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Remote Workers: Managing, Coaching Them Toward Engagement

Remote Workers: Managing, Coaching Them Toward Engagement

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 7, Episode 37
  • Discover key insights on remote workers' needs, and how to manage and coach them effectively to greater engagement, in this Gallup Research for Coaches webcast.

On a recent Called to Coach, we spoke with Dr. Adam Hickman, Gallup's Content Manager, about the unique challenges of managing and coaching remote workers as well as keeping them engaged at your organization, and Gallup's research that addresses these challenges.

Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.

Jim Collison 0:00

Hi, I'm Jim Collison and live from the Gallup campus here in Omaha, Nebraska, This is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on September 27, 2019.

Jim Collison 0:20

Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you are listening live, I'd love to have you join us in our chat room. There's a link for that right above, right above the main video window on our live page. Not in -- not this way anymore, Adam, but up here. You always like that. If you have questions after the fact, you can always send us an email: Dr. Adam Hickman is our guest today. Adam is Gallup's Content Manager here at Gallup and one of my Q10s -- that means he's my best friend at work. Adam, welcome to Called to Coach.

Adam Hickman 0:59

Thanks, Jim, or should I say, Mr. Collison. Appreciate it.

Jim Collison 1:02

Ah, there you go. Now you can't -- you can only say that once.

Adam Hickman 1:04

OK, fair enough.

Jim Collison 1:05

We're looking to move on. Adam, one of the questions we get a lot in -- has been a very popular topic, of course, because the American workplace and I think the global workplace, is really spreading out, right? We're beginning to see a lot more remote workers. Can't speak for the rest of the globe. But I know here in the United States, I think we struggled with a little bit and just kind of how to manage it. Gallup has done a ton of data and a ton of research in this area, in -- as part of American -- State of the American Workplace report had kind of launched a section. You've actually kind of become our expert, when we think about remote workers, and why it's important. We're going to discuss that here during the session today. You've become really kind of our resident expert on that. And so as we think about remote workers, Adam, why is this so important? Why -- Why would we create a separate section just for this?

Adam Hickman 1:53

Yeah, good question. And I -- it's, as soon as you said, I thought like, it's kinda like the Hair Club analogy, where like I'm just the president, I'm a member. Well, I'm not just the guy that knows a little bit about remote working, I work from home as well. So poor reference on the hair, but you get my point. And what the scary -- some of the statistics to go around this that we've talked about, if you've not had a chance to download the, State of the American Workplace report, it's out there, I'll make sure -- I'll put the link in there for you. Because there's a whole section dedicated to what we've studied when it comes to remote working. And then also matrixed teams. And those -- those words and things get mixed up so often, I hope we can bring some clarity to it as well. But to Jim's point, why do we do this? Well, let's first start with where we're at in the U.S. population, with 33% of the workforce being engaged. Yeah, pops us up. Is that a problem? Well, yeah, think of the inverse number of that. So I mean, just look at your workplace today, or where you're at today, or where you experience or buy something. If knowing only 33% of that workplace is engaged, how come we are making that purchase, or you know, I always I love the analogy I've heard some of our other Gallup experts say about when if you've got 4 or 5 doctors around you going into a surgery, I hope they're -- they're of that 33%. If not, you might want to consider something different. But outside of that State of the American Workplace comes a couple other statistics that we should pay close attention of when you're thinking about not just remote working, but how do you coach these employees as well? So we also report that 51% of employees are actively looking for a new job or watching for openings. So if statistically, we can say if you've got more than two of you in the room working for the same company, one of you is looking for an opening.

Jim Collison 3:37

You, Adam, not me.

Adam Hickman 3:41

But also that the scarier point of that is that 91% left their employers to switch jobs. So what does that mean to you? What's mean to you as a coach? That means that they didn't have the trusting relationship with a specific role. I don't know if you know the role at all, but it's a specific role, to be able to say, this, this role is not working for me; can I think about something else? 91% just left their company; said, "I'm out. I have nothing to do with this." So how does that relate to remote working? Well, it's an option that people want and they desire and they need and there's just so much research that we produce, but others as well, to say that's got to be on a menu of options, if the demands of your job can allow for it. So where are we at right now? Well we say, we report 43% of the employees work away from their team members every day. This is where this can get muddy. Because there's all this bias and assumption out about remote working, where -- I'm sure you've seen some of the, I don't remember the name, some of the names of the most recent movies, where there's somebody's working from home, they're on their couch with their cat and they've got a drink, or you know, or the case maybe they're on the beach or they're not working at all. They say they're working from home; I even think there's some great memes out there that go along with this. Where we've actually reported the opposite; we say that our -- and I'll show you here in a couple minutes here some of the stats, we have to it. Not only engagement, but dare I say, performance (I've got a lot of Competition, by the way), that we compete, we also perform at a higher capacity because we -- there's things that we don't experience. My "drive time" is from that door to this seat. So I can work a little bit longer; I can sign in a little bit more -- more quickly. I can -- on a Saturday, if if I know Jim's waiting for an email from me or something of that sort, and it's on my mind. The tendency is for me to just activate and get it done. I don't have to drive to the office to do it; I'll just take care of it real quick, right.

Adam Hickman 5:33

And there's things that are taxing, things that come along with that. But all of that circles around what we're report and what we discuss as a possibility. So, you know, where where does that go from here? How does that happen? Where it goes from here is it's not on a decline; remote working continues to climb. And we've reported it; I think everybody else in the world reports it -- that's another one of those ones to say like, well, millennials are used to technology. No kidding. But also remote working is on the rise as well. As for what we've reported, to be an exact, it's a 5% increase from the last time we surveyed this back in 2012. And I know some some folks might say, "5%, Adam, is not that big." But if you think holistically of how many people we we poll and we survey to get these numbers, that's a lot of people to move that as a 1%, let alone a 5%.

Adam Hickman 6:23

That next number you're saying there about the 54% of office workers who say they would change jobs, that should be an alarming number as a coach because you know you if you're coaching someone that's going in for an interview, or maybe it's going to have one of those challenging conversations with their manager about what they expect or what they need, then you should know how to work that into their conversation. So, for instance, I wasn't always remote. I was in Omaha, right? Right beside my friend in the red shirt here. Mistakenly?

Jim Collison 6:52

Literally, right next ...

Adam Hickman 6:52

Yeah. It was pretty great. There's many times that I think we shouted through the walls at one another for a conversation's sake. And to be able to say, I've got some life situations that I need to change and I need to go back to my hometown, right outside of Youngstown [Ohio], I should represent my area here. You know that that took probably 6 months of my Analytical, Competition, Ideation, Individualization mind to wrap around, to be able to head into that conversation with my manager. And if I had a coach, which I did, he's also wearing that red shirt. I think. I think he meant the what -- put "M" there; "M" comes before "N." To help me get prepared for that conversation, to be able to say, you know, I need to go remote, and here's why. And my -- and my manager, Scott Miller, if you've ever interacted with him, he's fantastic. You know, just as a coaching manager, what started to talk about what's that mean for your relationships; how are you going to get work done? Even Jim, I mean, I think when I first when I told you it was a it was a sad moment. I think I waited till a Friday. And I like moonwalked right past your office. I said, "Jim, I'm going remote, bud."

Jim Collison 8:04

But, but Adam, we have done a bunch, you know, in this setting. We've intentionally been and my role as manager here, I knew when you were going remote, we'd have to do some -- have some very intentional practices to keep us connected. I'm -- just even yesterday, we haven't talked in a week or two. And I just pinged you and it's like, dude, I just need to see your face like can you really ...

Adam Hickman 8:24

I get that often.

Jim Collison 8:25

A few minutes ... I know you do. But I think, you know, you you held up the book, It's the Manager, when you were talking about the problem. I think we need to -- you know, we need to realize that, and I think what we're trying to say, we're going to cover some of this data here in just a second. That this happens intentionally, like we have to be, and coaches, when you're working with your managers, right, this is kind of the direction we're headed and why we're talking about this remote worker on Called to Coach is because we want you coaching. We want you to be the smartest person in the room and coaching these managers to realize like, hey, if we've got remote workers off site, there are some things they need to watch for that are going to affect their engagement. And if you're going to turn them from boss to coach, they're gonna have to do some things differently. They can't just, you can't let these remote workers go and expect a one one-time-a-week conference call with them to, to replace face-to-face communication. You know, you got to, you've got to get them back often and have them on site and have these meetings this way. So if you're wondering, like, why would I be concerned about this, I think this is really where we're coming at this this point is, you can be coaching the managers you coach. And we got some more stats, when we think about, let me bring those back up. My email was was jumping in on me there for a second, I had to kind of get that fixed. But when we look at, and I think the face of remote working has changed a little bit as well. One, it's gotten easier, and two, it's gotten a little more complex with the ways we have to communicate now. I mean, you probably have 4 or 5 different ways to communicate with me. And it's great that it's more than it used to be; it's also more confusing than it used to be. But when we look at this data, what are we seeing between 2012 and 2016?

Adam Hickman 10:03

Yeah, this first, and again, comes out of State of the American Workplace. If you want these after this date, that's where you go get these out. And there's way more in there. But I wanted, I pulled out these ones specifically. This one just gives you the time employee spend working remotely. And it's good, it's good data to know that if you've got -- if you're working with a company or leader that's considering, I want to make it remote, I want to let it happen, but I'm a little nervous about how much or how -- when this possibility is. I've even heard leaders talking about like, well, I don't want them to work remotely on Monday or Friday. I'm always, "Well, why? What's what's wrong with those days, they still end in D-A-Y? So it's not going to make a big difference anyway, but now you're dealing with perception. And you can kind of get past the surface-level piece to it. But this just gives you a number of what percentage of time people are spending working remotely.

Adam Hickman 10:51

The more interesting data if we can go a little bit further here. If you want to dig into, OK, well tell me a little bit about the industries. So Jim, if you would scroll down the next page, or next piece that you'll see here is that we've even calculated what's the percentage of employees working remotely. And pretty much anything you can think of. So when we asked them what industry you're in, when we're talking remote, you know, you can see financial, insurance, real estate, just all the way down to the education. And as you look at these, what's the most telling story as as a coach to me would be if I'm coaching these folks in here, and they're not thinking about remote working, you probably are missing some of the most talented individuals that are in transportation because they're looking for remote positions. Or they have in that high expectancy because there's an incline there.

Adam Hickman 11:35

And then if you start to think of well, what's possible with a job that doesn't have remote working? Here's the trick you can do. If you think of healthcare, or even law in public policy, I always will say that if you're thinking of does this role fit a remote working environment? You've thought about it wrong to start. You've got to think, Do the demands of the job allow for you to work remotely? That makes the difference. For instance, daycare worker, not working remote, you gotta be there, right? That's part of those job demands. But if you think of in healthcare, or transportation, or in real estate, does that -- do those demands allow for the possibility of doing it somewhere else in an office? Sure. And then if you look further down, you know, that education/training and library, well, you could make the same argument for a teacher, they've got to be there. But maybe their professional development days doesn't need to be done in the office, maybe other aspects of the demands of their job, you can allow where it's not dependent upon, you've got to be in this brick-and-mortar type of building.

Adam Hickman 12:36

Then we flow forward a little bit more down that page. Well, then tell me a little bit about their engagement. And this is one of those numbers, I think it's fantastic that we've reported, and I've seen it cited quite often. I cite it -- cite it quite a bit, anything I write remote working. But look at the look at the similarities between "None of the time" and "All of the time." Right? That's the, that's the telling story here about engagement. If somebody that works in the office all of the time has the same engagement that works none of the time, well, what's the story to be told there? And you would say, It's the person; it's not just the manager, but it's the person that's in that role, because they are set up in an environment to thrive, where they've got access to everything in what we say, Q12-related. From materials to relationships to a manager that acts like a coach, and is there and available, to best friends at work that say, "Adam, I need to see your face today." Those all make that environment where it doesn't matter if you're in, it doesn't matter if I'm at the Gallup Riverfront office or in DC, Irvine or wherever the case may be, that I still know that I'm still on I'm still on the clock, I'm still visible, I'm still there's still somebody out there thinking about -- there's still somebody that someone that cares. And that keeps that level of engagement just the same as if somebody that walks in.

Adam Hickman 13:54

So then you look at that middle number -- those with Competition, I'm with you, I went right to the 41. I'm like, well tell me all about that number. So that's that 2 to 3 days a week that they're out, you know, working remotely. So how possible is that and things of that sort? I don't always want to drill into the fact that it's it's got to be remote and things -- it's that flexibility. So for instance, I'm sure there's times, Jim, where, you know, you're you're centrally located there to come into the office, but you've got to be somewhere else or, you know, and do you need to drive back to the office to finish out your last 10 minutes of the day? No, you don't. And I know that there's still -- I've talked with leaders that still have that assumption, like, well, if you've got 30 minutes left in your day, you got to return to the office. Why? What happens from the job demands from the time I drive there till I get there to turn around and leave and come home, right? You just wasted productivity time where you could have had something done differently. OK, let's keep going.

Jim Collison 14:49

Before we move, I have a great example this morning, which is almost different than what you'd expect or what you would expect. So I have a team in Lincoln, so Lincoln's an hour and some change from Omaha, and it's all the way across town from Gallup. And so we have a team there. And of course, we've had a really, really busy week here, at Gallup, getting some things done. And so for me, if to -- to meet the team in Lincoln, which I really like to do, because I think it's really, really -- they're our remote workers, right, they are this team in Lincoln; they're not on campus. They're going to -- they're university students there. And so they are remote workers. So as a manager, it feels really, really important that I'm in person with them. But for me, that's an -- that's 2 hours lost today, not, you know, not very, a really valuable time for me today to get some things done.

Jim Collison 15:34

So to be able to call that team and say, Hey, look, I'm not going to be able to make it today -- will -- I'll join you on the video. But we set up really good videoconferencing to make sure this feels, acts and feels, like we're all in person. But to have that flexibility to be able to work from work today -- like, to be able to come in and get that done and have that be able to have that meeting, saving me an hour or 2 1/2 hours on that, in the remote space. That is the kind of pieces that where I think people are looking for is that flexibility to be in the place make those decisions. I made that decision at like 11:30 last night. I was just like, OK, I can't, I can't do this. I emailed the team, hey, I'm going to be on site, we're going to do it that way. And so I think that's -- when we think about remote workers, not just the traditional sense of working from home, but the flexibility to call where work needs to be. Where you need to be at that moment, whether that's in another city or in another place or even another location. So I like to blow that out a little bit more and get people thinking like, Hey, we're actually working from work sometimes -- I make that joke, you know, when the weather goes bad, everybody's like, ah, we're going to work from home today, I'll always send a note: I just wanna let you know, I'll be working from work. And, you know, but even that flexibility of being able to make that call, I think is super helpful.

Adam Hickman 16:51

Oh, cool, cool. Well, let's keep digging into the engagement piece of this. And this is this is the beauty of, if you follow our workplace articles, you get way more than just a great read; you get the latest statistics that we have that sometimes we don't land in our other reports. So this is a great example. So from our State of the American Workplace report, there were things that we wanted to pack more in, or that we just didn't either have space or real estate to do. And this is one of those examples. So in one of the latest articles about remote working, I wrote, We pulled this data in that we we didn't include in this data. But it's in this in this article to show that not only is there the same contingencies and thoughts about remote workers, so the employees, but you also have those that are remote managers. And everything that you experience and believe about remote working has the same conditions for the remote manager, they're just more distant from their folks.

Adam Hickman 17:47

And so here's some interesting stats that we've pulled that around, just the difference between what the thinking is from remote managers to employees. And the one that I always find that most interesting is that you made a lot of progress. That has the most percentage difference amongst the other ones, there's my Competition again coming out at you. You know, why is that the case? And I wish I wish we had more time to dig into this one. But I would I would imagine that if you have a manager in place with true manager talent, that they know that they're supposed to be developing their employees and keeping them engaged every single day. That's their two primary responsibilities that they're coming into work every day with. Then they're firing on all cylinders of doing recognition and progress and development to where they might have that feeling, well, where's mine? How do I get to that point? And then you got to think the elevation of that the -- the manager that they report to, how are they doing the same tactics and things that that, that you've coached that other individual or you've coached that manager to do for their employees? Are they getting the same things? And that's where this crazy little phenomenon around workplace isolation comes into place.

Adam Hickman 18:51

So what is that? In essence, are you isolated? Sure. Right? I'm in my, I'm in my domain here. And Jim's in his spot. You are where you are. You could immediately say you're in isolation, unless you're at a park or there's people around you and things of that sort. The difference is, is when you have that belief that you're absent. Does anyone know I'm at work today? Does anybody care? I'm on Skype, I'm on Teams, I'm on, I don't know the earlier versions, but whatever that shows the light's on, right, wherever you're at. If it's not there, then you make the assumption, maybe they're not on and this just whole belief system gets built around, well if I'm not here, then no one cares. And then the "what ifs" start arriving, right? And those with Analytical, you know what I'm talking about, the "what ifs." We go to the second location to the third location, and on and on it goes. So what does that do? What does that happen? Well, I spent a year and Dr. Barter's on this I see, as well, with some others, on exploring what exactly happens to your performance as a remote worker when you get that sense -- that, that belief of isolation. And so some of the literature I found that I thought was most interesting, if you want to dig into further, as this will be one of the phenomenons you'll run into when you're coaching remote employees, is that the minute you have that sense that that that belief that you're absent in a company, that the the recent study I found from 2011 really is around a 21% decrease in performance. We've lost Jim.

Jim Collison 20:22

No, I'm here. Just stepping out to give you some screen time.

Adam Hickman 20:26

Okay, great. I love this. This, the second thing to keep an eye on is around the UCLA Loneliness Scale. So if you if you dive back further in the literature related to isolation in itself, not in remote working spaces, just get the fundamentals of how you're going to be able to coach to it and speak to it. That really is where it starts. And I love the UCLA Loneliness Scale. But I'll say, if you're not lonely by the time you take it, you will be by the time you end taking it. Because there's a lot of questions involved with it. And so the recent adaptations get you to the more current state of what that is. But just know that you know, what's in the back your mind, with 21% of your of your performance daily is at risk the minute there's that belief there. So how do you do something about that? That's what we're going to get into next. The study I did involved a customer service industry, so customer facing, just think about anything where there is a consumer, and there's the workers that's going to interfere with them and interact with them. And so I talked to 21 different remote workers of four different divisions within the within the company itself. And what we're able to determine where things like social interactions between one another; that doesn't have to be between you and your manager, that can be between peers; that could be between consumer and anybody that there's just a live social interaction between one another. That manager communication was key. It doesn't have to be a formal -- I love when we say, in our millennial work that we do, that, you know, one point -- I forget what it is -- like 1.5 times a week, you should connect with your millennials. And immediately people are like, I've got a schedule how many meetings a week? I'm like, no, these do not have to be formal. These could be emails, they could be a message on whatever you use for internal communication. It could be a text, I mean, the things that just go around with just letting them know, 1) you've thought about them, and 2) you made an effort to reach out to them.

Adam Hickman 22:17

Then that peer-to-peer interactions influence on the job. That's more around having that best friend at work. One of the things I always loved about the "Best Friend" question, because I'll, I'll admit, and right now, I am not high Relationship themes; I'm more into Thinking themes side of things. And coming from a company that was very safety-culture oriented, I never in a million years would have thought how much difference a best friend at work would have made. But thinking back now to those peers I had in that company, we watched out for one another quite frequently, even to this day. I was on the phone with one last week, just talking through things that they were going through, where that interaction had an influence of how I did my job, even to the fact of how I do my job today. All of those lead to that when when isolation is present, you can either frame it as a good thing or frame it as a bad thing. And out of the study, you know, I go into it being told, Don't be biased, you got to do all this right. And I'm thinking, I've got this. And then come to find out that these individuals were so far ahead in thinking of how this isolation could affect their performance that they had framed it in a way of a good thing. I mean, they expected as they were doing their work, they wanted to be isolated, they wanted to be remote, because the demands of the job is what excited them and a part of that demand was, you're going to be on your own, you're going to be in your own office, you know, you don't have Jim right next to you to be able to do so or to go over and talk to. And so they had framed it in a way that it was helpful for them to the extreme that they'd made mention about when they went into the office, they couldn't get any work done because there was too many people come up and talking to them. Or they suffered from the "Hey, got a minute?" syndrome, right? Like, can we can we talk for a second. They're like, No, I just want to get work done. And they were excited to go back to isolated state. So not always is there a negative stigma to it; it's just again, back to those demands. So some of the things from the study I brought out, and then we'll we'll keep going here about how do you coach these, is just the efforts around your increased communication. And I would even say, you know, if it doesn't have to be an academic form, it's gener -- it's genuine communication. So from from things that just text message, I always say to remote managers, if you feel it, act on it. If you feel like you ought to give recognition for something, then do it. If you feel you haven't spoke to your employees for -- maybe it's because you haven't. So say something to them, email them, text them something so they know, in their own isolated state of mind that there is somebody more curious about them today that they reached out for some sort of communication.

Jim Collison 24:49

Adam, I think this area of recognition is one where it's the hardest when we think about remote workers. And I'm not sure anybody's cracked the nut on it, to be honest. We've -- we do a lot of things here for that. But I think about your experience, you know, we do this monthly Roundtable & Recognition event, and it's really hard to make that feel -- it's like watching the Academy Awards. It's great when you're there; not so great on the TV, right. And so I think we have to be really, really creative. You know, we saw that number up here that you know, 17%, in the numbers we saw above, Recognition always takes it on the chin on our Q12 surveys globally. And so even when you're together in person, it's difficult. I think we have some opportunities as we walk through, you know, still continuing to think about these. That's an area as a coach, if you can get your managers or remote, you know, recognizing the remote workers. Man, I think that could that can be a game-changer from an employment standpoint.

Adam Hickman 25:49

And it's twofold, too. So even though -- when you get recognition, that it keeps coming back. Because if you win an award, then you know as a manager, others are going to say something; then you're going to get something in the mail maybe. And it's just a continuous loop of recognition for it. Your connection to your remote teams -- those are just materials and equipment, right? So your -- are your employees set up to be able to work in a remote environment where they don't feel the disrupt -- the disturbance of if they're not in their headquarters? How big, how big is the the time frame to open up a file or open up a PowerPoint or open up whatever the case may be? All those things considered, do they have the same experience as they would in your headquarters? If not, then either say it and let them know that, or figure out a way of how that's going to -- how you can fix that. The develop and enforce policy, that's one that's out there where if people get a lot of excitement about, like, well, we're going to build a remote working policy. And you can -- I've worked for companies, big companies, that that do have a remote working policy. Where you miss the boat is the individualization piece that we'll cover here in a minute, I'll come back to that. The awareness of remote working -- great and is it accepted or not, sometimes I feel like it's a taboo topic where it's like, well, that pocket of folks can work remotely, but we can't because that's how that just is or I don't -- I don't have the right title to be awarded that. If there is such a thing where there are different levels, just be honest and transparent about it on why these folks can or why these folks can't.

Adam Hickman 27:14

The the idea that you can improve training materials and delivery -- everybody that's I bet you listening to this or has or will be in the future, that you've been to some sort of management training. Ask yourself how many times that you've given advice on something and there's been the "Oh, let's talk about how that works in a remote environment." Because you could say all things great about learning and development trainings, but it's a different bend for what it becomes to remote because the same tactics that you do for your in-office employees will not work for your at-home employees, for your remote employees. There's a different spin to how the you've got to make it; there's a different intentionality. It's not a "I can't end this call with Jim today and say, hey, how things -- how'd things go, or what did you think? There's a different intention becomes that rather than if we were sitting in the same room.

Adam Hickman 28:05

OK, so here's the grand fubar -- the last piece to it. How do you coach these employees, Jim? Well, you start with that individualization piece. And I know those that have high Individualization -- hopefully you're saying, well, yes, thank you; that's exactly how we start this -- is that you have to understand the person first before there they are, the employee. And you do that through, you know, encourage your remote employees to share them stories, not just about work, but what's going on in their life. How are things going? It was confusing at first when I started these conversations at Gallup with my manager, because I'm all work, work, work, work, work. And so when I would get on the phone, and someone's like, hey, how was your weekend? And I'm like, it was fine. But like, let's talk what we got this week -- quit asking me about that. It over time it wears on you, and you do feel that that engagement piece -- the, they're not just asking that because that was what was taught and that management training. They're asking it because they genuinely care. You try and hear your remote employees' thoughts and opinions surpassing what it is that -- what they're asking. So when they say, "Gosh, it was a tough day today," you don't just, you know, reply back with "Yep, me too." Like, hear him out. Why was it such a tough day? Well, it was because because I could I didn't have enough bandwidth, or I was having connectivity problems. So there's that surface level and then that, you know, what's below there. I love the next one about bringing clarity of expectations. Because the scarier statistic to this is that how many people walk into the workplace every single day, they don't have a clue what's expected of them.

Adam Hickman 29:35

If you have remote workers that you're either coaching or you're working with, or you're considering that, that has got to be the top priority that when you sit down -- when I sit down today, I don't need to have a checklist that says -- a checklist that says, Adam, do this. It's got to be clear to me what's expected of me holistically in my job to where I can just drill down to what it is that needs to be accomplished. This week, this day, this hour, this minute, where I don't need to have some, you know, an hourly check-in with my boss to be able to say, or my manager to be able to say, "Here's what I'm working on" a week later, "Is this good?" It's just expected that that's how that works. And how you do that is through conversations about you know, what do you get paid to do? We sometimes say that in our courses when we talk about you know what, what it is and I'm always curious to hear back, you know, the for what they get paid to do to actually what they're working on is two -- two different completely things. The last two pieces here about trusting relationships and belief in talent -- well, only in the belief in talent, I just think because coaches have such a belief in talent. But when you cultivate a trusting relationship with your with your manager, or even with a manager that you're coaching that has remote employees, I don't know who's that engine, maybe you can and maybe you can tell me if this was who this was in the Gallup era, but when your strengths serve you, it's great; when they serve others, that's the best possibility. Is that Jeremy that says that or I don't remember who.

Jim Collison 31:00

No, I'll have to look it up.

Adam Hickman 31:02

Can I claim it? I'm going to claim it right now. Yeah, it's mine.

Jim Collison 31:05

You know the three phases: someone said; it's been said; I've always said. Then you own it at that point.

Adam Hickman 31:11

Okay, Hickman said, that's the fourth one. So yeah, I think that's absolutely the truth of this in with this. One is that if you can anticipate your needs and their needs in the same sense, then you're doing more than just a typical manager would do for a remote employee. Or if you're a remote employee, and you're thinking about your manager on how that relationship is going to work, if you're anticipating their needs along with yours, you're in a really good spot. So for instance, I won't name-drop, but his name's Ken Royal. Sometimes I work with him on projects within Gallup; he's got great articles on about engagement, if you're curious about him. I know that if we've gone too long, or I haven't checked in with him if I'm working on a project for him. I just send him an update. Because he's he's all the way in California; we're three different time zones away. And just being -- in a remote anticipating, if I was him, wanting to know where I was at, because I can't walk over and talk with them, then I better send some sort of an update that can say where we're at, right? And that just helps build that trusting relationship.

Adam Hickman 32:15

To be able to know what they're thinking feeling and going through requires some of those talents that are in my Bottom 30. In my whole, I would just say they're not even "on"; the lights are completely off. But it does, it does push you into that, that caliber being able to think through, you know, it's Friday at 3 o'clock and my remote working team's looking to see where everyone's at. Why don't I just check in with them, see how they're doing, what's going on for the weekend, or what's coming up next week for that, Right, that breaks that time frame of -- we know Friday at 3 o'clock when they're, you know, no, I don't see any lights on; everybody must have left. But at least your manager knows that they're still thinking about them, and they're out there. Then there's that last piece around the belief and talent in your remote workers. Separate the books that are in the in the office. One of the cool quotes I heard at Gallup when I first came on about our hiring practice and things is, and Andrew, you're right, seeing people's faces is so important. I just -- sometimes it's -- well, I'll let Jim talk about that too. But having the budget to be able to do that in a big huge company takes time. And so to know how to break that sense of isolation -- people's faces doesn't always need to be employees. It's that you've got -- you've got other people around you that you can see and talk to as well.

Adam Hickman 33:27

But that last piece around belief in talent is that talent falls out of people's mouth, you just got to listen. And I think that those those that are on here and listening that are coaches that have really sunk into the strengths-based philosophy and things that we we say and do and hear is that every conversation you typically can hear some talent coming out of people's mouth, right? High Relator, Activator, Maximizer, Command, you know, Competition. I met somebody who had Command No. 1; it's the first time I've ever had this happen. Mine's No. 2. And the more that he talked, I just thought like, man that is really, I have never heard it that bold before. But there it is, in that that your your belief in the talent of your remote employees is not -- it's it's not a trip. I love this analogy where you know, trips are predictable, you plan them, you do things that you say you're going to do. But it's more of a journey. So you learn more about your remote workers along that journey than just that trip that you take with him. You know, at the beginning, if you were in the pre-show, I started in a designer role where I designed our courses, our interventions. And what has been uncovered since going remote is the role that I'm in now. And I'm not sure we would ever would have made that journey if had I not gone remote. So if you've got a belief in talent, great. If not, you really got to think through and sink into, you know, what comes out of your individuals' mouths that you work in remote environment, and how do you leverage that every day? That's that coaching aspect that you get behind that person to be able to help support.

Jim Collison 34:56

Adam, couple comments from the chat room. Distribute Consulting said, asynchronized collaboration is such a powerful tool. I highly recommend video screen shares! Right, and I, I have made a living off this over the last 7 or 8 years of just demanding we're on video. In fact, if we do a call and I'm on it, you're going to be on video. Like, that's -- that's just the way it is; turn your video on. And they're like, well, I didn't get ready. And I'm like, I don't care. Like I really don't care how people look, so ...

Adam Hickman 35:22

I didn't do my hair today either. That's how it worked.

Jim Collison 35:25

I've been meaning to ask you about that. Andrea -- seeing people's faces is so important, then I think this is a good one too: Adam, when you pivoted to remote, what were the first few weeks like from a management standpoint, and what were the key challenges, do you think? How did we do? Give us a kind of give us a scorecard -- you went away; you and I had a conversation that last day, and I said I'm going to do everything I can to call you just as often as possible, to make sure we stay connected. But what was the management experience like for you?

Adam Hickman 35:55

Good. And here, so many support it. So we've got a unique environment, Jim, right, this is inside baseball here. But we've got a unique environment. So our managers are what I would consider the best I've ever worked for, and coming out of some Fortune 500 companies. But the intentionality that they do to support you before you go remote, it's kind of like getting on the highway, right? Things -- as you're getting going through that E-Z Pass or you're getting on the highway, what are the what's going to happen? So it's the communication with your team and peers. It's the What are your key relationships, those individuals you've got to connect with them, make sure they know that you're going remote and not just one day, it's like, well, hey, what happened to Hickman, where'd he go? Right? I still see a stock photo on on Outlook, but I don't know, I haven't seen him. And then when you actually go remote, so when you're in that first week, two weeks, three weeks, even now, it's been a little over a year since I've been remote. And we still have those conversations about How's it going? What are the things that are challenging? What are not? When do you feel like you need to be in the office? Or what projects are you working on? And it's just developing that trusting point to be able to say, I don't need to come in for this; I can do this remotely. Or I, you know, Jim and I were talking right before this where I feel like I've got a couple of projects; I need to see people's faces, Andrea, but also that it's it's key that we're we're eye to eye, whether it can be over the web or in person as a possibility.

Adam Hickman 37:20

What was the second part to that? So key key challenges I would definitely say is the relationship. But just getting comfortable with, you know, we had an environment at Gallup at the Riverfront that was -- had a lot of social aspect to it. So lunchtime sometimes was the best meetings in the world, because they were unscheduled. And you could just catch someone in the moment. Or, Jim is really good at this too. If you get in early enough and sit in our atrium, you could have like six or seven meetings that were unscheduled and get so much accomplished. It was unbelievable; I missed that part of it. Those are the challenges. I'd say the highest -- the biggest one is the relationships, and then having the intentionality to go support that and change that, it's hard, especially when you don't have a ton of Relationship themes in your Top 10 or your Top 30. And they're all in that Bottom 4. That, I would say that that's that's the hardest part.

Jim Collison 38:12

Yeah, and I think, you know, when you guys are in town -- I'm not your manager, by the way. You know, when you're in town, I intentionally make time to go out with you, to be available to you, to try to capture those either via lunch, or even in the evenings, I try to make my evening time available. You're here, you're out of town, you're not, it's not like you have anything planned for the evenings, let's, let's take advantage of that time and do dinner together or, you know, have a happy hour together. Think that's really, really important that to take advantage of those moments you do have, The atrium trick is just a quick connect. Like that's what we call those, these those management discussions, it's a quick connect and I have so many ties to so many people in the company, to see them in the morning and give them a 5 to give them a chance to have a 5-minute conversation with me saves me 30 minutes of a meeting somewhere or miscommunication, right? So it's those tricks, even with your remote workers, when you're bringing them in or going to see them. This isn't one of those things I don't think we take enough advantage of is coming, you know, hey, I'm gonna be in town, Adam, I need to find some way to get you know, if I'm gonna be in your location, I need to find some time to be in your space. Right, and get that done, kind of as well. So I think there are some tricks, I think we see we've still got some opportunities here. In the book. It's the Manager, you've got that on your shelf, I think we have a section in that book, just on remote working. Am I correct? Is there a chapter in there?

Adam Hickman 39:36

Let me see. A couple things we should mention in this book. If you're if you're working towards what are the things that I need to work with managers to become better at remote work management? I would I would pay close attention to -- I want to make this quick for you, Jim. Page -- it's chapter 17, page 63. That's our latest on what we would consider our competency work that's out there. Those are really good -- 7, what we'll say, behavioral expectations that you should keep a close eye on for you know what's required from a great manager, and then think of those things like developing people on how you can do that as a remote employee or as a remote manager. Anything else that I would say -- I would, yeah, I mean, all of this is applicable. And what's great is that you can challenge that same question because I love working with Dr. Harter about, you know, how does this work in a remote environment? Is it the same possibility, the same thing, that no matter no matter what it is, if you just if you just get in the habit of saying, How does this work in a remote environment? Then that's the first step of what will change and shift your mindset of how this happens. For instance, if you have a meeting today yet or let's say a meeting on Monday, and when it ends, if you ask -- throw this one question in there -- From what we learned about today, who else needs to know about this? Will start that collaboration amongst your peers and workers, that you'll just start to create the transparency that maybe hasn't been there or wasn't there in the past. That will help start the transition and always think about -- not just the in-office folks but the folks that are in that remote position as well.

Jim Collison 41:14

All right, I think Adam -- anything else you want to add that we missed?

Adam Hickman 41:19

No, no, I think let's start there. I love the feedback that comes in. If you've got more questions about it, I'm on Facebook and both the sites. I will respond, not as quick as Jim, but I will respond to you anything related, so happy to keep conversations going there too.

Jim Collison 41:36

Awesome. No, I always appreciate your willingness and you are very available, Adam. I oftentimes, when I get research questions, I I'm gonna throw those right over to you so I appreciate you doing that for me; a great Power of 2 between you and me. You love digging in on that stuff. Details aren't as fun for me. So I appreciate your work and all that you do. We have some more with Adam coming up here on Called to Coach. If you haven't subscribed yet, you can subscribe on YouTube. Just click the live subscribe oh, if you're on the live page right now, you can click subscribe right now and you'll get notifications every time we go live. We do have a recorded channel and it's just called CliftonStrengths, and so if you go over there, you can subscribe to that one. You'll get a notification whenever we create it. This is available as a podcast and so you can listen to it that way: Called to Coach on any of the podcast players that you listen to or Gallup Webcasts will get you there. Love to have you join us. Want to also ask you to take full advantage of all the resources we have available now at the new Gallup Access. Just go to and you can log in, get your strengths results from there as well. If you have any questions, you can send us an email: You can also catch the recorded audio and all the stuff that we write as now The Coaches Blog is now part of so go to Love to see you over there for those resources. Don't forget the Gallup at Work summit is coming up: When I say "coming up," I really mean next summer, but the best pricing for everybody is right now so you might want to head out there, get that done as well. Let's continue the conversation in our Facebook group: Head out to Want to thank you for joining us today and there was a great crowd that joined us live. If you're listening to the recorded version, thanks for doing that as well. We'll see you at the next Called to Coach and with that, we'll say Goodbye, everybody.

Adam Hickman's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Ideation, Command, Analytical, Competition and Individualization.

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