5 Best HR Practices For Remote Workforce ManagementPublié le 26 September 2023
Keep your team on track and headed for success from anywhere in the world with the 5 best HR practices for remote workforce management.
In the modern workplace, most people want the ability to work remotely. In fact, surveys have found that workers are even willing to change jobs to have access to remote and hybrid working arrangements. In light of this, how does HR respond to offer this flexibility while maintaining a healthy, engaged workforce? Trust, talking, and training.
HR leaders can understand and navigate these evolving demands while bringing out the best in their team with an employee-centered approach. Individual efforts may vary, but five fundamental principles can help you get remote work right to attract and retain the best people for your organization.
5 Best HR Practices For Remote Workforce Management
1. Create a foundation of good communication
Remote teams only thrive when there’s strong internal communication about everything from roles and responsibilities to what people are listening to, adventures outside of work, and how to prep for the next big meeting. You’ll need a mix of strong tools and a strong workplace culture.
Collaboration is key here, but it might look different because of remote and asynchronous work. So, you’ll start with a list of tools designed to encourage collaboration and conversation. Some of our favorites include:
- Slack for chats, channels, and video calls (Huddle on the platform).
- Wistia for recording videos. These are great for explaining a long process or document because it allows someone to go into detail. And the recipient can follow along at each step.
- Google Meet for videos and conversations where you must present or want to include secondary recording tools.
- Fireflies AI for note-taking during meetings, offering a way to transcribe and summarize what’s said while ensuring everyone gets a chance to contribute.
- Google Docs for creating and sharing a wide range of documents with simplified access.
- Project management tools like Asana or Tasks where you can comment and tag people to keep projects moving along.
Once you’ve got your tools together, use them. Get leadership involved in conversations. Every team lead should be a major contributor to communication tools because it sets expectations for how team members should use them.
Make it easy to communicate and encourage those interactions. This will help your team build cohesion and community. Everyone gets to be a part of something bigger, can share what they enjoy, and has different options to participate based on how they feel each day.
Over-communicating can be good here, especially when onboarding new team members.
2. Enable interpersonal experiences
People need positive relationships in their daily lives, both inside and outside of work. You can’t control what happens when someone is off the clock. However, you can help fill work time with positive, rewarding experiences between team members. When done right, it translates to increased satisfaction and employee engagement, leading to improved customer experiences and sales.
The trick for remote work is to make exchanges easy and fun. Help your people talk to others by clearing hurdles and creating space. This can mean allowing team members to chat with customers and prospects. Give people projects they can collaborate on and encourage using the tools above.
It also means creating areas for people to share things that aren’t fully related to work.
At Hubstaff, we do this primarily through Slack channels around things to read, watch, cook, games to play, and spots to share photos of family and friends. When someone onboards, they create a short video about themselves, providing a great way for others to ask about hobbies and pets or share interests.
Help your teams interact by hosting virtual coffee chats with two or three people so they can learn about each other and share. Online events and celebrations are a great way to form personal bonds between remote workers and acknowledge team success.
Again, managers must show teams how to engage and reinforce that this is a good way to use company time. Encourage these interactions, and only step in when they may move out of positive, healthy territories.
3. Step up your training game
Remote work comes with a lot of autonomy — it’s one of the things people love about it. However, HR professionals know this can mean a lot of room for mistakes or concerns. Those increase when it is the first remote or hybrid position someone has.
If they never had a job that depended solely on Zoom or Slack, they may not understand some etiquette or be unclear on things like dress codes.
Respond with a great handbook and plenty of training.
Remote settings need to offer training to people on every aspect of your culture. Discuss how people interact and what’s okay. Give examples of what isn’t allowed, and explain your thinking — frame training around how someone would want to be understood and treated.
HR professionals should take their existing handbook and treat it as a course. Create modules for each section to demonstrate your company’s approach and culture. Every employee should know how to accomplish their work and why things are done a certain way.
One important thing in a remote setting is teaching people how to pause and take a moment. Show them when they can step back from a call or messaging. Ensure that it’s okay for people to collect themselves. Help people feel comfortable protecting themselves.
In remote work, you can’t physically get up and leave a situation.
The digital equivalent is hard to master. Empower your people by training them to protect themselves and offer that same kind of support and care to others.
4. Match your efforts to your people
Getting people to use your tools, complete required training, and regularly engage can be tricky, and posses a challenge for remote workforce management. You can improve your chances of success here by ensuring that individual pieces and overall messaging match your new employees.
Many HR managers and leaders can do this instinctively for their employees, especially Gen X and older Millennials. The tricky part can be including Gen Z and younger Millennials, who have always had remote-like tools available.
For groups newer to the workforce, digital is normal. It doesn’t have a “wow” factor. So, you’ll need to step up to be impressive in order to keep them engaged.
We encourage managers and HR professionals to look at the six major areas that are important to and inspire younger workers:
- Progress and expectations
- Financial concerns
- Work-life balance
- Mental health
- Workplace harassment
- Climate action
Many of these are easy to link directly to your HR efforts. A well-defined job description and paying someone at market rate knock out the first two. Training that explains when people need to respond during the day and any carveouts you have for personal time get to the heart of work-life balance.
Your company likely has harassment training and mental health support available via benefits. However, Gen Z workers want information and training on how to use benefits and harassment policies. Show them what to do, encourage reporting, and reassure people that it’s okay to ask for safety and security.
Reinforce their value by speaking to these needs.
As for climate action, this varies greatly. Look for areas where you make sustainable choices and highlight these in company newsletters. Consider adding climate-focused groups to your lists if you’re involved in philanthropy or corporate giving. If you’re stumped, create a digital suggestion box for climate work and respond to the people who provide ideas.
5. Be intentional about building trust
Employee trust equates to employee and company success. Getting it right for remote teams requires intentionality and a bit of work.
Lacking face-to-face interaction can make building trust tricky, but plenty of ways exist to get it done. First, you’ll want to leverage swift trust for any new teams and projects. People in newly formed groups tend to trust each other, so lean on this as you use other strategies to build trust.
The best place to start is with company transparency. Honesty shows people you trust them, and for remote teams, transparency efforts also help people see what others are doing. You’re encouraging interactions while helping team members learn what is expected or normal. Transparency requires a mix of public communication about what’s happening and opportunities for them to discuss concerns with HR privately.
Public efforts can include a wide range of things:
- Internal company newsletters.
- Shared team calendars to see when people are available.
- Discussing vacation days on Slack channels.
- Making KPIs and goals visible to everyone on a team.
- Small announcements when leaders do things that you want to encourage in staff, such as an executive taking a morning off to care for a sick family member.
- Anonymizing feedback or suggestions and then sharing these with an entire team or workforce.
Remote team members can also feel very isolated, which may heighten how scary mistakes feel. Break down that barrier by embracing mistakes and ensuring accountability doesn’t feel like punishment.
You’re an HR expert. Use what you know about encouraging people, offering praise, and turning mistakes into training. Every core activity has a remote counterpart, and you can use these to keep people happy and engaged.
Highlight how EX improves operations
A remote workforce is still a workforce. HR needs to respond accordingly, and that often means creating a business case for every expense around training, tools, benefits, and recognition. Thankfully, you’ve got a strong built-in justification.
Improving the employee experience translates directly into improving the customer experience.
Think about the trust issue we just discussed. The companies in Fortune’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” beat the average annualized returns of the S&P 500 by a factor of three. The biggest factor in how Fortune selects those companies? Trust.
We’ve also found that multiple research studies on trust provide similar support. Trusted brands outperform less-trusted rivals by roughly 400%. When your employees trust you, they’re 20% more engaged. Trusting co-workers and managers makes people feel more psychologically safe — which is very important for Gen Z workers.
And perhaps most importantly, 66% of people who do not trust their HR departments won’t file complaints or document issues. This means a lack of trust significantly harms people and your company.
When leaders ask why they should invest more in HR efforts, tell them that improving the employee experience directly impacts their bottom line. By utilizing the 5 best HR practices for remote workforce management, you will be able to keep your team on track for continued success from anywhere in the world.