Managing a Remote Workforce- Part Three
The recent pandemic has illustrated to all of us the value of resiliency. The resiliency of any organization depends heavily on the adaptability, flexibility, and vision of the leadership and workforce. Many of the things we have historically taken for granted have been stripped away from us. Where we once gathered in person to celebrate, plan, and learn, we must now rely on technology and transformative management techniques to bring us together. All beliefs and expectations on how the world works are being broken down and must be rebuilt with creativity and simplicity. Including the relationships you’ve built with your outsourcing provider and the way your provider approaches service delivery.
As we look to the future, it’s no longer acceptable for the outsourcing firm you partner with to have the option of remote work as part of their business continuity plan. It’s vital they have a workplace plan which includes standards for remote work as part of their daily operations.
In a remote work environment, full engagement and dedication of employees are more important than ever before. Your outsourcing partner must take new steps to infuse their organization’s culture into the daily remote lives of their employees, set new goals and expectations, and follow through on commitments made to a workforce they can no longer physically see.
Since few things are more critical to the success of a remote workforce than employee engagement, when choosing an outsourcing company to partner with, it is imperative to discover the level of engagement that their managers have with their remote teams.
When employees feel engaged, they report greater motivation and employee satisfaction, provide higher quality work, are more productive, and are more loyal. It can be difficult enough to engage employees that are collocated in an office together, let alone a workforce that is scattered and may be working in different time zones.
There are a variety of ways to improve a remote employee’s engagement levels including implementing a virtual office space for collaboration, reinforce company culture, provide frequent feedback, require virtual face to face company engagements, demonstrate a genuine interest in your employees and express empathy for needs expressed by your employees no matter what those needs may be.
Have a “Virtual Office”
Creating a virtual office should include a cloud-based space to share work ideas and documents for projects, but should also include a means of communication. Effective communication is imperative to employee productivity and engagement but is particularly important with remote workers. With most experts agreeing that 70 to 93 percent of all communication is nonverbal, managers that are successful in engaging their remote teams, recognize that much more than just email is needed.
While email is an excellent tool for quick and concise communications that do not have any nuances, virtual meetings platforms like 8×8 and Zoom provide more effective communication where body language, tone, and eye contact can give clues on how information and ideas are being presented and received. Take note of how your employees are interacting with the tools they’ve been given; are they able to relax, or are they nervous speaking to a screen than to a person. Leadership plays a key role in helping employees understand the value of engaging video presence. Additionally, employees may benefit from company-issued guidelines on video interaction and including when video is required and how to put your best self forward over video.
Reinforcing Company Culture and Values
According to a Glassdoor survey, 56% of employees find an ethical workplace culture more important than salary. When employees are co-located, employees feel a sense of shared purpose more quickly, making company culture easier to build and maintain. It is important to ensure that remote workers feel that sense of shared purpose and clearly understand your company culture and values. Managers should use every employee interaction to reinforce a positive company culture and should lead by example, always adhering to company values.
In addition, many remote workers report feelings of isolation that can impede a sense of shared purpose and culture. Virtual meetings can help build rapport, reduce feelings of isolation, and drive feelings of community and shared understanding. Managers should utilize this technology for not just work-related meetings, but should also promote the use of video calls for team building exercises and socialization. Implementing virtual happy hours, game nights, or even exercise classes and challenges can help form strong team bonds that will lead to higher productivity and satisfaction.
Provide More Frequent Feedback and Recognize Superior Work
A large part of engaging with your workers is providing feedback. Employees in a traditional office environment have the advantage of being in more contact with their leadership, where feedback is happening consistently. When dealing with remote workers, it is easy to forget the basic need for feedback when, in actuality, feedback is even more crucial for remote workers. It is crucial for managers to regularly provide constructive criticism and positive feedback to their teleworking employees to clearly understand where they are excelling and where improvements can be made.
Another way to foster greater engagement is to recognize superior work formally. Employees who have their work recognized feel more appreciated and are more engaged. Some ways to do this are to send them a message that explicitly points out their accomplishments, share their successes with the entire team, and set up an online recognition platform that allows employees to recognize one another for their accomplishments publicly.
Liberty Source understands that engagement is key to a successful, productive remote workforce. Our leadership is experienced in and consistently seeking new exciting ways to effectively engage with our teleworking employees, guaranteeing the teams we employ for your business processes are loyal, productive, and motivated to giving you the best quality products.
Contact Liberty Source today to discover how we can partner with your company for all your outsourcing business needs.