Manager Checklist: Driving Development When Employees Are Remote

Earlier this year, Reflektive made the decision to support remote work indefinitely. This decision had a lot of benefits for me (I moved cross-country!) but also presented some challenges. How would I continue to build trust with my team of Business Development Representatives (BDRs), and continue to develop their careers? To address this key topic, I thought through my typical developmental activities for team members, and modified them to account for our new remote work environment. My recommendations are below:


Before Remote WorkAfter Remote Work
I learned about employee preferences – during the first few weeks in 1:1’s, coffee meetings, and lunches. We would discuss what makes the employee happy at work, and what skills they’d like to develop.I still gather employee insights progressively over the first few weeks. In the first two weeks, I’ll set up virtual 1:1s, coffee sessions, and lunch chats. I also include one or two virtual walking 1:1’s that take us away from the computer screen so I can get to know them better as a person.
L&D opportunities were shared by the Employee Success team during onboarding. I remind new hires – as well as my entire team – of our annual L&D budget. I also share helpful online courses, conferences, and speakers. On a quarterly basis, I follow-up with those who haven’t yet used their L&D budget, and we set achievable learning goals for that quarter.
Team members set clear goals on performance and L&D with 30-60-90 day plans.In addition to the 30-60-90 day plans, I’ve added Reflektive developmental goals to my arsenal. Goals help us stay aligned and focused while we’re remote. Some developmental goals that my team members developed include: “By the end of 2020, I will have developed my skill to connect with others through clear communication” and “By the end of 2020, I will have developed my skill to storytell and relay value”.

Developmental Conversations

Before Remote WorkAfter Remote Work
I leaned on quarterly check-in cycles to have meaningful conversations with team members.I’ve added monthly recurring career conversations with team members. We discuss the progress they’ve made on their development goal, what they learned, and if their goals need to change.
I scheduled weekly 1:1s with each team member so they can share their key priorities, progress, and any blockers.To drive their professional growth, I ask team members to add Development Conversation Starters to our 1:1s. The out-of-the-box Conversation Starters include questions such as, “What part of your current role is helping your career growth? What’s missing?” and “What have you learned at work this month?”


Before Remote WorkAfter Remote Work
BDRs were encouraged to attend company-wide events and get to know peers in Marketing, Customer Success, and other departments.I created a team goal to indicate that networking is a priority while we’re remote. Every month, all BDRs need to schedule a virtual coffee chat or attend an online social meetup with Reflektors.

Team Learning

Before Remote WorkAfter Remote Work
BDRs would showcase their unique strengths by training their team members on their skills and strategies.We still prioritize team training, and in addition to that, BDRs train their peers after they complete an online course or another type of L&D program. This really helps us scale our learnings – each BDR only has to take one course for everyone to learn! And the BDRs practice presenting too.
Team members learned more about their strengths with a CliftonStrengths assessment.This assessment is even more valuable now that we’re remote because it helps the team get to know one another! Additionally, it’s helpful to understand each of my team member’s strengths so I can ensure we have the right processes and opportunities in place.
The team would learn from customers via Chorus calls and customer speakers during our All-Staff meetings.When we shifted to remote work, I wanted the BDRs to learn from many different voices — not just customers. Hearing from enthusiastic, motivated people inspires my team to stay engaged and keep plugging away at their goals. I’ve brought in several leaders who have spoken virtually to my team on a variety of topics. Morgan J Ingram was a great motivational speaker on Sales Development — my team really enjoyed hearing from him! I encourage other managers to leverage their networks for speakers too.

Gathering Feedback

Before Remote WorkAfter Remote Work
I would opportunistically ask my team for feedback on how their work lives could be improved, and incorporate it into my planning.I now take a much more systematic approach to feedback, and ensure that all voices are heard. I’m a heavy user of Reflektive feedback to capture insights from my team members. On a quarterly basis, I request feedback on our team culture, AE/BDR partnership (bi-directional), and Manager/BDR partnership (bi-directional). I also encourage the BDRs to request feedback after major work milestones so they can continue to grow and develop professionally.

Building Team Culture

Before Remote WorkAfter Remote Work
Our BDR team didn’t get to spend much time together before we shifted to remote work. The lack of familiarity impacted team culture.To develop peer relationships, I scheduled twice-monthly “Working Together Sessions” where two team members would hop on Zoom and work together for an hour. This gave them the opportunity to casually chat with one another and learn workflow tips and tricks, just like if you were sitting next to them in the office.
I also scheduled Buddy PowerHour sessions twice monthly where team members would be paired up cold call with one another. They each took turns making dials and then rooting for one another when they connected with a prospect. This made cold calling more exciting and again they get to learn from one another just as if they were in the office.
I learned very quickly that developing and maintaining a team culture couldn’t solely rest on my shoulders. An authentic culture is built through everyone’s contributions.I empowered my team to help build our culture by scheduling “Weekly Ambassadors”. Each week, one team member would engage the team via Slack and in Zoom team meetings with Conversation Starters, shoutouts, and any other ideas. After several weeks, engaging became more natural for everyone and more of a priority.
I created “win” channels on Slack to create a culture of knowledge sharing. Team members share emails, videos, cold calls, and InMails that successfully yielded a response from a prospect.
I wanted to create a space where everyone can have fun and be their authentic selves.We close out every week with Friday Games. We’ve done Pictionary, 5 Second Rule, Among Us, Jeopardy, Trivia, and many more. It’s so fun to come together, laugh, and bond over a game.
Additionally, each month we create a team SPIF (Sales Performance Incentive Fund). They’re great for inspiring healthy competition among the team members. In addition to that, we try to create SPIFs that require team members to pair up together which also helps them build relationships.
Finally, we do Virtual Experiences such as baking macarons for team-building.

If you’re interested in learning how Reflektive can support remote managers, set up a chat with one of our product experts!

Authored by Alex Griffin, Director of Business Development