How To Challenge Your Employees When You Are Away On Business

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | Employee Management | How To Challenge Your Employees When You Are Away On Business Being a traveling business owner can have its difficulties sometimes. You may feel that your team just aren’t as productive as they might be when you’re not there to ensure that they are working hard, for example. If that is the case, what can you do?

Something you don’t want to do is to constantly have to check in on them. Not only does that make more work for you, particularly if you have important meetings and conferences to prepare for, but it also makes your employees feel uncomfortable; they will assume you don’t trust them to do their own jobs, and that might reduce productivity in itself. In the worst cases, your staff might even want to look elsewhere for work.

The best thing you can do is to ensure that your employees are engaged and challenged when you are not there. This will make them feel valued because you are trusting them to get more done, and it will give them plenty to occupy themselves with so that there will be nothing for you to worry about. Here are some of the ways they can be challenged when you are working away on business.

Ask For Feedback

Before you leave on your trip, make sure that you speak to your team, either as a group or individually, about what you want from them while you’re away. It’s essential that they know they can check in with you when they need to, even if you’re not in the office, and that you will check in with them too. Make sure they don’t feel pressured or uncomfortable about this – if you are checking in with everyone once a day, no one should feel that they are being singled out.

If possible, start these meetings with your staff before you go. You can arrange:

  • Weekly feedback sessions
  • One to one meetings
  • Weekly reviews

If you start off right at the beginning with this kind of culture of feedback and performance reviews, it won’t seem out of the ordinary if you continue to do it even when you’re working away from your usual location.

Ask your staff to prepare feedback for you so that you can understand what their frustrations are when you’re not there, and if you travel frequently, you can then ensure that the next time you go anywhere, it is better for everyone.

Give Them Harder Tasks

If your workers are doing the same things each and every day, they can easily become bored and frustrated. They might feel as though their job is going nowhere and that they should be looking to do something else with their lives. If you’re not there, that feeling can easily intensify, and you might find you have something of a rebellion to deal with once you get back.

In order to stop this from happening, add some harder tasks to the list of things that you would like to be done while you’re away. This will keep your employees interested and give them more of a challenge. They will feel as though you trust them to do something a little more difficult. Make it clear that you are there to help if they need assistance, otherwise, if the task is brand new and too challenging, you might still have problems. If you can’t be the one to offer assistance, delegate the task to someone else who will look after these issues ins your stead when you are traveling.

Make A Challenge List

In order to challenge your employees in a fun way, you can create a challenge list. This is a list of tasks that can be done at any time and in any order, and that are there to be picked up on once all the other work is done. If someone is particularly looking for an additional challenge, they can go to this list and choose something from it. The list can include anything from researching medical marijuana companies for your business to invest in, to looking up new ways of carrying out old jobs using innovative technology, to making a budget for the next advertising campaign.

The list should be available for all employees to take tasks from and to add tasks to as they think of them. Your job is to periodically check through the list and approve or remove the tasks that are there. The tasks should all be related to the company; there is no point in having anything on the list that isn’t going to benefit the business in the short or long term.

A list like this ensures there are always new challenges to look into, and could almost be seen as a reward for completing the usual tasks in a timely manner. If there is a slow week, or a gap between one project starting and another ending, this will also fill in the time and your employees won’t have a chance to become frustrated, bored, or discontented.

Train Them

No matter how much your employees already know, additional training will always be useful for them, and for you. Keeping your employees fully trained up will clearly benefit your business, but it will also show your team that you are looking out for them, and that you want the best for them. They will be able to do their current jobs more efficiently and with greater confidence, and they will also learn new skills that will benefit everyone within the business.

By offering training when you are away on business, you can provide a change of scenery to your employees, and guarantee that they will have learned something new by the time you return.

Make Your Goals Clear

Your employees may see you heading off for yet another meeting or conference in yet another town or city, or perhaps even a different country, and wonder what you are doing, and what benefit it really all is. Keep your employees engaged and focused by keeping them abreast of all the changes and updates within the company in a timely fashion. When you are going away, explain why – keep them involved. By making your ultimate goals for the business clear, and showing them how their own job can be a part of the end result, your employees will see the challenge ahead of them, and want to do their best with regards to meeting it.

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