One of the better management techniques that I ever learned was what I now refer to as “The Atta Person Email”. This is a general management technique but one that I find particularly good for remote / asynchronous work.
In today’s increasingly fast paced world, one of the very real management problems is simple – how do you remember the good things that your staff (or co workers) did by the time that the annual / quarterly / six monthly review rolls around? Honestly I have a hard time remembering July – and it is only September. Six months ago was … March. That’s almost inconceivable to me.
My solution for this is simple - whenever I encounter someone that does something above and beyond, I send an email to their manager. If I am their manager then I cc myself on it and apply a Gmail label to it. Then when review time comes around, well, I look in that folder and see what’s there.
The reason that this is a particularly good remote work management technique is that remote workers are regularly forgotten by management as they quietly work in the background just getting things done. Unless a company has a real remote first culture, this common. Establishing a practice of paying attention and making sure that people get recognized for the good work that they do is just good management.
Note 1: I used to think of this as a “Atta Boy” email. Given the paucity of non male software engineers that I’ve been able to hire in my life, I don’t think that I’m wrong in my internal thinking but still – no excuse for that in 2019 so it is now a “Atta Person” email.
Note 2: To really motivate your coworkers / staff, bcc them on these emails when they go out. Even if their manager doesn’t appreciate their hard work, I suspect that they will be happier knowing that you appreciated it.