We had the opportunity to interview a Yellowship keynote panelist, remote work aficionado, and all-around rockstar about how her team stays aligned despite the physical distance between them. For most of us reading this, we’re in a season of remote work, but for this interviewee, WFH is her norm. And she’s exceptional at leading remote teams onward and upward because of it. Put your hands together for Jennifer Sutherland!
Jennifer is the Director of Training & Development for KellyConnect, which is a division of Kelly Services. KellyConnect partners with brands to provide contact center outsourcing. Jennifer’s job is to train outsourced reps to be exceptional at what they do. The folks at KellyConnect are customer-obsessed and collaborative, and they do incredible work for their clients. Our Customer Marketing Manager, Karlie Briggs, interviewed Jennifer to hear how her remote team does Better Work with thoughtful training, communication, mindfulness, and respect for one another.
Here’s the CliffsNotes version of their conversation:
1. Make sure your tech stack stacks up.
With physical distance comes a massive obligation for company leaders to choose tools that will connect their teams. Healthy remote work cultures can’t happen with limited human interaction, so now is the perfect time to refine your tech stack, and choose tools that kick open digital doors for social interaction and healthy communication. Don’t go back and forth via email or Slack—hop on a Zoom call!
2. Communication is key.
“Communication is key” is a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason. It’s true for both personal and working relationships. Team alignment is no small feat in person, but finding alignment with a remote workforce is a different ball game. Jennifer’s teammates, who often train 1,000+ people at a time, are unphased by the physical distance that might normally hinder communication or her team’s ability to stay on the same page. Everyone is constantly working towards clarity and progress, and because they use Lessonly for scalable and quick communications, they win together and do Better Work.
3. Be mindful of the lack of social cues around you right now.
Social cues are hard to pick up in the remote world. For example, in an office setting, if your coworker leaves for lunch, goes to grab some water, or stops working for a few minutes, it makes everyone around them feel the freedom to do the same throughout the day. Jennifer shared that she has caught herself overworking at times because there aren’t people around to remind her that she’s a person before she’s ever an employee. Focused work involves breaks, so schedule them for yourself. You’ll be more productive in the time you do work and happier at the end of the day.
4. Don’t be afraid to transition classroom training to a virtual one.
Working remotely is no excuse to gyp a team of training and enablement. Oftentimes, online training can feel daunting, but the same principles that apply to in-person training apply to the virtual world. Build breaks into your learners’ schedules. Make training bite-sized. Quiz them along the way to test their knowledge and retention. Take cues from their feedback and adjust accordingly. Online training can become even more effective, especially for global teams, because learners or in KellyConnect’s case, contact center reps, can learn anytime, anywhere that’s convenient for them.
We hope these four tips from Jennifer and Karlie’s conversation empower you to lead your team to Better (remote) Work. Communication, mindfulness, and flexibility during this uncertain time will only result in a team that takes care of each other and themselves.
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