Article | November 28, 2020
In 2019, over 4.3 million people were reportedly working remotely in the U.S. This number does not include the ones who work from home partially or temporarily. If there is one thing we can infer from this statistic, it is that remote work is bigger than ever, and it is not a mere trend or a phase.
Traditional workforces are rooted in conventional standards of productivity and efficiency. While it may work for an in-office, always available team, it is less than ideal for a remote workforce. A remote team, by the virtue of being remote, is not as connected as a physical team usually is. There are several benefits to working from home, but there are some downsides as well. As per a study by Harvard Business Review, employees who work remotely are reportedly less motivated than those who work from an office. Low employee morale can lead to lower performance levels or dissatisfaction and it your responsibility as the employer to enhance the remote experience. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain morale as and motivate your remote workforce. Here are some ways to figure out how to motivate your team:
Develop a Remote Work Culture
Work culture is a buzzword used often in terms of employee management of human resource management. But what does it really comprise of? Work culture is an amalgamation of several factors that make up your entire office experience. In an office setting, it includes everything from your tasks and processes, to the lunch timings, celebrations, water cooler conversations, and even non-work related banter.
This is an impossible feat to achieve with a remote workforce because chances are that they never meet each other or talk beyond the scopes of work. Many people believe it to be the natural course of things and leave the situation be. But because of the nature of the remote workforce, it becomes that much more important to develop a work culture. So how to keep your employees motivated and develop an office culture?
Do not try to replicate an office work culture exactly, as it isn’t possible. Instead, try to start small traditions and rituals that work for your team. Whether it is sharing what you’re having for lunch or discussing a current issue, conversations make for a better team. You can also include several virtual activities at the end of the day to help everyone cool off.
Offer Flexibility and Autonomy
You can scratch your brain for ideas to motivate your remote employees, but studies have shown that employees who work from home are already more efficient than those who do not. One of the biggest reasons why multiple studies have shown remote employees to be more productive is that they are accountable for their own work and time, which is often not the case in the office. The autonomy that comes with working remotely tends to be a powerful driver in terms of efficiency. However, employers tend to micromanage remote employees in a bid to control an uncertain situation. This not only demoralizes your employees but can also create trust issues. The best course of action is to trust your employees and let them take care of the work in whatever way they like.
Remote work can often be a lonely process. There is no one to interact with and several employees report feelings of isolation when working remotely. Google shows a severe spike in the search team ‘how to stay motivated working from home’ since early 2020. The reason could be the forced shift to remote work.
Offer support in terms of interaction and regular communication. This will make your employees realize that you genuinely care about their well-being.
There are also other forms of support such as technical and resource-based. Make sure that a tech team is available to your employees at all times for support. Also, ensure that they have all the required tools to function at their highest capacity.
Update Your Metrics
Working remotely is very different from working from an office. The lines are blurred, and the personal and professional aren’t always separate. So it makes no sense to calculate your employees’ efficiency based on factors such as punctuality or time spent on a task. Instead, update your metrics to reflect end results. Creating a result based metric system such as the OKRs will allow you to measure the true efficiency of your employees and also motivate your remote team to function more efficiently. A result based system will encourage the employees to push themselves add to their work from home motivation.
Conduct Frequent Reviews
Remote work can be an extremely efficient process if the lines of communication are clear and precise. One of the quickest ways to ensure that is to conduct frequent reviews with your employees and discuss the work, shortcomings, and achievements. This offers feedback to you as well as your employees and helps you stay on the same page. Feedback loops are a great way to motivate remote employees working in an isolated environment.
Everyone works differently and is motivated by different factors. Some employees find motivation intrinsically, while others require external motivators. In any case, incentives work as a great motivator as well as a good form of reward for most employees. Incentivizing goals for the entire team can enhance the camaraderie and team efforts while motivation the remote team.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you manage and motivate a remote workforce?
The key to managing and motivating a remote workforce is communication. Communicate with your team frequently and understand their needs. Offer feedback and take their suggestions seriously. You can also introduce virtual activities, new rituals, or even a virtual hangout session for better communication.
How do you incentivize remote employees?
While most people think of money or bonus as an incentive, the nature of the incentives is such that the cost does not matter as much as the acknowledgment of the effort. Make sure to offer incentives for completing goals rather than abstract expectations.
How does remote working increase productivity?
Remote work offers a lot more autonomy to the employees than working in the office. They are responsible for their own productivity and this motivated them to function more efficiently. The flexibility of remote work also plays into this, as employees can work within the comfort of their own home.
Article | November 28, 2020
In some spaces, underperformers are quickly dismissed, but there may be value in them yet. How can you improve their corporate abilities, and what online training errors should you dodge? Creating A Workforce Development Strategy: What To Avoid. Some disciplinarians use the shaming technique to teach a lesson—embarrassing them into compliance. But it often causes lifelong trauma. You may not see the negative repercussions right away.
Article | November 28, 2020
In December, the Conservative Party achieved a landslide victory in the General Election by securing 365 seats in the House of Commons. This historic win enabled Boris Johnson and his party to overcome the political impasse that the government has encountered since the Brexit referendum. As a result, it is likely there will be changes that will impact businesses across the country. So, what should HR professionals be expecting? Sparqa Legal has taken a look at the Conservative Party’s manifesto and compiled a list of six pledges that HR teams need to know about.
Article | November 28, 2020
In the midst of a labor shortage, you managed to get their attention. They listened, during the interview, as you described the work. You put in the time to answer every question, and even a few follow-up questions the next day. They weighed the pay and the benefits you promised. But they took a job somewhere else instead. While the trend is for white collar workers to work from home, blue collar workers don’t have that option. This is becoming a question of work culture disparity. Why did that candidate pass on working for you? The pay you offered was competitive. The work itself wasn’t out of line. The hours weren’t unusual. It had to do with the work culture. In a labor shortage, work culture matters more than ever.
Manufacturers have a tough road ahead of them. Workplace culture is about personal well-being, which working from home directly addresses. Millennial and Gen Z workers, who value culture and work-life balance more than any generation before them, are looking for a work culture that is difficult to offer for blue collar employees. So how do you build a great work culture at your manufacturing plant? We’ll show you four ways you can make your culture stand out from the competition, without breaking the bank. Not only will you attract new hires, but you’ll retain your current valuable employees. Great work culture starts with empathy and respect. Empathy and respect don’t cost you anything, but they are priceless.
It’s kind of a no-brainer, but these two are the foundation of great work culture. Employees want to feel valued. How do you do that?
1. Treat them as you want to be treated.
People have lives outside of work. You do yourself, and you know that when things come up in your life, you hope others understand and try to make allowances. Do the same for employees. Be respectful and show empathy, even if you can’t personally identify with or understand what they’re going through.
2. See employees as individuals.
No employee wants to feel like a replaceable cog in the machine, or just another number being tracked in the system. Is there anything worse than a manager who doesn’t even know the names of the people working for them? While people are easily placed into categories based on demographics, job positions, and skills for various reasons, seeing them only as a member of a faceless category makes it easy to treat them as less than human. Individuals have personalities, work styles, quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. Pay attention to these kinds of things. Learn names and interests. Praise the great things they do. Communicate with them with their specific interests and personality in mind.
3. Learn how to show empathy in tangible ways.
Empathy sounds like some vague emotional thing that can’t be measured. In reality, empathy in action is very tangible. A caring, empathetic work culture offers:
Easy hiring processes. Finding, applying for, and interviewing for a job shouldn’t be a job in itself. Make the hiring process easy. Put all the information you can out there so they don’t waste their time applying for a job that isn’t a good fit for them. Thoughtful onboarding and training. Train based not only on the position, but in light of the new hire’s preferences and personality. The hiring process should provide you with information on how they best learn. Good benefits and compensation. It goes without saying that during a labor shortage, especially, your benefits and compensation must be very competitive.
Flexible scheduling- This is about work-life balance, and allowing people the necessary time and space to breathe instead of work dictating when everything in life happens.
Meaningful tasks - Cogs in a machine do meaningless, menial, and repetitive tasks. While some of these tasks are inevitable, help employees see how they are necessary. Show them how it all fits into the process and give importance to the tasks. Avoid busywork just to keep someone occupied. If there’s downtime, use it for cross-training.
Valuable feedback - Both positive and negative feedback can be valuable (or worthless) depending on how you communicate. Make sure your feedback is constructive, with specific examples and actionable points. Instead of crushing employees, you want to help them grow.
Empathy is caring about people, and every part of the hiring and work process allows for you to do that. When empathy is at the center of your culture, from hiring to how you plan your shifts, employees can feel it. They know you value them. They know that’s rare in the manufacturing world, and they’ll want to stick with you and grow with your company.
Make your workplace flexible
Creating a flexible workplace is one of those tangible ways of showing empathy. Instead of rigid shifts and schedules that don’t bend for anyone or any situation, a flexible workplace means giving employees more control over their time. Doctor’s appointments, parent-teacher conferences, car service appointments, and just about any other emergency can pop up during an employee’s shift. Being flexible (and empathetic) means you make the effort to allow them to deal with these things without undue stress or pressure.
You know what happens when you give your employees room to handle every area of their lives?
You end up with happier employees who are less stressed. These are employees who stick around and provide good word-of-mouth to potential hires. They are also employees who have a positive effect on your bottom line. It’s true that this kind of flexibility could be challenging for you when it comes to scheduling shifts. That’s why it’s important to use the right scheduling tools that make flexible self scheduling and unexpected shift coverage easy. It would be a real shame if you made life difficult for employees simply because you didn’t have the right tools to inject some flexibility into your schedule. Here’s a bonus, if you’re not convinced of the merit of being flexible, consider this: not only does this kind of flexibility help your employees, but it makes your business more agile. You’ll be able to adapt to market changes much easier than if you have a rigid work structure in place.
Go mobile and give employees more control
The technology you use should be the technology your employees want. They are already living on their mobile phones. That’s where your scheduling and communication should be. By going mobile-first, when it comes to creating the employee schedule, you give power back to your employees. It’s part of being flexible, and caring about them enough to not demand that they drive in or call someone at the plant to find out if a schedule has been posted in the break room.
Instead, they can confirm shifts, request time off, and see everything they need to know about their schedule or open shifts they could claim. They can communicate easily with each other and with management, from one mobile app. Employees have more control over their life. And even better, you don’t have to micromanage. No more long, stressful hours of scheduling and dealing with time-off requests. Set up the structure, plug in the shifts, and let the automation and employee participation kick in.
Increase employee engagement
Employee engagement is one of those buzz-word phrases that can easily turn into a list of gimmicks rather than being genuine. A cafeteria birthday party is nice, sure, but it’s not real engagement. It’s a one-off nod to an employee. So how do you really stay engaged with your employees?
Make sure your employees feel appreciated, noticed, and recognized. Reward positive behavior, no matter how small it might seem. Make it easy for employees to share ideas for improvement, and then actually listen to them. Implement ideas that are valid.
Create opportunities for employee socializing, whether on the job at break, or outside work hours. It’s the one huge benefit in-person workers have over those who work from home. Make it count. Create work events so that employees can get to know each other. It’s especially important for shift workers, who may not otherwise meet others on different shifts.
Make it easy for employees to communicate easily with each other within safe boundaries. Great example? Use When I Work’s chat feature, built right into the platform employees are already using to monitor their work schedule. They can talk to managers and each other without sharing personal contact information or playing phone tag.
Whether it’s a long list of employee engagement ideas, or a much shorter one, the cornerstone is the same: care about people individually. And then, give them the tools to easily balance a healthy work and personal life. Creating a great work culture doesn’t happen in a day. It takes work, and cultural shifts are some of the toughest wheels to turn. By choosing the right tools, you can grease those wheels. When I Work can help manufacturers like you by providing you with what you need to be flexible, mobile-first, with a work-chat feature that makes communication and employee connection simple