How to give clear feedback to a remote team
A trend that is becoming more and more prevalent for small and micro businesses is the evolution of remote teams. Sometimes it’s a team member working from home, sometimes a contractor or freelancer working interstate or even overseas. In my opinion, this trend isn’t going to change anytime soon – in fact, most experts agree it is more likely to become the norm as cloud services allow us more freedom from traditional workspaces.
With this change to team dynamics comes new challenges around not only company culture and productivity but also communication. We’ve all sent or received that email that was taken completely the wrong way OR worse still was completely misunderstood. I myself often need to send quite complex instructions and feedback to my own team and, while laying it all out in an email or feedback document helps get my head straight, it’s very often met with a barrage of questions from my team who interpret my feedback in varying ways.
The reason? It’s so much easier to demonstrate things visually that to describe them articulately.
So – what’s the solution? It might sound straightforward but using video is the best way you can give really clear and descriptive feedback to your remote team. Before you start saying ‘that sounds like a lot of work’ consider this: it’s much easier to say something to someone that to write an email about it AND clear feedback means fewer questions and quicker responses.
There are really 2 ways to give video feedback. The first is video conferencing. Using a video conferencing tool allows you to speak directly with your team and almost all video conferencing tools allow you to share your screen so that you can demonstrate or visually show feedback as you go. They also let you record the conversation so that the team member can re-watch it as they need to. Additionally, this provides you with a record of all the feedback you gave – V important when dealing with freelancers!
A few great tools are:
- …I should really just stop there it’s so easy to use this one.
The second option (which I actually prefer) is video screengrabbing. It has all the benefits of the first option, apart from the live conversation, but I don’t need to wait for my team to be available to give the feedback. I often create a string of these videos in the early morning or evenings so that they are ready for my team when they log on and I’m busy in meetings etc. We also keep all our important feedback videos on file so that they can be used as training for other team members.
A few great tools are:
- – definitely my favorite though works best if you use Google Apps for Work
- Quicktime – if you’re a mac user