By Dominic Bria, Psy.D. | June 28, 2022

5 Best Ways to Engage your Remote Team in Process Improvement

Most leaders of distributed teams
teams that work partially or fully remotestruggle with finding ways to engage team members in improving business processes. Once employees do get involved, it can be hard to maintain the momentum.

Fortunately, most remote employees prefer to have a say in how to improve their work processes. Leaders should make it as easy as possible for their remote teams to become involved in these decision-making processes.

Here are five ways to help your remote team engage in improving their business processes.

1. Respect Every Remote Employee
Your team members have intelligence and experience that can produce new and innovative ideas that can take your services and products ever closer to perfection. Spend the time to engage and inspire the passion and tenacity already present in your team

Man leading remote meeting

members and they will eagerly take the lead on improvement efforts. Be sure they have the ongoing support, necessary training, and all other resources they will need to not only do their jobs well, but also engage in continuous improvement and make it their own. Multiple studies have shown strong evidence that proper training, support, and access to resourcesis one of the most impactful antecedents of employee engagement.

2. Foster Teamwork
Process improvement is nearly always a team effort. In remote teams especially, it’s important to encourage high levels of communication and collaboration; a team culture that says “we’re all in this together.” Form cross-functional teams and task them with finding ways to improve specific work processes; find ways to make processes easier, more fun, less expensive, and effective. It will require them to do research and test their ideas, which will foster their creativity and intelligence.

3. Communicate Expectations and Support
The manager of a remote team must consistently communicate the purpose of the project and the expectations of each team member. At the same time, the manager must make her/his support conspicuously visibleyet not overbearingto the entire operation. In other words, it’s important for leaders to not only be involved in process improvement communications, but also to make sure every team member can see that the leader’s support for process improvement efforts is evident in their actions.

4. Make It Easy to Engage
Find ways for remote team members to have fun at work. If their remote work environment is too serious and strict, it can hurt creativity and, consequently, hinder continuous improvement. Enjoyment at work allows employees to be relaxed yet productive. It allows them to bring the best version of themselves to work; the version of themselves that produces great ideas for improvement. If a team member only looks forward to the end of each work day, they are unlikely to be engaged.

5. Step Back
Encourage your remote team members to experiment. In order for any team member to feel safe to explore, they must have the decision-making latitude to test their ideas. Make them scientists. When they come to you with an idea, ask how they will test it and what success will look like. Create a support environment. No one will take risks if they know failure will invite ridicule. In order to innovate, you and your remote team members must engage in some processes that are flawed. The road to perfection is paved with imperfections improved upon. Encourage team members to test, test, test.

The top priority of any process improvement effort should be people. Abiding by that principle will help embed a culture of continuous improvement and service in your remote team. A team with that kind of culture is in the best position to achieve goals of any kind.