Tried-and-true methods of practicing business are not so true anymore. Technology and globalization have made the world smaller, while simultaneously opening doors to improve the ways we live and work — especially where and when we work.
In the past decade, more people have begun to work remotely – but even the definition of “working from home” has expanded. Today, remote workers may still choose to work from their homes, but they might just as well choose to share co-working spaces, work out of a coffee shop, check in from the beach or even work out of an RV. In recent years, the percentage of workers employed remotely has increased by a whopping 80 percent. This has put new pressure on managers, supervisors, human resources departments and executives to build productive, successful remote teams – and that doesn’t have to be as difficult as it might seem.
Clear goals foster accountability. This will give your remote team a solid footing on which to anchor their work. Make sure your goals are specific, with measurable benchmarks and stated deadlines.
Your remote team’s work will center around technology. Carefully select from the plethora of available business apps and productivity platforms, and always vet your choices before committing to them. Keep in mind that you want to simplify your remote team’s workflow by reducing confusion while increasing productivity.
Each member of your team needs to know his specific task and how it will fit into the overall goal of the team. Provide your team members with clear guidelines that can be easily referenced. Ensure your management tool includes a way for employees to track required milestones within project tasks. If feasible, include a flowchart that shows the impact of each member’s assignment on the overall project goals.
One of the perks lost when teams work remotely is the positive benefits of one-on-one interactions between co-workers. Your workers enjoy freedom and flexibility when working remotely, but it also deprives them of face time to solidify team dynamics. There’s no huddling around the water cooler with remote teams.
Make sure your team leader touches base with every member on a regular schedule. You can get one-on-one interaction and group brainstorming sessions via technology such as Skype. This will help build working relationships between team members.
All work and no play make your team a boring group. Think of ways your team can get to know each other outside of work, on a more personal level. This can go a long way toward thwarting dissatisfaction with the job. Encourage collaboration outside of work hours, if possible. Meet up offline if you can, or offer your team digital happy hours.
Finally, make sure you’re connecting with your remote employees through excellent communication and training, with innovative solutions, including comprehensive orientation and onboarding strategies. Creating ways in which your team has common knowledge of the operation and what others do each day is vital to achieving your mission.
For a long time employees joined a company, contributed to a retirement plan, and stayed for decades, slowly moving up the corporate ladder. That depiction no longer reflects the modern workplace or the modern workforce. Millennials have different needs and expectations, but if you are willing to adapt, you can ensure you continue to attract the talent your business needs.
Millennials crave feedback, far more often than managers are willing to provide. At most companies, managers conduct an annual review with direct reports to evaluate their performance. Some well-known companies now provide bimonthly feedback sessions to better engage younger employees that aren’t comfortable having that conversation once a year. Millennials are tech-savvy, and it is often necessary to use a variety of channels such as videos, websites, and interactive tools to better track progress and provide feedback. Firms must clearly communicate near-term goals along with the intermediary steps necessary to reach those goals, and it’s often beneficial to work with outside partners to help craft those messages.
Millennials want to know how they are performing, and they also want to know where that performance will take them. The timeline for career advancement has shrunk considerably; millennials expect a promotion every one to two years. This is of course not feasible for your entire workforce, but for top performers, granting an extra title or other recognition could stave off headhunters looking to capitalize on any dissatisfaction. According to some studies, 60 percent of millennials will leave a job within the first three years; with a workforce that fickle, a little extra spending now could save significant hiring costs later.
It’s not enough to just offer a paycheck; employers also have to offer a sense of purpose. According to one study, two-thirds of millennials won’t take a job offer from a company that doesn’t have a strong corporate social responsibility program. Hiring managers need to make sure that they emphasize opportunities for engagement as part of the total compensation package when recruiting top talent. From a logistical perspective, companies need to build programs to provide service opportunities or partner with service organizations that can provide that infrastructure.
Millennials comprise a steadily growing portion of the workforce, and companies that want to compete for the best talent will need to adapt to that reality. While some of the demands of millennial employees may seem taxing or silly to managers, failing to adapt to those demands in time could mean a significant slowdown in hiring, and in turn, competitiveness. The good news is that making these changes, and using comprehensive communications solutions to connect can boost morale not just among millennials and new hires, but throughout your entire workforce.
Forty-seven percent of American adults say they are unsure about or don’t know their employer’s core values — the beliefs and goals of an organization — according to Eagle Hill Consulting. Want more? 89 percent of workers who are aware of their employer’s values believe those values do influence their behavior and decisions within the workplace!
Having shared values guides decision-making, product development and even customer service. but many businesses struggle to communicate their objectives and standards to their workforce. It’s vital to recognize that effective communication fosters productivity and keeps employees engaged, something that could keep an organization union-free. Here’s how you can publicize your organization’s core values effectively.
A mission statement, which summarizes your company’s goals and values, is a powerful way to convey the management philosophy of your organization. This document compiles strategic decisions and forecasts future behaviors, and outlines a roadmap for how these can be achieved. How to write a corporate mission statement will depend on the scope of your business. However, you establish your organization’s most important projects and engage with your audience.
Mission statements used to consist of blocks of black-and-white text and were seldom read. However, new technology has made these documents more engaging for the customers, clients and employees who read them. You can articulate your core values through images and colorful graphics to boost employee engagement, for example. Email marketing brand Infusionsoft has incorporated various visual elements to illustrate the company’s values: “We believe in people and their dreams.”
Video is an effective way to get your message across. Fifty-nine percent of executives say they would rather watch a video than read text, while 50 percent of senior staff search for more information about a company after seeing a product or a service in a video. Plus, 65 percent of people remember a piece of information when it’s paired with a visual. This medium is a powerful platform for marketing and sales, but it can also be used to broadcast your core values.
Online marketing portal DigitalMarketer reveals its corporate mission in a short video. Viewers can find out what the organization believes, what it wants to achieve, and what its plans for the future are. This is something you could try for yourself. Video enhances communications between you and your staff and might prevent them from finding out more about your company from a third party.
Creating a mobile app with your core values is an innovative way to engage with a tech-savvy, young-skewing workforce. Mobile usage has skyrocketed in recent years, with American adults now spending more time on mobile devices than on desktops and laptops. Furthermore, 89 percent of time spent on mobile media is through an app.
Alternatively, you can optimize your website for mobile browsers so prospective and current employees can access your core values from their smartphone or tablet. This prevents website visitors from clicking on the “back” button if your values page doesn’t display properly or takes too long to load on a mobile device.
If staff are unaware of your organization’s core values, now’s the time to tell them. Writing a mission statement, creating a video or using mobile technology will convey your objectives in an exciting way and instill these values into employees. These methods alone won’t stop unionization, but they could result in happier, more engaged, productive employees who are conscious of your company’s ethos.
In the past, monitoring the reputation of your company was more of a word-of-mouth process. In addition, you could look at your BBB rating, scan the newspapers, and, more recently, run a Google search for the company name. However, none of these actions can give you an accurate picture of how the public and other business owners perceive your company. You need to actively use technology to keep an eye on your business’s reputation. Here are three simple but highly effective strategies you can implement today.
Subscribing to an RSS (Rich Site Summary), rather than checking individual websites on your own can save you hours of investigation. First, you will need to choose an RSS Reader such as Newsgator, Amphetadesk and My Yahoo. Then, when you visit a favorite Web page, you can choose the RSS icon. In the future, the site’s content will be delivered to your reader automatically, saving you time and serving as a constant reminder to read pertinent articles about your company.
Setting up Google alerts for your company is another simple and effective way to monitor your company’s online presence. Google will send you an email each time the keywords you choose show up in Google content. For instance, you can simply put a name in quotation marks (“Your Business”) and that exact phrase will trigger a Google alert. However, you need to do more than set a Google alert for the company name. You should also set Google alerts for the names of your company’s leaders, top customers, and any products you manufacture.
Unfortunately, websites are hacked daily. Google Alerts can help you guard against unpleasant public fallout if you set certain keywords. You can set up a string of words like “sex” followed by your website name. If improper content shows up on the site, you will be instantly alerted and can take steps to correct the situation.
Glassdoor.com is a website that promotes transparency in the workplace. Employees, current and potential, can sign up for the website to look for jobs, find proper salary ranges, and check employer reviews. If you want to recruit the best employees, staying abreast of your company’s reviews is particularly important.
Employers need to know how their employees perceive them and to take corrective action if company morale is low. You are unlikely to get the full truth by interviewing your own staff, but employees will be blunt when they can voice their opinions anonymously. Remember to check Glassdoor once a week and keep an open mind about what you find there. Truthful feedback is the best way to cultivate positive employee relations.
When you are union-free, staying abreast of your employees’ feelings is crucial. If you want to be UnionProof, your company must provide a healthy, happy workplace with high employee satisfaction. In addition, you must be fully aware of public perception of your company to stay competitive. Monitoring your company’s online reputation protects the business and employees by enabling you to adjust your practices and do damage control by advancing good press relations.
Your human resources department can save the company much grief by being alert to the online content out there, both positive and negative. These simple actions can give you the information you need to protect your company’s online presence and stay ahead of both competitors and union organizers.
For a little more than a decade, Human Resources and Employee & Labor Relations departments across the country have been on a mission to figure out how to connect with employees on social media — and it’s proven to be a very difficult task. Employees sometimes aren’t as open to corporate communications on Facebook and Twitter. Even on LinkedIn, reaching employees can be challenging, and sometimes even fruitless. Nevertheless, employee engagement is key to union avoidance, as well as a healthy and happy workplace culture.
Luckily, there are other more powerful ways to connect with employees that don’t involve social media and can help with limiting vulnerability to union organizing. Here are a few innovative ways to engage employees and foster meaningful connections.
Online video is quickly becoming the most popular and most consumed form of media. It’s even been estimated that video traffic will account for 82 percent of internet traffic by 2020. And it’s easy to see why — video is both incredibly popular and highly affordable. Plus, the possibilities with video content are endless. Host a live Q&A session, create a mini-series of training videos or share interviews with executive leadership to keep employees tuned in and motivation turned up.
With plenty of free services like Survey Gizmo, Google Forms and Survey Monkey, it’s never been easier to create employee surveys and analyze the feedback. This can be a powerful tool when you’re looking to craft positive relationships with your employees. Keeping a pulse on how your employees feel about your workplace can help you overcome culture challenges and anticipate potential problems. But be aware of anonymous feedback when giving surveys, as they could encourage unproductive conversations and skew the facts.
Sometimes the best way to create positive employee relations is to unplug. Walking through the office to chat with employees a couple times a week is the most simple yet most powerful way to connect. Personal, face-to-face interactions remind employees that you’re a resource to them and create a bond that can’t be made over SnapChat. Taking five minutes to check in once in awhile might be just what your employees need to feel supported and connected to your company. Plus, you’ll be able to gauge the energy in the room, something digital platforms can’t measure.
Ask managers and supervisors to take the same online training classes so they’re reviewing identical material at the same time. The process of learning collaboratively will give them an opportunity to connect among themselves, online and off. Follow up a week of training with a group discussion to reinforce the lessons. It will reinforce your company’s values of continual learning, foster a culture that supports growth and remind your teams that you care about their professional development.
After the end-of-the-year seasonal parties, employees are usually feeling connected and energized, having just made new memories together. This is why you shouldn’t limit the fun to just once a year. Host quarterly or bi-annual parties that bring people together to do nothing but have fun and bond as a team. The relationships developed over a hamburger at a cookout in the summer will translate to stronger relationships in the office. And stronger relationships in the office will translate to happier, more motivated and more fulfilled employees.
Make your company an employer of choice by driving meaningful connections in person, not just on social media. When you’re looking to improve your employee engagement practices, remember that there are plenty of innovative ways to connect offline as well as on. However, one size does not fit all. What works best for one company might not work at another, so it’s important to find the most effective methods of reaching your employees. Try one, two or all five of these tips to see which work best for you, your team and your culture.