How HR Can Keep Remote Employees Motivated
As things stand today, most companies worldwide will be operating on a work-from-home basis for the foreseeable future. The transition last year, in many cases, happened very quickly and on an ad hoc basis, which means that both managers and employees were unprepared for how to cope with the change and stay productive. While continuing to maintain the “office” structure remotely can be a challenge, the core tenets of HR remain the same: ensuring that everyone is equipped with the right tools, support, and reward systems to perform optimally and feel good about it. Here is a quick guide on how HR personnel can keep teams motivated and happy regardless of where they are working from.
Let us begin:
1. Enable Teamwork And Collaboration
A common change management example is the times of a crisis, which is what the pandemic was, prompting a change in organizational culture.
In today’s remote work scenario, collaboration tools are part and parcel of teamwork and group projects. However, not everyone may be equally comfortable with using all such tools. Let the employees take the lead on this by encouraging the “experts” with the tool to coach their colleagues on how to use it. Part of this allows for some buffer time to let the newbies learn their way around the tool.
In addition, always be open to feedback about how collaboration can happen more effectively. Whether that is a recommendation for a new tool or a request to remove one or more tools or processes that may be adding to the confusion. Welcome everything your employees have to share and demonstrate how you acted on their suggestions.
2. Give Everyone Visual Insight Into Their Goals
An essential part of employee motivation involves having clear visibility into what they are expected to do and how their work stands concerning what the others are doing.
Visual task managers like Trello or Asana are ideal for this, and they are also easy to use. Use the tool to show everyone’s KPIs clearly and also to track the weekly and monthly progress on each visually. This is an easy way to keep everyone accountable and motivate them to stay on track.
3. Encourage Them To Follow Their Interests
Upskilling is one of the most valuable parts of any employee’s arsenal, especially in an ever-changing world. Managers can facilitate this for employees working from home by sponsoring professional training courses or even hobby classes for teams to enjoy.
For instance, Nimbus Therapeutics, a biotechnology firm, offered a virtual ukulele-building session last year that included sending kits to their employees at home.
4. Give Employees The Freedom To Make Their Own Decisions
Perhaps the most common misconception about remote work is that managers will no longer be able to “control” what their employees are doing on the job. On top of that, employees worry about stressors during their work time and prefer working independently.
Your employees are adults and should be treated as such. Micro-managing them will cause resentment and only hinder their productivity. Give them the autonomy they need to manage their workday their way. As long as they deliver the necessary results, they should be allowed to make decisions and plan things as they like.
5. Offer Attractive Health Benefits
COVID-19 is a health crisis unlike any other, and anyone can be susceptible to it at any time. To show that you have your team’s welfare at heart, upgrade their health insurance plan to include COVID-related costs, and offer the same to their families if your budget permits.
You can also offer free mental health counseling for your team. Given how trying these times are, your employees may welcome counseling as a way to combat the stress and depression they are feeling.
6. Encourage Learning
An HBR report states that 94% of HR professionals have real-time insights into their employees’ career development goals due to analytical activity. Now is a great time for employees to learn what they have always wanted to, so managers can easily facilitate that. Many companies have invested in eLearning platforms to encourage their workforce to learn new skills or upgrade the ones they already have.
Cisco invested in a social media training program for both their employees and contractors. Since implementing gamification, 650+ Cisco employees have completed 13,000+ courses and received certification.
On the other hand, pretty much everyone is online now. However, some companies have been doing it for longer than others and have their best practices in place. Executives and managers alike need to keep themselves updated on what the market leaders are doing and see how you can adapt those practices to enable your own workforce better.
7. Keep Informal Communication Going
A big part of the office experience is the informal talk that happens during work breaks and over lunch. While water-cooler conversations may be on hold for a while, dedicated messaging channels for non-work topics can recreate some of the fun.
Encourage employees to participate in informal discussions and to set up their own channels or chat groups based on mutual interest. For instance, at Homes.com, employees started sharing photos and video tours of their new home offices and had their own Parent Panels where they talked about how to work productively with kids around.
Managers can also devote the last fifteen minutes of the day to non-work talks, such as evening plans or the latest sports news.
8. Recognize And Reward Good Work
Good work does not always happen in the context of on-the-job projects. Many employees go above and beyond to help their fellow colleagues, especially in times of crisis, and this generosity and proactiveness deserve to be noticed too.
Management should develop a system where such acts outside the work realm get noticed, appreciated, and rewarded. This way, everyone else on the team also gets to hear about what their colleague has done.
Giving virtual thank yous and social media shoutouts, sending snack baskets to the employees’ home addresses, and maintaining an online leaderboard are some of the ways you could let the teams know about the top-performing employees.
9. Have Thoughtful Feedback Sessions
One-on-one feedback has always been critical, and it is even more critical in the remote work age when everyone is struggling to manage work with home obligations and the uncertainty of the pandemic itself.
Given that feedback sessions will be virtual, it is all the more vital to pay attention to the choice of words and the tone used. Managers should speak as composedly as possible and provide relevant feedback rather than being curt.
Moreover, they should encourage employees to share their own points of view and listen empathetically. The focus should lie on mutual efforts, from the manager as well as the employee, to improve outcomes.
Over To You
The present state of affairs across the globe is looking up, but we still have a long way to go before we have beaten the pandemic completely. Until then, it will be a challenge for HR personnel to look for different ways to keep the workforce motivated. Hopefully, the above-mentioned techniques would help achieve this goal successfully.