Here at Crosby HR, we work with more and more businesses that have remote workforces. We have found that, within these businesses, engagement and inclusion with their employees who work remotely, is a stumbling block. So we wanted to share our tips on how to effectively engage with remote workforces no matter how big or small your workforce is.
First of all, let’s look at why businesses are looking towards a mobile workforce. For starters, businesses are finding that being able to offer remote working is helping with recruitment and also helping with staff retention. It is reported that businesses that offer remote working, see improvement up to 25% on staff turnover figures. Favoring a remote workforce will also keep your accountant happy; with fewer people in the office it means you can afford to have a smaller space or in some instances, you may not need to have an office at all. This is going to cut back massively on the companies overheads.
However, without everyone being in the office, how do you create a sense of belonging? This seems to be the biggest challenge. A lack of belonging can lead to disengagement of staff, lower productivity and then ironically a higher staff turnover!
If you have employees that are in the office each day and also a remote workforce, an ‘us vs them’ mentality is quick to start up, but this is largely down to a lack of communication between all of your employees. Remember that mobile employees can’t join in with office chit chat in the ‘brew room/kitchen’ or have ‘a gossip’ 10 minutes before they start their shift these are all things that create a sense of belonging and team mentality.
You have to openly encourage communication with all staff digitally. We have found that tools like Yammer, skype or Teams from Microsoft, or Hangouts from google can help bridge this gap. As it promotes general conversation between employees.
Can you create a wider culture in your business, that everyone can get behind? Everyone feels a part of something working for your business. Creating a tribe-like atmosphere.
When implementing anything new, this is almost the most important part. Lead from the top down. If leadership isn’t onboard why would anyone else adopt this? It is in the name after all ‘LEADERship’. Can your leadership have people directly under them who work remotely under them and create an example of what relationship to have? Or better still, can a leader work remotely?
It is 2020 there are hundreds of ways now to communicate digitally. All social platforms have private groups and message boards (walls). Introduction of platforms like Yammer’s internal social media platforms. These are all ways to interact with ALL your staff.
You can issue praise and awards so that you can see these companies wide, rather than handing them out in the office where your remote workforce cant view them.
Video Calling for all meetings and scheduling them regularly. Could you run regular team meetings, having all staff present using video calls like Skype and Zoom? This is a fantastic way to make the team feel like one and also add that important personal face to face interaction.
Also, it is important that you do not get into the routine of only communicating when there are issues or if the call is negative. This will only lead to dread every time the email or text comes to set up a meeting. Ensure regular positive communication.