While states are making announcements that they’re “open for business,” many organizations are allowing their employees to work from home indefinitely. In a Global Work-from-Home Experience Survey conducted this year, 73% of workers responded that they’re successful working from home; 78% said they have the skills to be successful at home; and 70% of managers reported they’re satisfied with employee work performance.
The key is understanding what it takes to work successfully from home – both in terms of physical equipment and human support. And technology plays an essential component in both of these areas.
When we work in an office, we can see each other. This sounds very obvious, but sometimes it’s taken for granted. In the office, we know when people are working (and when they’re not). And if we have a quick message to convey or need the answer to a question, we can see what someone is doing, drop over, and communicate. In the remote work environment, we have to be more intentional. We need technology to help us manage our daily business interactions.
There are three primary employee messages that happen in the workplace: performance goals, recognition, and feedback. For employees to be successful working from home, they need to have direct access to conducting these messages effectively. The best time to get employees accustomed to this form of communication is when they begin work – during onboarding.
New hire message #1 – ‘Stay focused on performance goals.’
A common discussion during the interview process centers around what the employee will do in their role: job tasks and responsibilities, special projects or assignments, and expected outcomes and results. Once the candidate becomes an employee, it’s easy to lose sight of performance goals, especially when managers and employees don’t communicate every day.
Another place where we’re regularly reminded about performance goals is at a physical work location. Many offices have posters in conference rooms. Or there are value statements painted on the walls. Many organizations send subtle reminders about performance in the design of their workspace.
Workhuman®’s Conversations® product provides employees with the ability to stay focused through the use of a feature called Priorities. Employees can see what’s important to the organization and make sure they are working on those projects and tasks that deliver the greatest value. Conversations also has a feature for managers to provide immediate feedback to employees about their work. This reinforces the message that the employee is prioritizing correctly or helps them get back on track if they have strayed.
New hire message #2 – ‘Thank you for a job well done.’
Speaking of doing things correctly, when an employee is doing a good job, they want their efforts to be noticed – especially when you’re a new employee and unsure of the way things are done around the organization. Not only do they want to be rewarded by their manager, but it’s wonderful when they’re recognized by their co-workers. In fact, some employees say peer recognition is actually better (but we won’t tell managers that!).
Bottom-line: Recognition and rewards feel good when done right. It helps employees build relationships and become a part of the team. This step is critical for a new employee’s socialization process, and even more so if they’re working remotely because they don’t have the benefit of face-to-face interaction as a way to build camaraderie.
Workhuman’s Social Recognition® product allows managers and employees to recognize a job well done. It lets employees know they’re contributing to the goals of the organization, which helps to build engagement. In addition, employees can be rewarded with points to redeem for items which is another way to reinforce a connection. An employee can look at an item they have in their home office and remember how they earned it and who recognized them.
New hire message #3 – ‘Tell us about your experience.’
The first two messages mentioned in this article are focused on giving new hires feedback. It’s true – new hires need a lot of feedback. But at some point, the new hire needs to be able to share their experience with the company. That’s how the organization gets better at the new hire experience.
Workhuman’s MoodtrackerTM product gives employees a medium for expressing their feedback. (Side note: This product is 100% FREE to companies.) Moodtracker is a survey designer app. It can be used for regularly scheduled pulse surveys or customized single surveys. The results can be completely anonymous. Organizations can regularly send check-in surveys to new hires to get feedback on how they’re doing. The surveys can also be scheduled in a way that reduces “survey fatigue.” New hires can be informed about the surveys when they get hired so they know they’re coming and feel encouraged to share their feedback.
As the organization receives results, they can look at Workhuman’s global benchmarking data to compare how they’re doing. They can also evaluate their own trend analysis. Moodtracker offers some high-level results based on employee sentiment analysis, along with recommended actions. The last thing any organization wants is to hire an employee and then find out they’re not happy.
Giving new employees the technology to be successful
Being a new hire is tough – really tough! Organizations need to remember how hard it can be to learn a new role and a new company culture. Add to that the fact that they’re trying to do it from a remote location.
The good news is that organizations can give employees the technology tools they need for success. Today’s technology can be used to establish goals and priorities, reward and recognize performance, and solicit feedback. These technologies let the employee know that the organization is invested in their success and is empowering them to get things done rather than bogging them down with rules and policies.
Remote work is our new normal. The key to successful remote work is technology.
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