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The Three Things To Watch In A Virtual Environment To Improve Retention

By Kara Brown, CEO and CRO of LeadCoverage, an advisor B2B demand/lead gen + marketing agency

If you’re like most leaders, you’ve likely felt the effects of the Great Resignation. With more and more people leaving their jobs, many have had to focus on combatting retention. But keeping your people can be tricky, especially in a virtual environment. Here are three key things to watch if you want to improve retention.

1. Delegation

As a leader, you need to delegate and empower your people with different aspects of your business, but be careful with the task-oriented delegation in a virtual environment; you’ll get what you give.

Delegation of this type of work takes minimal effort; it’s cheap and easy to outsource or hand off to someone else. But beware: If one of your employees could do this job anywhere, isn’t learning anything and has no interaction with anyone while doing it, they’re likely to leave because they’re not being challenged.

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In my 20s, I recall being delegated the responsibility of printing and binding board books. Was this glamorous, exciting work? No, but I did get the opportunity to read its contents, experience how the board responded to it and learn about how they operate and govern. When you delegate, make an extra effort to help others understand their role in the larger picture and how their involvement fuels its success. Remember, delegation without collaboration equals distraction, frustration and, ultimately, resignation.

2. Collaboration

In theory, you should go out of your way to include everyone on your team. In practice, it’s really hard to do, especially amid a virtual environment, but it’s not impossible.

Take the time and attention necessary to get to know your people, their work habits and communication preferences, and their individual talents and learning styles. Do they prefer video chats or Slack messages? Who is a pro at Excel spreadsheets, and which of your team members is great at brainstorming? Does someone learn best by shadowing a colleague, or would they prefer to try things on their own?

Do your best to pair complementary skill sets to enhance your team’s collaboration and tap into each person’s unique strengths. Fostering collaboration takes some effort, but it’s worth it to create greater retention.

3. Celebration

In the past, if I closed a big deal, we’d ring a bell and have a massive party in the office to celebrate. But when that happened recently, I had to send out a company-wide message over Slack and was offered emojis instead. What a letdown.

That experience made me realize that if I, as CEO, felt lackluster about a big win, then the rest of my team must feel “meh” at best and terrible at worst. And that’s a recipe for turnover.

Since we can’t pop champagne together in a virtual environment, celebrating every win becomes even more important, no matter how small. For instance:

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• When someone learns something new

• When we make a great hire

• When someone stepped out of their comfort zone

• When someone tried something new and failed but learned in the process

We honor those milestones by sharing “Bright Spots”—good things that happened during the week—every Friday during our team meetings. Celebrating the little stuff we do day-to-day is one small way we recognize and support each other’s accomplishments. In addition, that practice helps reinforce a sense of camaraderie, even when we can’t all be physically together, which improves retention.

By eliminating task-oriented delegation and increasing collaboration and celebration in your virtual work environment, you’ll up your chances of keeping your people engaged and on your team.

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