Communication key to successful remote work for practices

Communicating consistently with team members is key for advice practice principals who are working remotely, as employees will need extra reassurance that they are being heard in the current high-stress environment, according to a financial services executive and mentor.

Financial Executive Women executive director Alex Tullio told ifa the group was getting consistent queries from members around how to best engage with team members as the advice industry transitioned to work from home during the coronavirus crisis.

“From a leader perspective, the challenge is how you still check in with your team and be an empathetic leader and pick up on the nuances of how people are doing through technology,” Ms Tullio said.

“We have been offering tips around how to get beyond surface level communications and really check on the team, because people have different levels of comfort on video so you need to be able to get beyond the more extroverted people who are happy to put their hand up and say they’re finding it challenging.”

Ms Tullio, who previously held executive roles at Bendigo Bank, IOOF and Consultum Financial Advisers, said given employees were isolated from family and friends on top of working from home, they needed extra communication from managers to allow them to feel connected and maintain productivity.

“People are craving connection and communication, so for leaders you can do the big live stream to all your staff and do it for different teams, or do something like an ‘ask me anything’ session,” she said.

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“Even though the communication probably feels like you’re going overboard, people are really craving it.”

Ms Tullio said while principals did not want to feel as if they were micro managing their staff, it was important to have clear goals in place for employees to work towards, with some understanding that flexibility would be needed for things like caring for family.

“We’ve had a few of our members ask about the difference between micromanaging and checking in, and my advice would be that you’ve got to trust your people, trust that they are doing the right thing even when you can’t see them,” she said. 

“It’s not about micromanaging because you’ll drive yourself and them mad – be clear about what are the measures of success.”

Ms Tullio added that the idea of focusing on outcomes rather than hours worked had been a key theme of the group’s ongoing digital events, which had seen executives such as Iress’ Tizzy Vigilante and OneVue’s Connie Mckeage provide leadership tips to members through the crisis.

Communication key to successful remote work for practices
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