How to communicate remote work expectations?
When you hire someone, you’ve certain work expectations from them. And if you communicate it to them, your employees will understand your company’s goal better and can contribute effectively. But, the problem is that not many know how to do it. To close the gap, we prepared a guide on how you can do it.
Tips for effective communication
a) Communicate expectations early
Ensure you convey work expectations on the new hire’s first day itself. Don’t wait for the week’s end or month's end. Schedule a meeting on the first day to tell them what they should do in the first week/month/quarter. That way, employees will know how they should start and approach their work from starting and avoid any uncertainties.
Pro Tip: When communicating expectations, let the person know how their work is crucial to the company’s success.
b) Clarify expectations via a 1-on-1 meeting (explain its importance)
Never communicate work expectations via email or phone call. While these communication mediums work, they devoid you and the employee of the facial and visual cues an online meeting offers. These lets you know when and where the employee feels confused—so you can solve their queries instantly. Plus, 1-on-1 communication is a personalized approach where the employee can converse and clarify their doubts without feeling awkward (You know how it feels on the first day when you have to ask something in front of everyone).
c) Have a default communication stack
Communication tools are the backbone of remote work. You must have default communication tools you and the employee will use to maintain communication consistency. For example, ask them to use Slack for day-to-day communication, Zoom for meetings, and Notion for collaboration.
(Choose the tool that suits your needs)
Also, let the employee know:
1) How and when can they reach you?
2) How often and for what matters do you host meetings.
3) How often to share work updates?
4) How will you communicate during an emergency?
d) Give your employees the necessary resources/support to thrive at work
You can’t just tell the person what to do, not provide the relevant tools, and expect them to exceed your expectations. It doesn’t work that way. Even your A+ hire will need the necessary resources (software, some app subscriptions, guides, and more) and support (a person they can constantly communicate with to understand the company’s background/methods) to succeed. Provide them with these to make your and the hire’s work easy.
e) Tie the expectations with the business and personal goals
When you communicate work expectations, ensure you sync them with the company’s long-term goals and the person’s skill set. It sounds obvious. But, often employees are forced to work on something they are not good at (someone else can do a better job) and is unimportant. Avoid this mistake.
How to clarify work expectations?
a) Determine what your expectations are
Before you communicate with your employee, you need to be clear about what your expectations are from them. What do you want them to do? What are the urgent priorities? What’s the time frame you want the employee to complete the tasks? Write these down. It will help you convey to the person their responsibilities without missing anything. Ensure you set realistic goals—so your employees can meet them without disturbing their work-life balance.
b) Set a 30/60/90 day plan
Set long-term targets for your new hire. The best way to do so is to prepare a 30/60/90-day plan that shows what they should achieve within the said time. Lay down what their focus, goals, and priorities should be for the initial 30/60/90 days. Plus, what metrics you’ll be using to measure their success?
For example, here’s a 30/60/90 day plan for a sales employee:
That way, your employees will know when they are falling short and optimize for success.
Pro Tip: Tell your employees that while they should achieve X, Y, and Z goals, they shouldn’t restrict themselves from experimenting. Assure them you won’t ridicule their mistakes, but they should learn from them and keep innovating.
c) Be specific about what you want from employees
Don’t communicate vague work descriptions. For example, “I want you to write something about productivity.” Your employee won’t understand what exactly you want from them and will deliver something you never wanted. The solution? Be specific. For example, “I want you to write how remote work affects employees’ productivity.” See the difference? The latter description focuses on a single topic your employee can start working on instantly without wasting time trying to decode the meaning of your saying.
d) Align on work hours and deadline
You must convey to your employee how long they will work, how they should submit their work, and when. For example, I allow my employees to work anytime as long as they work 8 hours daily (There’s no force to follow the rigid 9-5 schedule. They can decide their working hours to work productively). How do I ensure they work these many hours and complete their assignments? I ask them to submit their work every Friday via email with a specification of what they did each day of the week. Similarly, you can agree on working hours and deadlines and convey them to each employee.
e) Discuss what good work looks like
You must communicate the work standards you want your employees to achieve. Walk them through what good work looks like (“Good social media marketing means you should post educative content, engage with our followers, and persuade them to subscribe to our newsletter). Your employees will now have a roadmap they can follow to exceed your work expectations.
f) Host performance review meetings
It’s critical to host performance meetings to review the employees’ work—to check in with employees to ensure they are following what you asked them to, solve any queries, and provide feedback (either positive or constructive). You must hold these meetings every fortnight or month.
Pro Tip: It could happen your employees are stuck and want your help, but the meeting is a month away. So, ask your employees to contact them right away and not wait for the review meetings. Give them the assurity you’ll help.
Set up your remote workers for success
Clarifying work expectations is how you let your employees know what they should do and shouldn’t. If you do it correctly, your employees will improve their performance. It will also strengthen your team collaboration and increase employees’ work satisfaction. So, get started with these tips to communicate work expectations to your employees.