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If a trend for 2018 is more employers adopting work-from-home policies, then what can managers do with video chatting tools to assist different types of employees? These tips will help people who are trying to facilitate career growth for temporary and permanent employees. Managers are developers of people, and they try to provide their guidance where it will be most helpful. Managers also recognize employees bear the responsibility for changing their behaviors. Expect to get results from coaching efforts only from workers who want to succeed. In this post, we offer 3 tips for managers concerned about employee development:


Where to Start

It’s easy to assume that having the right communications tool will lead to managers coaching employees in effective ways. We researched the issues that managers should target to maximize use of their time. On the one hand, you could consider known skill gaps that employees have. If you focus on their weaknesses, then you may not experience as much success. A Harvard Business Review article by Rigoni and Asplund explains:

“But instead of having people waste too much time trying to improve in areas where they’re unlikely to succeed, managers can form strategic partnerships and thoughtful processes that help them work around their weaknesses. Our data suggest that focusing energy on improving in areas that come most naturally to people reaps high returns, as employees and organizations that incorporate strengths as a strategy tend to realize significantly positive business results.

If you take this advice to heart, then you really want to focus on areas in which employees working from home would benefit the most. We like these ideas:


1. Help employees understand how to successfully implement new customer service delivery models.

The video chatting feature on your learning management system or shared workspace make it easy for a manager to go through role-playing scenarios with an employee. You can’t bring an employees into the office for every little thing, but you could review their current performance data and practice customer service scenarios where they need to sharpen skills. For example, handling angry customers who want refunds is something employees in all sales-based organizations should practice.


2. Focus on giving coaching (which are sessions for addressing specific strengths employees want to enhance) to those who indicate interest in this service.

You aren’t going to change employee behaviors or personalities with coaching. You can’t use coaching to solve problems that they are having at work and at home. However, you could use video chat to discuss employee needs and then adapt their specific roles. For example, an employee who normally keeps all of a team’s records may need to give this role to someone else while working from home. Employees may need to be assigned to new groups, having at least one partner who’s always in the office with access to paper records and internal computing systems.


3. Encourage employees to stay informed regardless of their work status.

Implementing a work-from-home policy helps workers who might quit due to family situations a way to continue their employment with your organization. Use video chat sessions to keep telecommuters updated on what they have missed in recent training programs. For example, when you send workers a video presentation or a PowerPoint over email, they may not receive the special tips that the presenter shared with other workers in person. When you review a training program with telecommuters, it’s a good time to share the tips and to answer their questions. When employees ask questions that you don’t know the answer to, make a note of them and then get back to them. You can also create short videos to update all employees as a follow-up to seminars you attend as a manager.