Links Mentioned in Episode
[00:00:55] Kevin Dieny: Hello and welcome to the Close the Loop podcast. I’m your host, Kevin Dieny And today we’re gonna be talking about managing remote employees. This is a topic couple years ago. I dunno if I would’ve thought about thought about this, even be a topic. But it’s something that’s happening all over the world and it’s all it’s across every level of business.
[00:01:14] Kevin Dieny: It’s a really interesting topic. It’s something that I’ve been asked. This is something we wanna know more about, uh, from our listeners. So this is something I’m excited to dive into to help me discuss this topic. As someone who manages remote employees here at call source, her name is Tiffany Tran She’s been doing this for a long time.
[00:01:32] Kevin Dieny: She’s been, you know, doing this. As soon as the whole world was forced to doing this, she jumped in the band mic too, but, um, I’ve known her for a long time. She’s worked at us here at, with me here at CallSource for a while. And I’m excited to talk about this. So welcome Tiffany.
[00:01:48] Tiffany Tran: Thanks, Kevin, I’m excited to be here.
[00:01:50] Tiffany Tran: As Kevin mentioned, I have been doing this since the beginning of the pandemic, so I’m really excited to talk about it. Talk about some of the things that have worked for me. Maybe some of the things that haven’t worked for me, um, I’ve been working for call source for the last nine years. I am now our senior director of customer.
[00:02:12] Tiffany Tran: So anything support related all trickles back down to me, all client interface comes back to me at the end of the day, outside of that. Um, I’ve got two kids. I love to garden and read and in just adjusting to life after COVID I guess.
[00:02:32] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. It it’s such a big change. That’s happened. I, I mean, the culture of some companies was like, if you’re not working around in the office, I don’t think you’re working.
[00:02:41] Kevin Dieny: So like that would be somewhere I’d almost wanna start is like in regards to remote employees. Like how, how, how do you know anyone’s doing any work?
[00:02:50] Tiffany Tran: I think this is actually a question. I get asked a lot by our clients, especially, um, We have daily check-in measures. So we have constant communication.
[00:03:03] Tiffany Tran: That’s the big thing. So my team is logged into slack all day long. They check in when they get there, they check in when they’re leaving for lunch. Sometimes it seems a little bit like I’m micromanaging, but it’s really important to know where everybody is, but also have. Grace in the fact that people have lives and things have changed, and we have to respect that and trust that you’ve hired a good team who is putting in the work.
[00:03:31] Kevin Dieny: I guess I, I almost wanna jump into this topic almost too quickly, cause I also wanna make sure everyone is listening. There’s different types of work environments. So let’s say, and there’s lots of combinations of this, right? There’s like there’s sometimes work environments where it’s like, I work for four or four days.
[00:03:48] Kevin Dieny: Crazy long hours and I don’t work other days. I’m not really talking about that. It’s more like the environment here, right? Like you’re either in office, out of office or doing some sort of a hybrid. So there are these different types of environments and, and what are those types of environments? And if you could like, kind of define them a little bit better for me.
[00:04:07] Tiffany Tran: Sure. So. What we’re experiencing at least at CallSource is we have a lot of hybrid. So for instance, myself, I come into the office two to three days a week, and then I work for my home office every other day of the week. For me, my team works 100% remote for the most part. While that being said, I have had some employees recognize that they do better working in an office environment.
[00:04:35] Tiffany Tran: So they’ve come back to work in the call source headquarters, just because that was better suited for them and their personalities.
[00:04:41] Kevin Dieny: I think in this episode, there’s gonna be two big things. I, I, that I’m kind of hoping we can touch on. And one of them is like the management side, your role, how you help them, help your team be successful, working remotely.
[00:04:53] Kevin Dieny: The other thing I’m wondering about too, Is the employee set? What is it like to be remote work and, and maybe have been in the office and then become remote work, right? Cause that’s sort of what the transition was here, right?
[00:05:04] Tiffany Tran: Sure. Absolutely. I think that, that was at least at the beginning was a huge transition.
[00:05:10] Tiffany Tran: Everybody had this idea that working from home was this great thing and that’s what they wanted. It was the ultimate perk. I don’t think everybody realized how disciplined you have to be in working at home. For me personally, as a manager in managing my team, I have to overcommunicate everything because they’re not in front of you.
[00:05:33] Tiffany Tran: You can’t just walk out of your office and have a conversation. So we’ve tried to create an environment that replicates that. So do we have constant slack communication? We have email conversations constantly and I’ve made myself available. At any time that they need me. So if they need to call me, text me, whatever works best for them.
[00:05:55] Tiffany Tran: But keeping that line of communication open has been extremely important to have a successful work from home team. I think as an employee, it’s a little daunting because they don’t always come and ask questions. So you have to almost prompt those questions.
[00:06:11] Kevin Dieny: So whenever I do research for an episode, I look at okay, Here’s the pros for managing remote employers.
[00:06:17] Kevin Dieny: Here’s all the great benefits, but I’ve also looked at what, what is the argument against it? What’s everyone saying? And one of the things that people were saying is, as a manager, it feels like micromanaging. And that’s like a feeling that they don’t want to convey to their teams is like, I’m watching everything you do.
[00:06:35] Kevin Dieny: Like I’m on your webcam. I’m watching your keystrokes. If you walk away. I know. And that’s not how it was in the work in, in the office environment. Yeah. They were around, but it’s not like. Like peeking through the blends of the office, like watching them every second, you know? So that, that, that feeling of ultra micro management to me does feel a little bit like sour, you know?
[00:06:54] Kevin Dieny: So what would you say about this argument of, if we, if we go to remote work, I’m gonna have to be micromanaging ultra, and it’s just gonna feel terrible and it’s not gonna create a foster good relationship or environment as a manager to the.
[00:07:09] Kevin Dieny: Sure.
[00:07:11] Tiffany Tran: So I think as much as it feels like you’re micromanaging, I think a big part of it is you have to trust that you’ve put proper process in place that you have things to measure success.
[00:07:24] Tiffany Tran: And even now adapting and changing those things as the work environment changes, I stress with my team that I’m not here to watch every little thing that they’re doing. But at the same time, if metrics start falling, then we have to have a closer conversation. The big difference, I think for me is just keeping the lines of communication open and making sure that you’re continuously asking questions, but also recognizing that they’re people, right.
[00:07:52] Tiffany Tran: Because even when we were in an office, We’re still recognizing that they’re people, they like to socialize. They like to have conversations. And so allowing yourself to be open, to just have conversations. Cause I think it’s so easy to get lost in only business conversations when you’re remote, remembering that they’re people and they like to connect with other people and they like to just have conversations and letting that be okay.
[00:08:16] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. I, I, that was that’s immediately. The last thing I, I was seeing crop up was people. Psychologists weighing in maybe, or just different types of organizational behavioral, behavioral people looking at the workplace and being like, this is, this has the chance to be here difficult because boys are gonna be isolated into some extent, or maybe, you know, maybe we from home for a lot of people, is them home alone.
[00:08:38] Kevin Dieny: Or, you know, maybe they have a roommate or something that’s doing it, or they have a spouse that’s doing it too, in your case, you know? So like if you could touch on like, or how you combat the isolation, the aloneness also the, like the, the disconnectedness, the social, the people still kind of me to get feedback on socially, how you’ve either dealt with that.
[00:09:01] Kevin Dieny: What you’ve seen in that, anything.
[00:09:04] Tiffany Tran: Sure, so for me personally, I’ve been very fortunate as Kevin mentioned, my husband also works from home. So I have a built in colleague comes with its own challenges though, working with your spouse already for the same company, but also then working in the same space.
[00:09:20] Tiffany Tran: It’s a little bit much, but I have had, even on my team, I’ve had teams identify. This is not for me. I’m too isolated. I need to put myself back in a work environment. I need to be back in an office. You have to recognize that not everybody. Enjoys working from home and be adaptable to that. And so if you’re looking to hire someone, are they really open to working from home 100%?
[00:09:45] Tiffany Tran: Do they have outlets? Do they have friends that they’re regularly talking to? Do they have outside of work interactions? If they don’t, then you have to make sure as a manager that you’re prioritizing creating those connections for. For me personally, we do things like we have a book club for some of the girls on the team where that’s what they like to do.
[00:10:05] Tiffany Tran: They like to read. I love to read, so, Hey, let’s just get together and have a social meeting once a month. And we talk about it right. Also opening up your team meetings for that. Letting them just have conversations, letting them joke and interact as if they’re in the office. Um, and our slack channel communicates a lot to that as well.
[00:10:25] Tiffany Tran: So they just communicate, they talk back and forth. They’re definitely open in terms of that communication. And I try not to control that too much so that they do get some interaction with other people. That’s not 100% work related.
[00:10:38] Kevin Dieny: Gotcha. Wow. That’s all really interesting. And, and I’ve heard tips like that out there and seeing, you know, I almost wonder, like, has it been long enough that we know that everything is working or not?
[00:10:47] Kevin Dieny: So I was kinda curious. How do you kind of know that the remote thing is working or that, that things are working? I mean, there’s sort of science and data and there’s science, and maybe you have conversations with employees and they’re giving you this feedback. Like, it’s great. I, I might need more of a work environment or, you know, what, if we started a club or something, I think that’s all amazing feedback that you’ve been getting and that there’s, you still have those relationships, but is there anything you’re looking at where you’re saying to yourself, you know, this is working or maybe it has not been long enough for you to.
[00:11:17] Tiffany Tran: So I think for me, this was a big thing I did last year was I started to measure our effectiveness with data. I think that was the first thing asking people if it’s working because they like the perks of working from home. I don’t know that you’re always gonna get an honest answer there. The proof was in our data.
[00:11:36] Tiffany Tran: Our connections with clients has skyrocketed because I think they also now are in home environments. And so we’ve had more connection than ever. I think we. Also can tell, just in email response rates, how many meetings we’re having and measuring all of that, but having a baseline for that. Right. So what did it look like before we worked from home with a team of the same size and what does it look like now?
[00:12:00] Tiffany Tran: And is it increasing? Is it decreasing and kind of really closely monitoring those numbers to make sure we’re not seeing a dropoff, but you bring up a good point. Some of these dropoffs that we see. You have to address them very quickly. You can’t let things linger. So if numbers start to drop, performance starts to drop.
[00:12:20] Tiffany Tran: There’s a complaint from someone internally about someone who’s working from a home, you have to take it seriously and you have to address it right away. Otherwise it’s too hard to make corrections remotely.
[00:12:31] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. So a side note to this, right, is like you’re, you’re, you’re mentioning like productivity is a really great way to measure.
[00:12:39] Kevin Dieny: This is kind working and then there’s the social component. There’s, you know, addressing concerns and, and making sure that everything’s aligned. But, and the other side of this, like the pro, so like the major benefits and, and one thing I’ve heard a lot is like, as a parent with kids and needing flexibility, Like all of a sudden at two o’clock I have to go pick ’em up for 10 o’clock someone’s say, or I have this crazy schedule and things are adjusting out summer now’s school year.
[00:13:04] Kevin Dieny: Like I heard like a lot of parents say, you know, for, for all of the stuff they say bad about it, there’s one thing I’ve really appreciated. And that’s like the flexibility part of it. So on the pro side of taking remote work is the way to go. What would you say.
[00:13:20] Tiffany Tran: As a parent, I can highly speak to the fact that it has drastically improved my work life balance.
[00:13:30] Tiffany Tran: I can be there when my kids need me. If my kids are sick, I can make things work. There’s a lot more adjustments that you can make to be there for your family, which. With everything going on over the last few years has been huge when I was working in the office. I think I went through my sick time in the first three months of the year, every year because kids get sick.
[00:13:54] Tiffany Tran: It happens. Right. And as a manager, I’ve always tried to make sure that there was some sort of balance if they couldn’t work or they needed to be home. I made sure that that was a priority. We have to understand that people have lives outside of. But when they’re working remote, it gets a lot easier to work during nap time to be able to be on when they normally wouldn’t be able to, and being able to accommodate that is huge.
[00:14:19] Tiffany Tran: Pick up times is also a big thing. But I think even for my team members who don’t have kids think about the things like, Hey, they need a plumber to come out. It’s not an all day thing, but if they were in the office, they’d have to take the whole day off so that they could let her plumber into their house.
[00:14:35] Tiffany Tran: Now they have the flexibility to be able to get those life things done, cuz we all have them, but they’re still able to get their work done. It’s not something where they can’t do work because this person is coming. They just need to be there to let them in, make sure they can answer any questions and then they get right back to work.
[00:14:52] Tiffany Tran: And so just understanding that and recognizing that this just makes life easier for everybody. And it really gives them the balance that they’ve been looking for.
[00:14:59] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, that’s really good. I see like a lot of potential in, in it. And in figuring it out, it still feels like a lot of companies are figuring this out and maybe asking themselves if I open that door, I like, so what would you say if they open the door and they’re like, let’s try remote and they feel like it’s not really working.
[00:15:16] Kevin Dieny: Do you think it’s something people that can roll back and could be like, now we’re all going back into the office. I mean, some companies are like, look, we’re, we’re only gonna be in the office now. You’ve had your time to be remote, come back. And, and it seems like employees are like, you know what? I don’t want that.
[00:15:30] Kevin Dieny: That seems like a backwards role. What do you think about that?
[00:15:34] Tiffany Tran: So this is something that has come up quite a bit. I think you have to be very transparent with your team. If you’re testing this out, you need to be honest that this is a trial. That was a big part of what I did at the beginning of COVID with my team was I said, look, if you guys wanna stay working from home, you need to prove.
[00:15:57] Tiffany Tran: That you are gonna be effective doing it. If you can’t be effective doing this, who’s to say that our owners, aren’t gonna say, Hey, let’s roll this all back. Everybody’s gonna come back to the office, right? Creating that level of transparency. When you’re testing something like this is really important.
[00:16:12] Tiffany Tran: You have to be honest with your team. You have to be a transparent. You have to let them know that it is 100% dependent on how productive they are. The conversation. Having people come back to the office. It’s not an easy one. Um, I’ve had to do it one time and it was a necessity. They had to come back to the office.
[00:16:29] Tiffany Tran: They just weren’t being productive and it had to happen low and behold. They came back to the office for two months. They really wanted to go back to working remote, but they had to essentially earn it. And we have to be open to that idea that if it’s not something necessarily your company wants to do, but you wanna test it out and you wanna test the waters, I would say I would highly recommend being fully transparent with your team.
[00:16:52] Tiffany Tran: That it’s a test, it’s all based on productivity and making sure you can still meet the business’s needs and being honest with yourself, whether or not it’s actually meeting those needs or not, or you just don’t like working from home. Because I think that there, those are two different things,
[00:17:06] Kevin Dieny: Right? Yeah. Yeah. I, I had an employer one time who. I mentioned, you know, it was one of the perks to my job. I like now that I’ve been here long enough, I’d like to have a day at home where I work from home and it was like, great, great, go do that. And about six months down the road, my employer told me, like, my boss sat down me and said, look, I, I don’t know where it’s coming from, but I just feel like you’re not doing any work when you work from home.
[00:17:31] Kevin Dieny: I’m just being very honest with you. He’s like, I just wanna ask you, like, just, you know, to gimme the honest answer, like, are you when you’re at home and I was. Well, I’ll be totally honest when I’m at home. There’s long periods of time. Yeah. Where like my kids are running around. I wanna go and say hi or meet them, or I wanna go cook food and I come back cause I don’t have to go out for lunch and there’s things like that happening, but I’m still working and it’s like, okay, cause there’s no checks, you know, there was no data points, there’s no checks and bounces there.
[00:17:57] Kevin Dieny: Its just, I trust you. And you were at home, you were working, you know? And, and I could tell his fear was like, I, how do I know? Like, am I just spending money on someone who’s decided, you know, now I have the ability. Do whatever. And, uh, I told him like, you know, there was a day where I didn’t do that much that day, but I made it up the next day or I did that.
[00:18:15] Kevin Dieny: And like, I was like, that’s flexibility, sort of what I mean by working from home one day a week is like all of a sudden when something comes up, I could, like you said, plumber’s kind, but I could still squeeze in some work. Otherwise I would’ve just called the day out, you know? And, and having that very honest conversation, he’s like, okay, I feel much better.
[00:18:30] Kevin Dieny: I’m good with this now. And I’m okay. And so we moved forward with it and that’s kinda how it went, but it made me think about. The communication types between your employees and your manager. Cause at that time, the only thing that he did is he walked out, he saw I was working, you know, so he just had his little walk bys and he knew I was doing stuff.
[00:18:47] Kevin Dieny: So what, like communication types are really effective for, but for getting like two remote employees. Cause there’s some employees like when they’re remote, you don’t know what they’re doing. You don’t know if they’re in the bathroom right now. You don’t know if they’re what they’re doing. You don’t know because the flexibility is there.
[00:19:01] Kevin Dieny: So there’s things. Chats emails, calls, texts. But sometimes it’s like, is that infringing on them? Because you wouldn’t have done that when they were in the office. So are there some communication strategies you’ve used to, you said you’ve had a weekly or daily check-in or something like what communication strategies work have worked well for you?
[00:19:24] Tiffany Tran: I think the biggest improvement was definitely adding something like chat. So we personally use slack. But that’s a line of constant open communication. So at any given time I can message anybody on my team and have a conversation with them. That’s huge. I think another huge aspect is zoom has made this very easy, so we do face to face communication.
[00:19:48] Tiffany Tran: So all one on one meetings, all team meetings, my team is required to be on camera. It is the one and only time I don’t care about your hair. I don’t care about what you’re wearing. That’s fine. But they are required to be on camera during those times. The reason being is one, the connection, right? I can’t read social cues.
[00:20:08] Tiffany Tran: I can’t read their body language if we are not talking face to face. And if we’re in a remote environment, sometimes that face to face communication is necessary, especially when you’re talking about performance, things like that. So zoom has been a huge attribute to us. I do think things like texting has also increased, but that’s just.
[00:20:32] Tiffany Tran: The way of life, I guess you gotta adapt and you gotta move forward. You can’t stay stagnant forever. I do also set boundaries though, right? Because just because they’re working from home, doesn’t mean that I can text them or call them at all hours. So that’s a big part of what our slack channel contributes to is, Hey, I’m here, I’m on the clock or, Hey, I have to leave really quick.
[00:20:53] Tiffany Tran: I’ll be right back, whatever that looks like. So I know where they are and I’m. Crossing those lines. Right? So just like if someone was in an office and they were taking their lunch at their desk, that doesn’t mean you can just walk up to them and talk to them about their work. They’re on their lunch.
[00:21:08] Tiffany Tran: They’re still entitled to breaks. They’re still entitled to a start time and an end time and you have to respect that and roll with it.
[00:21:17] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. I I’ve heard that. Remote work can feel like they’re always on call or that. Now, anytime there’s even a slight emergency, you know, it’s gonna be like bringing the bell and everyone’s gotta come break the flexibility.
[00:21:31] Kevin Dieny: They have to come fix the problem. So like breaking down, like when and how you’re gonna communicate, how the team’s gonna work, your processes. You’ve talked about producing incredibly valuable and important. And also as an employee, it’s like something you can be like rest assured. Okay. You know, it’s not gonna be.
[00:21:50] Kevin Dieny: Rebel ringing emergency every time, because now that I’m at home, my hours work, my hours are not 24 hours a day. You know,
[00:21:57] Tiffany Tran: That’s very true. Something. That’s put it into perspective for me is that my bosses have always been good at if it’s bad news on a Friday afternoon, it can wait until Monday. Right. So they respect those boundaries and I need to respect those boundaries for my team.
[00:22:14] Tiffany Tran: And so I’ve had really good leaders in place that have mirrored that for me, right. Your team isn’t. All a team of managers. They’re not on salary. You can’t call them whenever you want. That’s just not how it works. My boss is very good at respecting my time and knowing when I’m with my kids and knowing that, Hey, I’m not gonna call her at seven o’clock on a Thursday or a Friday night because she’s with her kids.
[00:22:37] Tiffany Tran: She’s doing bedtime. But I need to give my team that same grace and give them, Hey, they’re off. That means they’re off. Unless there’s an absolute emergency. I should not be calling them just as if we were at the office and I’ve had to stop and think about that. If we were in an office, would I be calling them for this after hours?
[00:22:55] Tiffany Tran: If I would great, then I’ll still call them. If not, then I should not be picking up my phone. I shouldn’t be texting them. I shouldn’t be calling them. I shouldn’t be trying to get a hold of them at all. If it’s not a true emergency.
[00:23:05] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. Wow. That’s really interest. So you you’ve transitioned from having a lot of employees or, uh, in office or, or person to remote and to somehow not some hybridization in there too, but what about bringing on someone brand new?
[00:23:22] Kevin Dieny: You know, like you’ve had the flock you’ve used to, you’ve moved with them, you know, them you’ve moved them. It’s transition. You’ve had that rapport build. How does it go with someone brand new that you’re onboarding for the first time bringing freshly into this now remote clock? How does that.
[00:23:38] Tiffany Tran: There is a lot of overcommunication in the beginning, although we’ve successfully done it.
[00:23:44] Tiffany Tran: A few times since COVID started. And since we switched to remote work, there’s, check-ins all throughout the day. They’re usually partnered up with someone all day. So that’s a little bit of a difference is we use zoom as a tool for them to just join somebody throughout their work day. Uh, they don’t necessarily have to have the camera on, but it’s just something where they have zoom up.
[00:24:05] Tiffany Tran: It’s open, it’s running and then they can talk and ask questions as they need them versus isolating. Right, because if they’re in an office, they can turn around and ask you a question. You don’t really have that here. You have slack and you have other means of communication, but we try to leave that door open by giving them things like zoom and just having it open.
[00:24:25] Tiffany Tran: And they just sit on zoom with you all day and they kind of work beside you essentially, as if you were in an office, that’s been a huge thing, but I’ll be honest with you. Working from home has actually drastically improved our onboarding processes because we’ve done things like record our meetings with clients and.
[00:24:45] Tiffany Tran: We have zoom meetings and we didn’t have things like this before, where we recorded our meetings, we just called clients and did walkthroughs. But now as this has become the norm, I have a library of calls and things like that, that I can train people off of and have built this library out of necessity to onboard people, but it gives them an additional tool that really helps.
[00:25:08] Tiffany Tran: Integrate them into the new work environment and lets them see how we operate, what a call sounds like as if they were there and sitting right next to somebody, um, and really having the team participate. I think that’s a big thing. Is everybody on my team participates in some form or fashion when a new employee is coming on board.
[00:25:28] Tiffany Tran: It’s not just one. It’s not just me. They’re not just meeting with me. They’re meeting with everybody on our team to cover different topics and different things and really leaning into that team environment.
[00:25:39] Kevin Dieny: Wow, that that’s so interesting. I, I, I, you know, you, you hear like some success stories about it.
[00:25:46] Kevin Dieny: Like we, we switched over and just, everyone’s loving it sort of anecdotally, but it’s like a really interesting example of how. Like the forcing in or the, the jumping plunging into the remote world. Okay. We’ve had to adapt to survive here, but if there’s things that have come out of the adaptation, like recordings and things that are helping people as they come on, never existed before.
[00:26:10] Kevin Dieny: That’s really cool.
[00:26:11] Kevin Dieny: Okay, so the next thing I wanna go with this is in communication in, in breakdowns. So how, how are you able to keep a tab on, um, if something is starting to break down. Not data related, but like communication related, how, how have you been able to pick up like, oh, you know, we’ve had a bottleneck because we’re only talking at this one time or maybe I need more meetings.
[00:26:35] Kevin Dieny: Maybe this person I need to have an additional meeting with. How are you kind of, how are, how have you figured out or adjusted to communicating with your employees? Like in terms of one on one or as a team.
[00:26:46] Tiffany Tran: I think this all boils down really to being a good manager. Right? You have to recognize that everybody on your team is different.
[00:26:54] Tiffany Tran: They all have different communication needs. And that doesn’t change just because you go into remote work. When you were in the, when I was in the office, my team all had individual needs. Some liked to have conversations all throughout the day. Others just wanted to drop in my office and have a conversation, but you have to know your team.
[00:27:15] Tiffany Tran: You have to know their needs and recognize when something is off as a manager. It has to be top priority. If you’re noticing all of a sudden, someone is really quiet. It’s time to check in. If someone is normally quiet and all of a sudden they’re talking a whole lot more, they may need some extra interaction, right?
[00:27:35] Tiffany Tran: So you have to recognize that and you have to change your one on ones a little bit. You have to start asking more personal questions mentally. How are you doing? Is everything going okay? Are there things that you need me to know? Are you struggling with certain things? Personally? A lot of things, I feel like.
[00:27:53] Tiffany Tran: They would share with you in an office environment because you guys were face to face in talking, you have to create a space where they feel safe to still have those conversations and make sure that you’re bridging those gaps and still meeting those needs.
[00:28:06] Kevin Dieny: Wow, that’s really good. That’s a really good note.
[00:28:09] Kevin Dieny: I, I mean, at the same time, like if I’m managing people. it feels like there’s a lot more going on here than just simply managing them the way I did it before. Like, uh, there’s other things I should take note of, but would you say that once you’ve done it for a while, you kind of get used to, okay, this is, this is like a good way to manage it, to make sure I’m asking these questions that I might have just assumed that before were, you know, because the environment we were able to have, but, uh, do you think that it it’s sort of something that you’ve adjusted to and that you like the way it works?
[00:28:40] Tiffany Tran: I think it’s something you have to constantly adjust to, right? Your team is changing. Your team is evolving. People are getting married, things are changing, right? People are moving into new environments. They’re buying houses, they’re doing all these big life things. And so you’re constantly having to adjust as you add new people to your team and the dynamic changes, you have to be willing to adjust your managerial style.
[00:29:03] Tiffany Tran: It can’t stay stagnant forever. And I think that that for me, Yes. I have a norm and I have a way that I operate, but even recently, I’ve had a couple people join my team and I have to recognize that I can’t still operate the same way. Right. They’re long term call source employees. They know how everything works.
[00:29:23] Tiffany Tran: So maybe I’m a little more hands off than I should be, but being honest with yourself and also recognizing that person needs a little bit more interaction and I need to make sure I make that a priority.
[00:29:34] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, no, that’s really interesting. And have you thought about, okay, we’re all remote, but maybe we’re gonna meet in person or try to, or arrange for that or see if that’s a possibility or maybe have like a, still an in person, but a hybrid or a virtual need, like not, not necessarily like a work related type thing, you know, like, is there still room or you think there’s still a need for everyone to at some point do an in person thing together.
[00:30:04] Tiffany Tran: I do I do. I think from a social aspect, I think it’s good for the team. I’ve had subgroups of my team come into the office so that we could meet and discuss things and just interact in person. And they’re super productive because they’re like, Hey, let’s just come in, solve the problem and then let’s get out.
[00:30:21] Tiffany Tran: It has come up more recently. Now that things are opening up a little bit. I think. This is now when this conversation is starting, because as COVID is easing a little bit, people aren’t as stressed out about meeting in person. Okay. What do we do from here for me at call source? A big part of what I did here was a lot of the social aspects.
[00:30:42] Tiffany Tran: So I organized our corporate games. I helped with our Christmas parties and our summer parties. And for me, that’s huge. That social aspect has always been a huge part of my life. Um, I mean, even having. My team over for barbecues and things like that was a big part of this before. And so that’s actually, the next hurdle that I’m trying to overcome is how do I bring some sort of social aspect back, right.
[00:31:06] Tiffany Tran: We do like secrets in, at the holidays and do stuff like that, where we interact, you know, a team social happy hour where everybody’s on zoom or whatever that looks like, but how do we give them that interaction so that they can communicate with each other outside of a work related meeting. And it’s okay to have meetings just like you would at the office.
[00:31:24] Tiffany Tran: To just talk, just hang out, show everybody your dog, let your kids run in. I think it’s important to let people see that you’re people and just have that time that that’s okay. It’s not a waste of company time to let them socialize for an hour or two on a Friday when they probably aren’t being super productive, even if they are in an office to just let them socialize and have that interaction.
[00:31:49] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, that’s great. And it’s fascinating you didn’t working on that and that’s like the next hurdle that you’re looking at overcoming, so, okay. So let’s say there’s two groups here. There’s the employee. What tips would you give an employee? Who’s a. Remote work to make sure that they’re successful as a remote employee.
[00:32:09] Kevin Dieny: And the other side of this is the manager, uh, managers managing remote employees or hybrid employees. Um, and there’s a remote aspect to it. What tips would you give the manager for managing specifically those remote employees? So those two questions are sort of in there. Um, yeah. Like what strategies would you, what tips would you give them to make sure that they’re set up for success?
[00:32:32] Tiffany Tran: I think from an employee perspective, Make sure that you’re communicating with your manager on your needs and being honest with yourself and your manager, they can only meet you in the middle. If you’re communicating what you need from them. That’s definitely a big one, but I think also setting yourself up for success, having a designated space in your house, where you go to work every day, keeping it, and maybe separate from as much as you can, at least from your social and common areas in the house.
[00:33:02] Tiffany Tran: Those distractions are gonna be there, right? But you need to have a designated space where you can go to work every day, but also for your own mental health somewhere where you can leave work at the end of the day so that you don’t wanna extend your day. Right? Because that, that is a line that you also have to draw for yourself and was very important for me.
[00:33:21] Tiffany Tran: I’m very fortunate to, as an employee, I have an office at home and I can close that door at the end of the day. And that’s, it works done for the. But even when I didn’t have that designated space at home, it was still important to make sure my computer’s off. Once I’m done, I’m done. I’m, I’m drawing that line.
[00:33:38] Tiffany Tran: And I think as an employee, that’s very important, cuz it’s very easy as an employee to cross that boundary just because it’s there. Oh, I have more projects I need to get done. I need to make sure I get this done. It’s okay to leave it at the end of the day. It’s okay to come back to it tomorrow and recognize and understand that it’s okay to disconnect from your work just like you did before and make sure you make that clear distinction for yourself.
[00:34:01] Tiffany Tran: The adverse to that from a management perspective, like we talked about earlier, you have to recognize those boundaries too, for your. And you have to recognize that they’re not here to be a workhorse. They’re not here to work 24 hours a day. They have those designated timeframes and you need to respect that.
[00:34:19] Tiffany Tran: I think as a manager, for me, the biggest thing has been trusting that I hired the right people. I have the right team they’re meeting. They’re exceeding the expectations I’m setting for them and trust. The process, trust yourself, trust that you’re doing what is best for your team. And as long as you are meeting your metrics and your bosses are happy, or the, your PNLs are good, everything is showing positive signs.
[00:34:47] Tiffany Tran: Recognize that that’s a success. And really owning that, but I think it all comes down to trust. And I think at the beginning there were a lot of sleepless nights of figuring out, oh gosh, am I doing this right? Oh, did I do this wrong? Where, where did I mess up today? And then I had to remember that I have a really great team and I really trust them.
[00:35:10] Tiffany Tran: And I know that they’re working hard and constantly recognizing that they’re working hard and keeping them that acknowledgement is really important. Just like you would do in an office environ. And trusting yourself that you’re making the right decisions and you’re making corrections as quickly as you can.
[00:35:27] Kevin Dieny: Wow. Yeah, that’s really great advice. I, I love the idea of the employees, making sure that they’re protecting their environments for themselves and making sure that they’re, they’re like they are responsible for their work and stuff that they’re doing, but also now it’s like your work environment and your projects and the stuff you do and protecting your.
[00:35:47] Kevin Dieny: So work doesn’t take over your life. It’s very important. And then as a manager, it’s like recognizing that there’s where lines or draw where barriers are and something else you said was really stood out to me was the end of the day. Trust your process. Right? I think I’ve heard this echo a lot. Some employees are now gonna work as hard as you, some employees are gonna do things different than you, but there’s a process.
[00:36:09] Kevin Dieny: There’s standards. There’s measurements in place. As long as those are hit and they’re maybe being exceeded. Maybe you don’t need duplicates, CLS of yourself, running around doing all these tasks. These people are distinct. You’ve hired them. You’ve brought them in. They have gifts and abilities that are different than yours.
[00:36:24] Kevin Dieny: That may be better suited. For doing things a little bit different in their own way and allowing for that space, that creative, that open space for them to Excel in, in that way. And maybe even you get feedback where they say, look, here’s the process. Maybe we can adjust it and being able to do that. And allow that just the process be guided in a, in a sort of a feedback driven way.
[00:36:47] Kevin Dieny: To me, it’s something, it just, it was like little tones of it. I was hearing what you were saying, but I was like, wow, that sounds really good. um, as far as, this is a point where I gotta ask, is there anything I haven’t, we haven’t talked about, we haven’t said that you feel like, or maybe wanna re. Anything at this point that we’ve missed.
[00:37:08] Kevin Dieny: You wanna mention that? Uh, it, it, that will help, uh, our audience understand about what, what it’s entailed in managing remote employees.
[00:37:17] Tiffany Tran: I think we’ve covered it pretty well, but I do wanna elaborate on something. You just said. One of the key things that I’ve also done with my team is included them in this process.
[00:37:27] Tiffany Tran: And so right before this, we were actually having a discussion on some of the metrics that I measure them on. And I opened the discussion for missing, what am I missing? What am I not seeing, or what I understand from this process and how can we improve? You’ll find that they’re more dedicated to what they’re doing.
[00:37:47] Tiffany Tran: If they get to contribute to the process, they get to be a part of the discussion. It’s not just, Hey, this is what you’re doing because I said, so. To your point. They’re all people, they all have different gifts. How boring would the world be? If everybody was me, we’d all go a little crazy. If everybody was me, let’s be honest here, but really recognizing that, right.
[00:38:09] Tiffany Tran: I serve a different client base. Everybody who’s listening, they all need have different needs. And especially in this role where they’re serving your client’s needs, you have to recognize each person’s strengths and align them according. We’re not all the same, the process isn’t gonna work exactly the same for every individual person.
[00:38:30] Tiffany Tran: And this has just helped us realize that I think the other side to this, Kevin. Is when everybody was in an office, they still weren’t productive. 100% of the time. Let’s be realistic here. Not everybody was working all the time, even if they’re at their computer and like they’re working, they’re not working of the time.
[00:38:51] Tiffany Tran: It’s a good change. It’s been nothing productive for us. Think it’s a fit for every company. No, I don’t, but there is a lot to be said for trusting your team and trusting your process to make sure that they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. And if they’re engaging a lot already, only over the phone or only over computer, like our team was, there’s really no difference.
[00:39:13] Tiffany Tran: It’s really the same environment. I think they’re, they’re getting so much more done now because they have more leeway and there’s more flexibility there.
[00:39:21] Kevin Dieny: I’d like to. Sort summarize a few things we’ve talked about today, which is there’s a lot of different types of working environments and they might be better suited and there might be even a potential opportunity to adjust the work environments.
[00:39:34] Kevin Dieny: There might be team members who Excel in person in hybrid or in remote. Uh, maybe shifting from one to the other, depending on the time of the year, there might be reasons why. You don’t need a giant workspace with all these people coming into your office and they overhead the cost of this building space.
[00:39:51] Kevin Dieny: You, there might be a great potential to let go a little bit and explore this, maybe trial it, like you said, Tiffany. Um, there’s just a lot there. There’s pros and cons there’s challenges for sure. In managing, uh, employees in the environment, I think, but I, like you said, there’s the things that I didn’t even realize the potential and productivity increases and in training and onboarding, uh, angles and, you know, still being able to get some of the best parts out of what you were getting in person, maybe not fully, but you know, having events or having things or doing, you know, in person stuff like finding a way to make it work for what you’re doing.
[00:40:29] Kevin Dieny: Everyone’s coming to the job to. Like they’re, they’re, they’re trying to do what they either laid a passion after to get the work done. They’re proud of the work they do. They’re happy when they make clients happy. They’re great when they can do what they’re, they’re trying to do. I mean, they’re working, they chose to work here, work with X company.
[00:40:47] Kevin Dieny: There’s some, something about it. That’s keeping them there and keeping ’em hoping ’em going, helping them be successful at the end of the day is like the art of managing. So, um, some of this is really awesome that remote work enables that to. It’s funny that you’ve laid out some great strategies for both the employee and the manager to look at.
[00:41:04] Kevin Dieny: I think one of the biggest things I’m gonna take away from this is involving your employees in the process of building the process, um, because they wanna know how they’re measured. They want to know what success looks like for them, how they, what flexibility they have, what areas they can be really good at Excel, what things they might be excited about.
[00:41:22] Kevin Dieny: They could tell you, look, this thing’s gonna be tough. And you know, and all of that begins a process where. Bringing the team together in a better, in a better format. So that those are things that, that I, I saw. Is there anything else you wanted to, to touch on for we close out?
[00:41:37] Tiffany Tran: I think if the one takeaway for me to give advice to anybody was be prepared for bumps and bruises.
[00:41:45] Tiffany Tran: They’re going to happen. It’s not gonna be perfect at first. Keep at it. Don’t give up just like any other business problem. It takes time to get used to it. It’s not gonna be perfect probably for the first six months. It takes time to get there. You’re as long as you’re improving every day, the process getting better and your team is adaptable.
[00:42:08] Tiffany Tran: I think that you can absolutely have success doing it as long as everybody’s invested in the process. But recognizing again, if there’s a problem, you have to fix it right away and recognize that it’s a problem and make sure you address it or those things become okay. Moving forward.
[00:42:24] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. Wow. This has been so great.
[00:42:27] Kevin Dieny: Tiffany, thank you so much for coming in and doing this podcast episode with us. You’ve shared such amazing wisdom and insights for managing your own employee. So I think if you ha if at this point you were a little shaky, a little uncertain, how it’s gonna look, I was gonna be. This gave you a very real glimpse to what it’s like.
[00:42:43] Kevin Dieny: And some tips and strategies. Even if you are doing this already, Hey said something I’d like to try, like, you know, it’s okay to go back to the, let’s make this better. Let’s do so about this evolving process. Thank you so much for coming on and doing the episode with me.
[00:43:00] Tiffany Tran: Of course. Thanks Kevin for having me.
[00:43:03] Kevin Dieny: Now, Tiffany, before you just, I also wanna forgot if someone wants to reach out to you.
[00:43:06] Kevin Dieny: Let’s say they’re like, Hey Tiffany, you said something I wanna know more. How could people connect with you? How could people find you or, you know, is there LinkedIn, is there a way that you want people to know how to connect with you or ask question?
[00:43:17] Tiffany Tran: Sure. Absolutely. My door is always open, whether it’s virtual or not, they can email me directly at CallSource.
[00:43:24] Tiffany Tran: Uh, Tiffany callsource.com pretty straightforward there. Um, or they can find me on LinkedIn, uh, Tiffany Tran, um, happy to meet, connect, and have conversations in regards to this, or if they’re having certain struggle points, happy to connect and have those conversations, if they need some input or just another body to bounce ideas off of.
[00:43:44] Kevin Dieny: That’s great. Thank you Tiffany. For listening.