Updated: Jul 9, 2020
Ron Yang is leading Product Management and UX at Aha!, a 100% remote company (from the start), and now employs around 150 people worldwide.
What are the best practices managers can use to lead their team to meet all targets and KPIs during turmoil?
I think that visibility and transparency are two key themes in remote organizations. Regarding targets and a goals-perspective, you have to have that visibility. People have to know what they are shooting for.
In addition, at this point, we need to have a focus on empathy. We need to understand, "What's it like to be our employee?" and be more aware of what they may be dealing with currently.
A lot of people are freaking out about what is happening. As a leader, we need to remain calm and help them to get through this. Some of that can be done just by talking to them.
Another area is really about empowering the teams. A lot of employees want to take their minds off things that are going on. People want to do work that makes a difference, and they want to contribute. It is a matter of helping them to find those leads and make that difference so that their customers can be happy.
If you practice these ideas in combination, the targets and revenue goals will take care of themselves. Right now, it is about trust and empowering. That is the crucial thing to focus on at this time.
How to avoid the overload of calls and communication while working remotely?
In general, we all have a lot of meetings, and we are always looking for a way to cut down on that. Now that people are home, everyone is going to schedule a call for pretty much everything. You don't have that environment where you would see each other and drop by to discuss things. So, it becomes a matter of scheduling meetings.
You have to ask yourself if the meeting is essential. Can asynchronous communication replace it? Can you change the frequency of that meeting? Can it be supplemented in different ways?
One-on-ones, the direct reports, and the weekly team meetings that you have are essential. But try to hotspot other communications and to get things done without having a set meeting.
Bonus question - what are good ways to maintain a positive atmosphere and keep morale high, especially during COVID-19?
For sure, everyone is going through the same thing right now. At times like these, people need to rally together; they need to hear stories about the good deeds that are happening, and most importantly, they need each other.
We have Slack channels. Some of these are interest-based. We have a unique channel called Lovability. Members can share the kind words that come from our customers or something in a product that had a significant impact. It's a great way to see the good that is out there and how we make a difference.
Our company platform includes a channel where people can see things that others do for each other within the organization. It helps people to feel good about what they are doing and how they help one another. We also have channels around exercise, food, sports, or tech.