In many organizations, employees are forced to work remotely. We have experienced the pros and cons, and are learning how to influence them. Until now, most managers have been looking at the external factors. What can you do to keep remote workers engaged? Implement proper collaboration tools, facilitate a healthy home work environment, increase team communication and display empathy and trust.

Still, keeping remote employees engaged is difficult, so what more can you as a CEO, HR or team manager do?

In this blog we offer remote working advice from an internal perspective. What personality traits make a remote employee successful and engaged? And how can you encourage or compensate for these?

6 Beneficial personality traits in a remote working situation

It is valuable to know if these traits are present in your team(s), so you can effectively motivate and manage them. Because generally, remote workers need more challenge and stimulation, but are less likely to exchange feedback or demand recognition compared to the average worker.

According to the High Potential Trait Indicator (HPTI), there are 6 personality traits that make a remote worker successful. Successful remote workers are often less Competitive than the average worker, and then tend to score higher in Conscientiousness, Adjustment, Curiosity, Ambiguity Acceptance, and Risk Approach.

Here are the 6 personality traits of a successful remote worker and tips on how to use them to increase employee engagement!

Employees who score higher in Adjustment are better able to adapt to new stressors and demands.

1. Conscientiousness

This trait indicates the motivation, ability to plan long-term, and discipline of an employee. Remote workers with higher Conscientiousness are generally more motivated and can organize their schedules while meeting their deadlines without guidance.

Tip: how to encourage Conscientiousness

Individuals who score lower on Conscientiousness are more likely to need support and guidance while working remotely. If you have a team member who needs extra support, ask how you can be supportive, or where they need extra support. Remote leadership is about delegating and supporting tasks. Create an open space for communication while working remotely, and check-in with employees who may need some extra help.

2. Adjustment

Describes the capacity an employee has to regulate and monitor their own emotions, and how they react to stressors. Employees who score higher in Adjustment are better able to adapt to new stressors and demands (like social isolation or family responsibilities) while working remotely.

Tip: how to encourage Adjustment

People who score lower on Adjustment potentially find working remotely more stressful than those who score higher. This is because they do not have the ability or resilience to cope with fast changes. If a team member is low on adjustment, it is important for them to feel connected and supported during the adjustment period. In the data of our remote experience monitor we see that not only vertical support (empathy of the manager) but also lateral support (connecting with colleagues, friends or family) helps employees cope with stress. So as a manager, you should understand how employees are feeling and then enable or encourage them to connect with the influential people in their environment.

3. Curiosity

Employees who are more curious tend to enjoy learning new things. New work processes and environments are openly accepted by those with high levels of Curiosity. Additionally, curious people are likely to be more adaptable to new working environments, faster at learning new programs and technology, and are able to transition more smoothly into a remote working environment.

Tip: how to encourage Curiosity

Not every employee has high levels of Curiosity. Sometimes new situations and tools can be stressful for employees, which can have negative consequences in the long run. If you have an employee who scores low on curiosity, take the time to help them transition into the new situation, or couple them with a ‘’curious’’ colleague who can step in as a coach. This will help to decrease stress levers. To keep a team member with high curiosity engaged, encourage them to take online courses, or to upgrade their current skills. Find more tips in our visual eBook on how to improve the remote employee experience.

In this time of uncertainty, Ambiguity Acceptance might help employees overcome obstacles and make the most out of a difficult situation.

4. Ambiguity Acceptance

This trait explains how an employee approaches complex environments and uncertain situations. Employees who have higher Ambiguity Acceptance tend to do best in ambiguous work situations. Especially in this time of uncertainty and change, Ambiguity Acceptance might help employees overcome obstacles and make the most out of a difficult situation. It is also beneficial because remote workers who score high in this trait are better able to work independently without much direction.

Tip: how to encourage Ambiguity Acceptance

Individuals with low levels of Ambiguity Acceptance tend to prefer clarity and consistency. As a manager, make sure to be very clear in describing what is expected of employees and be open for questions about the tasks. With team members with low Ambiguity Acceptance you should regularly check if they understand what is expected of them. Focusing on small attainable goals can help with this. You might also like this blog on why it is important for organizations to focus on output rather than availability!

5. Risk Approach

This trait indicates how conflict and challenges are handled within the workplace. Employees with higher Risk Approach are generally more proactive when dealing with difficulties. But remember, in general, remote workers tend to need more stimulation and ask less feedback than the average worker.

Tip: how to encourage Risk Approach

Individuals with lower levels of Risk Approach are generally more reactive and less constructive when dealing with difficulties in the workplace. This can have a negative effect on their job satisfaction, work engagement and performance. Risk levels and difficulties that are associated with working remotely (during this pandemic) can be framed in constructive ways to increase performance. This can be done through implementing proper communication systems, role accountabilities and performance management procedures. Also, creating a culture of recognition can help encourage proactiveness among colleagues.

6. Competitiveness

This traits describes the desire of an employee to be recognized for their accomplishments and need to demonstrate their achievements. These employees tend to find joy in opportunities that lead to recognition and competition that are based in traditional work environments.

Tip: how to manage Competitiveness

Those who score high on Competitiveness may have a difficult time working remotely if they are not being recognized or rewarded. As a manager, remember to celebrate the small achievements of team members to motivate them. It can also help to adjust or think of new reward systems (on team level) that match with the current remote working situation.

Now that you know these 6 personality traits, how can you improve the experience and performance of your remote workers? Our science based Remote Experience Monitor offers a simple solution to understand how employees are feeling and dealing with the suddenly-remote work situation. Start it for free to keep your remote workers engaged!

P.S. Our free visual eBook is also full of science backed tips on how to increase the experience and engagement of remote employees.

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