An Open Letter To All Hiring Managers: Is A Sweatshirt Enough?

Connection and communication from managers go a long way with employees that work in a full remote environment. Here's some more insight on the topic.

Hopefully, this topic will be eye-opening for anyone who has employees working for them in a remote environment. It does not matter if you are leading a team of two or leading a team of 5,000. The information I want to share with you is extremely valuable. I usually write about things that have happened during the previous week, but this topic has been brewing over the last year and a half. The experience that I’m going to share with you (and the lessons that hopefully people can learn) is based on my daughter’s first position after being a college graduate in the dreaded year of 2020. However, this pertains to all employees, not just those graduates in the year of COVID whose entire senior year of college was taken away from them.

The Year Of COVID & Your Remote Environment

Let me set the scenario: my daughter was truly fortunate to be able to land a position shortly after graduation with a major firm. Like many graduates from 2020, my daughter was never interviewed in person but was hired over numerous phone calls and would be working from home. Understanding that she was still overly excited about landing a particularly good position, no one had any idea how long she would be working remotely. In the year and a half that she was with this firm she never met anyone in person, only on video conference. Imagine your first year at a new position and not being able to meet with any of your coworkers. Working in a completely remote environment is something we could not even imagine in the realm of possibility a couple of years ago.

Managers, Teams & Working In A Remote Environment

Therefore, managing a remote employee becomes somewhat of a different scenario than what typical leaders are used to. In all fairness, I have heard wonderful experiences of managers truly embracing the remote environment and work situation. Some have weekly happy hours; others have a weekly game. They are simply trying anything to keep the employee feeling a part of their company. However, there are other firms who just took it for granted that having a weekly half-hour call with the entire team was enough. For a new employee who needs feedback and some sort of recognition, that certainly is not enough. Now let me go into more detail about what we as leaders and managers can learn. Before I do that, I do want to say that my daughter has left her current position and is starting a new one today.

Something Small Would Have Gone A Long Way

As my daughter hands in her letter of resignation, everything changes. She is swiftly reached out to by her immediate supervisor as well as his supervisor. They share with her how well she has done with the firm, how valued she is, asking if they can do anything to make this better, if she would like a promotion to a new position, offering to find a new location in California, and even asking who’s going to take over for you. The list goes on and on. For the last week when my daughter tendered her resignation, everyone shared with her how well she had done. Why has it taken this long to recognize her accomplishments? I am not saying my daughter would have stayed. Due to COVID, she did move back to California, but I am postulating that maybe her last six months in this remote environment being alone in her bedroom with little positive feedback could have made a major difference.

Why You Should Take Time To Connect & Communicate Regularly

As I listen to these phone calls coming in, being the recruiter that I am I couldn’t help wondering, “Why did it take so long?”  Why for a new employee was she not receiving feedback on a regular basis? She got some accolades here and there, but is that enough when you’re working remotely? I think people are forgetting that in a remote environment you really need to overemphasize the number of touches you have with your team. Touches should just not consist of “here’s your next task, let me know when it’s done.” That works well in a situation where you’re constantly seeing each other. When you’re not running into anybody other than your dog or your father, you need much more constant communication between management and employee. Tomorrow’s blog will continue this conversation.

Conclusion

If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at harlan@hfriedmansearch.com. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. You can find our listing in the “supplier and services” section of the Red Book under the title of “executive recruiting.”

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.