Last week, Coopman Search & Selection held a live webinar How To Effectively Manage Your Teams Remotely with three senior business leaders:
Trevor Micks, the Chief Risk Officer of CNP Santander, a cross border insurance company with 100+ employees in Ireland.
Niamh Derivan, the Chief Financial Officer and board member of Atradius Re, a credit and bond reinsurance company located in the IFSC.
Matthias Naumann, the Chief Executive Officer of Companjon, an insure-tech start up headquartered in Dublin.
The discussion ranged from how their companies transitioned into a remote workforce, to how they tested and prepared for this, to the day to day aspects of managing a remote team before taking a quick look at the future. We’re sharing key takeaways from the conversation to shed light on what is being done and what managers need to take into consideration moving forward to effectively manage remote teams/workers:
1. WHEN FACING CHANGE, ANTICIPATE WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE, TEST AND GET FEEDBACK.
As many businesses did, Trevor and Niamh also faced the challenge of setting up their full workforce at home in a short turnaround. To ensure a successful transition, it was vital to anticipate what was coming in order to be best prepared. They looked at decisions and trends in other countries and so began early execution of their business continuity plans, tested them thoroughly and when government announcements were made they were ready. The key to this success however was obtaining as much feedback in the early days to ensure people had the right equipment, were set up correctly and most importantly were happy with the new way of working.
2. COMMUNICATION FROM MANAGERS HAS TO BE CLEAR, CONSISTENT AND WITH A PURPOSE.
As Niamh alluded to in our discussion, over the past number of weeks, management have had to manage fear that their colleagues and employees were feeling as Covid-19 took hold of Ireland and the rest of the world. To do this in normal circumstances is difficult, so doing so remotely required even more of a focus to deliver daily communication. Matthias, CEO of Companjon had the task of doing this for new employees he had yet to physically meet who were working in different parts of the world.
From the initial messaging around company health and objectives the need for clear and consistent communication is essential in driving activity, maintaining team and company cohesion and giving purpose as a whole. One way Matthias achieves this with his team is to drive daily check ins (morning) and check outs (evening) with his employees, giving purpose and creating an opportunity to include people across the organisation which has been especially key for new joiners.
3. BE CONSCIOUS OF EACH EMPLOYEES SITUATION.
One thing is for certain, the experience of Covid-19 has led management to better understand their people, as they get more of an insight into the personal life of the people whom they work with. For management this point is ever more crucial with remote working. Understanding the personal circumstances of your team will allow for more flexible approach towards time management, allowing you to instead focus on output and task driven deadlines. Ensure that each team member has an up to date calendar shared amongst everyone on a daily basis so that availability and accessibility are crystal clear which will go a long way towards efficient communication across the team(s) taking into account people’s various schedules and working hours.
4. EMBRACE TECHNOLOGIES.
It is clear that all our panellists have embraced the use of technology to effectively manage their teams remotely. Trevor Micks, of CNP Santander highlighted how they are creating a bespoke Qualtrics tool to drive engagement, whilst Niamh mentioned that when they started to utilise the video conferencing software over phone calls, engagement levels improved greatly. Matthias mentioned that using this software to organise team pizza evenings and beers had allowed new colleagues to bond quicker and start to create a culture having never met one another. **
5. MANAGE AS IF EVERYONE IS IN THE OFFICE
When we eventually transition back to office working, there are several points our panellists mentioned they could take from this experience. The ability to trust their team more and the confidence to conduct big business issues remotely were highlighted with the stand out point to make sure to manage the team as if everyone is in the office. Don’t reschedule meetings for when people are all together, if there are social events find a way to get those working from home involved virtually and create as meaningful touch points throughout the day, preferably via video conferencing.
[There were other notable issues raised such as the need to continue CSR initiatives over the coming months as much as possible without full fundraising capabilities, to what a free flowing office culture might look like.]
Whilst it is was evident from our discussion that many of us have had the opportunity to learn and adapt from this experience, there are also so many unanswered questions around what the future workplace will look like when we start to come out of this pandemic.
A huge thank you to those who attended and a special thank you to Trevor, Niamh and Matthias for their time and insights.
If you would like to participate in a webinar or have topics that you would like to see addressed, contact us at email@example.com.