Optimizing Remote Team Dynamics: Harnessing Recognition and Feedback

Recognition and feedback are powerful tools for driving employee alignment with business strategies.

All your employees crave recognition and feedback. It’s a basic human need. And it’s something that you must provide if you want to see business growth.

But the remote workplace has made recognition and feedback more challenging to deliver. Not only are teams no longer in the same office, but they are often not even in the same time zone. As a result, leaders must leverage new avenues and adopt new attitudes to provide impactful recognition and feedback.

The power of recognition and feedback

Recognition and feedback drive powerful business outcomes by affecting employees on two levels. First, they impact individual performance. Stats show that 98 percent of employees disengage when they receive little or no feedback. Nearly two out of three employees say they would increase their efforts if they were recognized through feedback.

Without appropriate levels of recognition, employee loyalty also suffers. According to a recent report, employees at companies that prioritize recognition are 56 percent less likely to go job hunting.

Recognition and feedback can also affect employees at the team level by driving healthier team dynamics. As leaders recognize employees for cooperation and collaboration, they reinforce the value of teamwork. Recognition also fosters trust and respect, both of which drive team cohesion.

Recognition and feedback are powerful tools for driving employee alignment with business strategies. Recognition and feedback reinforce the type of behavior employers want to see. A recent report on employee recognition reveals that 92 percent of workers are more likely to repeat a specific action if they are recognized positively.

The challenges of remote recognition and feedback

The lack of face-to-face interaction is the most obvious challenge to effective recognition and feedback with remote teams. Managers overseeing remote workers have a much harder time observing good work and providing in-the-moment recognition.

Communication challenges also make recognition and feedback more difficult with remote teams. Remote communications — which must rely on digital tools — are less organic and spontaneous, which makes it more difficult to build meaningful relationships. Special steps must be taken with remote teams to foster the types of connections that amplify recognition.

Achieving impactful recognition and feedback with remote teams

With remote teams — as with any team — it is important to remember that the best recognition will almost always be public praise. Sending an email to an employee to acknowledge their performance is not a bad idea. But providing recognition in a public forum gives everyone else on the team the chance to join in the applause. It also gives leaders the opportunity to point out the type of behavior and performance they want to see.

To do this with remote teams, you’ll need to leverage technology. Save your praise for Zoom meetings or post it in team Slack channels. You might also consider using the company’s social media channels to highlight the performance of outstanding employees.

When it comes to feedback, it is important to ensure that communication is clear and explicit. Without a face-to-face connection, communication loses the nuances provided by nonverbal cues and body language. Therefore, it is much easier to misinterpret emotion and tone.

When meeting online to provide feedback, technology glitches can disrupt the flow of communication and lead to misunderstandings. With email messaging, it can be very difficult to know if feedback was properly understood and how it impacted the employee. Achieving clarity when providing feedback to remote employees requires forethought, clarification, and follow-up.

Identifying the proper timing for feedback is also important. Monthly is a good rhythm for feedback, as it allows managers to provide a summary of monthly performance. By showing numbers that support specific feedback, managers can help team members understand how their performance affects the company in both positive and negative ways.

Allowing for two-way feedback

In addition to providing feedback, managers of remote teams should also facilitate effective ways to receive it from remote employees. Two-way feedback optimized remote team dynamics by fostering more honest and impactful communication. It fosters a dialogue that ensures all concerns are understood and the path forward is clear.

Ideally, systems should be in place to allow employees to provide feedback at any time. The systems should allow feedback to be anonymous and acknowledge it has been received. When feedback correctly points out problems with policies or procedures, employers should be quick to make the appropriate changes.

Businesses that want to thrive in today’s marketplace cannot ignore recognition and feedback. For businesses working with remote teams, that may mean taking extra steps to ensure that communication surrounding recognition and feedback is clear and impactful. In the end, the extra effort it requires will result in the engagement, performance, and loyalty that are essential to thriving in today’s business landscape.

Shiela Mie Legaspi
Shiela-Mie Legaspi is the President of Cyberbacker, the leading provider of world-class administrative support and virtual assistant services from anywhere in the world to anyone in the world. Legaspi empowers growth-minded business owners with world-class, economic leverage to fulfill their greatest purpose. She is an expert in career coaching and teaches others how to lead with integrity, purpose, and passion.