This is the second of a two part look into career progression for remote workers. This first article focuses on the employee and can be accessed here.
We would love to hear of your experience and opinions on the topic covered in these articles. make sure to leave a comment on this post. Enjoy the article!
In the first of this two part look at progressing your career as a remote worker, we placed focus on the attitudes and behaviours that the employee should exhibit to place themselves in a position to be considered for promotion. One could argue that the most effective employees are often able to achieve that moniker due to having a supportive, considerate and adaptable line manager.
The role of the line manager in the careers of employees is not to be underestimated. As the quote by Marcus Buckingham goes, “People leave managers, not companies”, demonstrating the importance of the relationship between these two people. This dynamic will change considerably with the popularity (and necessity) of home working, so what should a line manager be doing to ensure they maintain a fairness and equality of opportunity for those employees looking to progress in their career.
Give employees the chance to shine
If not managed correctly, remote working can place limitations on employees being able to demonstrate their true capabilities and overall effectiveness. The separation of employees from the workplace means that their visibility can be diminished.
As their line manager, you must ensure that you continue to give them opportunities to interact with others and contribute to your department’s outputs, in a way that allows them to showcase their capabilities. This is much the same as you would do in a physical workspace. Remote working gives a fantastic platform for employees to be inventive with their outputs, communications and ways of working within a team, so ensure you consider different approaches and allow your employees to take ownership if these. If employees are coming up with inspirational ways of working or delivering to customers, make others aware of what they have done to give them the platform to take it further and demonstrate their capabilities.
Be supportive of employees needs and aspirations
Working from home can be difficult, especially if there are unavoidable distractions. Of course, there are still expectations we need to place upon our employees, but flexibility and being supportive of an employee’s needs is important. Keeping in regular contact with your team members will ensure you are aware of their needs and how you can support them in achieving their work objectives. This support will allow them to focus on positive outputs rather than the negative aspects of working remotely. Additionally, you must ensure that you are aware of their aspirations (most likely through a professional development review) so that you can provide them with the correct opportunities and manage their development. Being aware of these aspirations will help you to plan work allocation, training & development activities and stretch activities, which will not only support your employees needs but allow you to manage your teams time more effectively.
Ensure the right environment and culture
The most effective employees (and therefore the ones that stand out when it comes time to advance within their career) are those that feel comfortable and empowered within their working environment. Both of these aspects go a long way to motivating individuals (look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) and are both areas that can be directly influenced by management approach. Developing the right environment and culture is even more important when remote working. For the most part, physical working environments such as an office can be managed and even designed to promote a positive environment, but this control starts to slip when you cannot influence an employee’s home environment.
Make sure to set expectations with employees right from the start of remote working and provide them with support and guidance in creating the right environment. Develop the culture within your team to promote accountability, team interaction and open discussion, all of which are often more pronounced when working remotely. If you provide these aspects, the employees that are looking to advance within their career are set free from the constraints of poor environment or negative working culture and can be released to demonstrate their capability and potential.
All of us will have experiences of good or bad management styles. We are aware that when working for a poor line manager you feel constrained, whereas when working for an excellent line manager you feel free and able to perform. The wider adoption of remote working brings these traits of management to the fore, and provides good line managers with the opportunity to really bring the best out of their employees. Good line managers will empower their employees to advance their career irrespective of where they work, and each line manager has the opportunity to really allow their employees to demonstrate their potential, whether that be from their kitchen table or their desk at the office.