Setting Goals With a Remote Team for the Year Ahead

setting goals with a remote team image of a goal tracker on paper on a wood background

The dawn of a new year is ripe with opportunity. For many of us, the new year is a time when we take stock of our progress, both personally and professionally, and make resolutions to enhance our lives and businesses. New targets for success are top of mind. And as a result, it’s a great time to bring your team together to set goals for the year ahead. 

Are you thinking of bringing your employees together to agree on goals? If so, are you thinking about the best ways to include your remote team in that process? Remember: Just because your remote staff isn’t in the office day in and day out, doesn’t mean they don’t have valuable perspective that can help you set goals that are ambitious and achievable in equal measure. In fact, they’re likely the keys to stretching your success in the months ahead, as they may be doing behind-the-scenes work or have capabilities your team hasn’t fully experienced. 

Not only that, but including them in the conversation will likely make them more invested in the goals you ultimately agree to set. If they feel partial ownership over goals, they may even spearhead efforts to beat them in less time than you think. It’s a win-win situation for yourself and your employees alike.

If you’re new to the process of setting goals with a remote team, you might be wondering how to have these conversations in an effective way that sets the tone for a great year. These five tips are sure to help. 

1. Know Your Needs

Before you start holding meetings, develop and communicate a clear vision for the types of goals you’re hoping to set with your team. What does your organization/department/team need in the year ahead? Is it a wider national (or international) reach? Is it a push for accessibility measures on your website? Or is it something entirely new, like a video series to enhance your robust digital publication?

As you consider goals, be mindful that they are achievable not only by in-house employees, but also by your remote staff. 

Then, before your meetings, share your thoughts with your staff. Be sure to encourage them to bring original ideas to the table, and give them ample time to consider their thoughts.

2. Let Everyone Be Heard

It can be difficult to chime into a group conversation as a remote employee. If you’re working with a large group to develop goals, hold individual conversation to ensure all voices are heard. Video conferencing can be great for individual conversation if you and your remote employees have that option. 

If you’re unable to hold individual conversations, consider hosting small group sessions led by a point person, and ensure that point person reports back with takeaways the group has decided on. And leave your door open for a few extra days so employees who weren’t able to speak have a forum to share their ideas.

3. Clearly Communicate Final Goals

Depending on the nature of your work, your goals might include:

  • Boosting your email campaign metrics 
  • Growing your audience on social media
  • Creating and executing a set number of new campaigns for priority clients
  • Organizing three new drives in support of charitable organizations
  • Other ideas in line with your company’s mission, vision, and values

Whatever your goals may be, communicate them to each of your staff members clearly and concretely. Be sure to include specific metrics of success. (If you’re looking to boost your email campaign metrics, what percentage open rate are you aiming for? How wide do you want your audience to be at the end of the year?) 

Then, going forward, draw clear lines between projects assigned and the goals they will help accomplish, so that they know their efforts are appreciated (and that they’re contributing directly to your organization’s success).

4. Keep Goals Top-of-Mind

Hold quarterly meetings with your broader team to check in on your progress toward your goals. Be sure to acknowledge successes as well as changed conditions, obstacles, and opportunities to pivot/change course. Be flexible and open to the fact that goals may change; if they must, explain changes to your team and highlight strategies to give them a sense of how they can adjust. Make sure to explicitly invite remote staff to contribute their thoughts and reactions in these meetings, and follow them up with a brief follow-up email explaining what was covered in the meeting in case their connections were cut off or something was missed.

5. Celebrate Victories Along the Way

Has your team crushed a goal in a third of the amount of time you expected? Take time out of the work week to celebrate that. It doesn’t have to be a huge deal–even just an email or a quick chat on the phone can go a long way. Be sure to call out remote employees as well as in-house staff who helped make these victories possible. 

You don’t have to wait until the new year to set new goals. There’s no wrong time to bring your team together to renew your shared investment in your work. Whenever you decide to set new goals, however, be sure your remote staff have ample opportunities to contribute. You’ll be surprised how much more you accomplish when your entire team comes together. 

Featured image by Isaac Smith