A few days ago, a number of us began a discussion on Twitter. I am delighted and excited about engaging in this ideafest with @RitaCJackson , VP and Team Lead of Sales for HRmarketer and @JenniferBrogee, Chief Information Officer for myStaffingPro . We all agreed to have duelling blogs today so here is my first one. First of all, the discussion began about a piece in World At Work. The article pointed out that there has been a decrease of 7.5 million teleworkers since 2008. The challenge posed was what can employers do to engage remote workers. It is a tough challenge but one that is critical organizations want to grow and thrive. Even at 26.2 million teleworkers, that comprises 20% of the adult working population so you can see how significant that is. Here are a couple of my thoughts on this to get this discussion started.
1. Bring your technology up to speed. It doesn't need to be too sophisticated or even that expensive. Today, You Tube, on line meetings, Skype, etc. Go beyond the telephone conference calls. Obviously, the key is easy and continuous access to the Internet.
2. Bring your staff up to speed. They have to feel comfortable with the technology so that it is second nature to them like the telephone was for the old folks like me.
3. Create a quality and easy to use intranet. Make it attractive and user friendly. Easy navigation is important as is making sure it is consistent with your brand. In fact, this will have a secondary benefit in that it will familiarize all your employees with your brand.
4. When you have your technology at a working level, you need to COMMUNICATE, consistently and often. This is no different than in the "pre-internet" days. Transparency is critical. Once people know that this is an important way to communicate, leadership needs to use it to let people know what is going on in the organization.
5. Most importantly though is the COMMITTMENT to interactive communications. This is not your grandparents' communication strategy where the founder would give a speech or drop a newsletter to employees informing them of what is going on. The organization must have a strategy of interacting with employees so when they see something and respond, they get a response back. Treat it as if it were a virtual office where they can virtually knock on your door and have a conversation.
Obviously what I have laid out is a perfect world creation. Don't give up. It is okay to begin small and grow into it. The only thing you need to do is develop a short and long term strategy and a gradual plan for evolving into it. AND stay with it. Don't make it the "flavor of the month" which dies when things get rough.
Good luck and remember this is the future.
Labels: employee engagement, people management, remote workers