The COVID-19 outbreak has caused immense changes for companies and their employees all over the world. In order to comply with government orders, many companies have transitioned to remote work for any employee whose job can adapt. According to Gallup, 62% of American workers have been working from home during the pandemic.
Here at Hueman, we have gone fully remote for all our employees and we know that one of the biggest challenges of working remotely is keeping employees engaged and motivated. For many people, working from home is a new experience, and for those who have worked remotely previously, the circumstances are quite different right now, creating additional distractions.
Luckily, there are some easy steps organizations can take to help keep workforces engaged, productive, and happy.
Have a culture and core values in place.
As we indicated before, this is crucial to having engaged and productive employees. When your employees already have a sense of belonging and advocate for your values and culture, it makes it easier for them to stay motivated in the office or not. In other words, if they truly are a cultural fit, they will be able to uphold your company’s culture and values from any office space, whether it be a spare bedroom, a dining room table, or their desk at work. Hueman has implemented five core values and they are ingrained in everything we do as a company, from hiring, training, recognition and community service.
Make sure employees have the right technology and equipment.
This one is imperative when it comes to productivity. Not all employees have a home office set up where they can have their own space, their monitor and their phone perfectly placed on an organized desk. In fact, most do not. Do what you can as an organization to provide your employees with computer monitors, laptops, phones, ethernet cables, and anything else they may need to be able to stay online to work efficiently and effectively. It is also super important that you have the IT infrastructure and team in place to ensure that your virtual workers can remain connected whether through Zoom, Microsoft Teams or some other form of technology.
Have virtual meetings.
If you have recurring meetings, make them virtual. No need to cancel the meetings and leave your employees feeling uninformed just because they are not in the office. It’s even more important to over communicate when employees are working remotely, especially under today’s circumstances.
At Hueman, our team hosts a weekly all-colleague meeting on Monday mornings to provide updates around our business and introduce new team members and any other relevant news. We have continued these meetings virtually via Zoom with just a little bit of extra work to make sure everything is set up ahead of time. Keeping these meetings on schedule helps your employees to feel informed, allows them to see one another and feel connected, and gives them the same sense of routine that they would have in the office.
In addition to regular virtual meetings, make sure leadership is communicating with employees now more than ever. Each week, our CEO sends out a YouTube video from his home providing just a brief update. Sometimes it’s information about how we are going to move forward with getting back into the office and sometimes it’s to let people know that it’s ok to have a down day and here are some ways to keep grinding and moving forward. People like to know that we are all in this together and it helps to have your leadership connect with their employees.
Keep employees feeling a sense of connectedness.
When you aren’t in the office there is no chance to stop by a colleague’s desk and talk about what happened the night before or go and grab lunch. This is important to your employees and your overall culture as an organization. Some things we have implemented, with input from our employees are:
- Virtual lunch buddy sign ups
- Friday game day with companywide challenges (Some of the games we have done are scavenger hunts, Two Truths and a Lie with our leadership team, Name That Tune, and BINGO.)
- Individual team happy hours or game nights
Each of these are planned ahead of time and sent out to all employees to participate. Not only does it help with productivity, but also it’s a fun way to feel connected to each other when we can’t be around each other physically. All of our games have been played via email and it has been a blast for everyone whether they are just along for the ride or actively participating!
Empower your employees with schedule flexibility.
Working from home provides different distractions and especially now with spouses and children also at home. Random things can come up that need to be dealt with and people need to feel empowered that they update their schedules accordingly. Amid the pandemic, these situations could be going on a toilet paper search, needing to homeschool children, or a day of feeling down and anxious. Times are uncertain and people are going to have things come up that wouldn’t if they were in the office working at their desk. Encourage your employees to be flexible and work with their next level leader to make their at home schedule work for them and their family.
People appreciate when their leadership realizes the challenges and insists on making accommodations so that work doesn’t have to be one more stressor. Some people with kids may need to start their workday later, others may need to take a few hours in the middle of their day. Giving your employees the freedom to work when they will be most productive will do just that – help them to be the most productive. If you have hired the right people and you encourage them to work in the right ways - they will work smarter and harder for you!
Implement online recognition programs.
This is something Hueman does even when we are in the office. It is a great way to recognize someone on your immediate team (or outside of your team) that you have seen displaying company values, working hard or make a big accomplishment. We call these Core Value Commendations and High Fives. We have an online system where people can write how a colleague has shown one or more of our core values. This is sent to the employee and their manager and they are also enrolled in a drawing for a monthly gift card. We also have High Fives, where you can recognize someone for anything. Could be they made you feel special and brought you a coffee or they helped you with a project. These have been a great way to let each other know that we see the hard work and value contributions, even from a distance.
Our workforce is physically dispersed, so to stay engaged across all levels of hierarchy and across all teams, we leverage virtual high-fives through a tech platform we use for all one-on-one engagement. It's simple, noninvasive and allows us to immediately demonstrate thanks and praise for daily activities that can be taken for granted or overlooked. - Sarah Palmer, Hueman RPO
As a Recruitment Process Outsourcing company, we recruit remotely for our clients every single day and have an intense focus on a candidate-centric process. We also have many remote team members across the country and so our leadership team, years ago, implemented a very strategic ‘culture by design’ to ensure an engaged and motivated workforce, whether in the office or working remotely. We believe it all starts and ends with hiring the right PEOPLE that fit with your organization’s culture. Our innovation in culture and engagement comes from our intense focus on great communication, transparency, a strict adoption of core values, and an ‘uber strict’ dedication to hiring the right people. In Hueman’s case, our exceptional culture and focus on hiring top talent has led our business to earn the Great Place to Work title for 14 years in a row, more than any other business in the country. We know what has worked for our organization, and we want to share our experience to bolster your organization’s remote workforce now and in the future.
It’s important that companies find ways to keep their remote employees engaged and productive. It seems that remote work will become more of a norm even after the coronavirus pandemic. Gallup says that 3 in 5 American workers have said they would like to continue their job remotely. Organizations should be prepared for this transition to more flex-work and remote employees. If we can help your organization with creating your own ‘culture by design’ and/or with recruiting the right talent to fit your culture, contact us today! We are here to help and enjoy seeing companies and their employees succeed.