How to Reset Engagement with Your Virtual Staff – They Are Being Naughty and Not Doing Their Work!
Your Virtual Staff is being naughty and not delivering what they should…Maybe they are getting tardy in their hours or failing to provide you with sufficient detail on their progress. We’ve all been there – in the online world; this naughtiness is actually pretty common. But is it really naughtiness?
Yes and No.
There is certainly an element of naughtiness when your team members are:
- Ignoring shift timings and arriving late
- Failing to report for work at all
- Missing deadlines or reporting commitments without communication
- Being generally unproductive
I remember the absolute frustration and stress that it caused me as a business owner when the above would happen. After all, I’m paying them a great salary and show them lots of care? “Why, oh why aren’t they working??!!”
The easy option is to blame everybody else and repeat the same mistakes over and over.
The responsible, prudent, and proactive thing to do is to understand why this is happening in the first place.
My philosophy is that most people turn up to work to do a good job. It is a lot more rewarding to be productive than bored, unproductive or destructive. So if you have multiple instances where staff seem to be becoming naughty, maybe there are other drivers for this behaviour?
I guarantee that a major contributor to this problem will be an undefined, unstructured, or unfollowed engagement approach with your staff. Without an agreed engagement approach for each one of your staff, you have removed the boundaries that define your working relationship and taken away the very tools that can make them productive in the first place.
You need to reset and you need to do it fast. Discontent and misbehaviour can spread through your team like wildfire.
On several occasions, I have had to perform this exercise; whilst it is inevitable that these instances will arise, how you handle it makes all the difference.
Putting it simply, you need to do a bit of “clearing of the air” before you follow the checklist. What do you want to achieve by clearing the air? You want to:
- Identify those who are genuinely being naughty and those who aren’t – note: The naughty ones will usually be in the small minority of your team
- Decide your strategy for dealing with the naughty staff
- Decide your strategy for dealing with those that aren’t being naughty but are still unproductive
Let me show you how to do this.
Identifying Those Who Are Naughty and Those Who Aren’t….(Ouch)
This can be a bit of a painful exercise. In fact it downright sucks!
The approach here needs to be clinical and executed with as little emotion as possible. Make a list of your non-performers on paper, another way to determine the naughty ones from the rest is by using Time Doctor to see to it whether your team is working on properly on time or not. Without any hesitation, work through the list and let your gut tell you if you think they are genuinely naughty. If they are, write them on your new list. Dealing with them is your priority.
I know this sounds detached and probably a little bit dismissive, but in the online world, everything revolves around trust. If your gut doesn’t trust them, don’t let your head or heart overrule it (and this is coming from a guy who lets his heart rule most things! ☺).
Decide Your Strategy For Dealing With Those Who Are Naughty…..(Ouch)
The strategy here is simple. They have to go.
It is important that you co-ordinate their exit from the company swiftly and securely. Timing is crucial as is your communication processes.
Be sure to protect your data, clients, and remaining team. I cannot stress the importance of orchestrating this process to perfection. If you are in a situation like this and need assistance or guidance, please feel free to message me here and I will be happy to chat with you.
Decide Your Strategy for Dealing With Those That Aren’t Being Naughty But Are Still Unproductive….(Now the Really Hard Work Begins)
Removing staff from your team will inevitable send ripples of worry, resentment or sometimes even joy through your remaining team. All these emotions must be managed.
Worry must be abated through consultation and comfort (to a degree).
Resentment must be explored, discussed, and subsequent understanding and consensus built between you and your resentful staff member.
Joy must be curtailed (to a degree); nobody should celebrate or be excited when people lose their job or a team fabric is temporarily broken. However, a surge in productivity and strengthening of the team bond should absolutely be promoted – steering your more excited team members towards this is a great approach.
There is a three step process you can follow to reset your engagement with your staff:
- Begin with individual consultations with all team members and gather their inputs, feedback and importantly, explain why you have made the changes you have. Do not be afraid of highlighting the lower productivity or behaviour of the individual you are talking to but do so constructively reinforcing the positive traits that you see them contributing to the team going forward. Do not discuss the outputs or behaviour of other staff members retained if at all possible. Do not discuss the reasons for terminating the naughty staff and display respect for their privacy. Respect shown breeds respect.
- After your initial one on one consultations, hold a team meeting. In this session, reinforce the need for improved productivity and explain that you are planning to reset the engagement with the team as a whole and individually. The objective is provide greater clarity around their roles, expectations and to enable everyone to create a more supportive and collaborative working environment. Make this session a positive and set out a clear timeline to have the engagement reset.
After resetting the engagement and reaching agreement with your virtual staff, ensure that you monitor the team and ensure that everyone, including yourself, sticks to what has been committed. A healthy team fabric will form as a result of your consultative approach and consistency demonstrated afterwards.