Virtual Managers Need to Get in Employees’ Faces More

The “virtual manager” who relies mainly on voicemail or e-mail to stay in touch with employees may be failing his/her staff by providing inadequate face time, according to a recent nationwide survey developed by RHI Consulting, (new window) a Menlo Park, Calif. specialized consulting firm.

More than half (52 percent) of CIOs responding from a stratified random sample of 1,400 U.S. companies with more than 100 employees said inadequate information with IT employees is a company’s most common management mistake. Lack of recognition and praise ranked second, receiving 17 percent of the responses.

“When communicating with employees, many companies rely on the ‘trickle down effect,’ hoping that key messages will somehow make their way from senior management to the staff level,” says Greg Scileppi, executive director of RHI Consulting. “Apprising your team of the big picture increases motivation and allows them to develop more targeted solutions. The result is greater job satisfaction and, ultimately, reduced turnover.”

Scileppi offered some tips to open lines of communications.

  • Make time for regular dialogue - conduct weekly informal meetings or project status checks
  • Share the big picture - convey more of the organization’s vision
  • Establish an open door policy - be accessible to your team and encourage them to voice concerns
  • Empower employees - delegate authority and allow greater autonomy and accountability
  • Recognize accomplishments - bonus pay, extra vacation time and public praise are effective ways to boost morale.
Lack of flexibility in scheduling hours worked, lack of authority given to employees and lack of training and development rounded out the list of management mistakes.

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