for example)… back them up or help remove them from the situation so that it can be addressed privately (if necessary) between the two of you.
  7. Be a listener… not just a leader – Employees like to know that they are being heard. In addition to delegating tasks and leading a team, you need to make sure you are carving out plenty of time to listen to your staff, hear their ideas and suggestions, and maintain open lines of communication. There should always be a two-way street between supervisors and employees. Managers that flaunt their power or distance themselves are less respected. 
  8. Keep your cool – When the pressure’s on, this one can be tricky… but as a manager, it is critical. If the chips are down or the tension is up, your team needs a leader that will stay calm, stay focused, and even lighten the mood a little. Laughter is probably the best stress reliever out there. When times are tough… toss in a little fun factor!
  9. Roll up your sleeves – It is rare… and I mean RARE to find a manager that is not only willing to help get the job done, but that can step into any position and fill in as needed. I have only known a handful of people that can do this, and let me tell you… it is a quality beyond words.
  10. Follow your instincts – This one, to me, doesn’t need much explanation. It’s a rule of thumb that I try to live by in all facets of my life. I think to myself, would my co-workers (or on a personal level – kids, spouse, friend, or parent) be proud of my actions right now? If the answer is no… then it’s probably not the right thing to do. It’s just that simple. Follow this idea, and you’re sure to be better off… every time.

Happy New Year Everyone!
Anita

(Remote) Part of a Team

A reader writes…

Hi Anita,
I just accepted a position where I will be working remotely, yet the rest of my department works together in the same office…  miles away.  What can I do to integrate with my co-workers… and feel like I’m part of the team?

Dear, “Lone Ranger,”

Telecommuting is becoming widely accepted with businesses nationwide.  While working from home (or in a satellite office) may seem like a luxury…. for some people, it’s a challenge.

You are definitely at a disadvantage when it comes to teambuilding and interaction.  Many people thrive on the energy, activity, and even gossip that goes on in an office.  Others find this just plain distracting and are perfectly content being on their own – no commuting, no dress code, no in-person meetings.

The trick to feeling like you’re part of the team is communication.  Big surprise, right?

Your manager plays a critical part on how well and effectively you integrate with your co-workers.
At minimum, you should:

  • Have weekly department meetings where everyone gathers in the office, with you on speaker phone. Incorporate web meetings so everyone sees the same visuals, at the same pace.
  • You can even consider using available technology, such as web cams and Skype, to literally be seen in the meeting! Be sure to dress professionally (from the waist up, at least!)
  • You should also have regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings with your direct supervisor – over the phone (ideally, once a week).
  • Email communication is essential. Daily and weekly updates will help ensure projects are on track and on schedule.
  • Be prepared to join in-person meetings (frequency may vary depending on distance, travel, etc.) – putting a face with a name (and a voice) always helps.
  • Be a part of department birthday parties and/or gift exchanges.  Sure, the rest of your group may be eating cake in the boardroom… but you can indulge in something yummy wherever you are too!
  • Make a conscious effort to be available, offer help, and show support when situations come up that may require your input or expertise.
  • Actively contribute to group discussions or brainstorming sessions.  Since you are not physically in the room, you are more likely to be left out.  Be vocal… but not obnoxious. Here’s the kicker, sometimes you may feel like you’re interrupting the conversation, or that it can be tough to guess when you should start to talk with a room full of people already in discussion. Don’t let this discourage you or make you feel more like an outsider. Be polite, wait for a pause, and chime in! Your manager (or someone in the room) should serve as a moderator and individually ask each person if they have something to add.  That ensures that everyone is included and prevents people from talking over each other.
  • Pay close attention to the personal interests of your colleagues.  Anytime you can relate about kids, hobbies, or interests, you’re more likely to establish relationships – despite the distance.
  • Take ownership of a task or project and be a part of a “Show and Tell” session with your team.

Bottom line is this… The more you contribute to the success of the group, the more highly respected you will become.  You will be closely involved over the phone, via email, and in meetings to the point where your remote location will eventually seem obsolete!

Good Luck!
Anita

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Disclaimer

Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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