The remote workforce is growing every year between the gig economy, abundant freelance talent, and more companies adopting work-from-anywhere policies. In fact, Gallup found that 43% of U.S. employees work remotely at least part of the time. While workplace flexibility is a great selling point for recruiters, it presents a challenge for executives: How do you engage workers that are spread across the city, country, or globe?
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Even companies that have a great workplace culture can struggle to extend that culture to other time zones. It’s often equally challenging for remote employees who want to be part of the team but are missing out on those daily face-to-face interactions.
The good news is that there’s an abundance of technology that can shrink the distance, streamline communication, and align remote employees with the company vision.
Here are some tips on leveraging tech in HR to connect a remote workforce.
The easiest way to get remote workers into the fold is to utilize chat apps like Slack. Create team or project-specific channels to allow employees to communicate instantly, ask questions, and get to know each other. Non-work-related channels are also great for team bonding—provide a forum for people to discuss shared interests, sports team, etc. Both in-house and remote employees will be grateful to minimize emails and phone calls.
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Meeting rooms should be equipped with video conferencing equipment to encourage collaboration with remote employees. Or everyone can join a Google Hangout or Skype group video chat from their own computers. Virtual reality software is even being developed to allow teams to enter immersive virtual meeting rooms. Yes, the future is here.
One advantage of video conferencing over traditional conference calls? They cut down on distractions and help everyone stay focused.
Managers should make a concerted effort to provide just as much feedback to remote workers as they do to in-house employees. This not only highlights that their work is seen and appreciated, but also shows that the company is invested in their future. Real-time feedback software allows peers and managers to share constructive feedback and send public shoutouts to recognize great work.
SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Guide to Real-Time Feedback
Project and Goal Management
Project management tools and goal management software foster a culture of growth and accountability. These platforms offer an easy way for the team to provide updates, track projects step-by-step, work on shared documents, and ensure that all deadlines are being met. Goal management software allows you to publicly share individual and team goals and track progress.
Managers should also clearly articulate the company’s overall objectives and help remote employees’ set goals that tie into that larger vision. This gives the work a deeper sense of purpose and aligns employees all over the globe under one common mission.
Check-Ins and Performance
In addition to holding annual performance reviews or performance check-ins, leaders should frequently do one-on-ones with remote employees. One-on-ones encourage stronger working relationships between management and employees, which is especially important when they can’t engage face-to-face in the office. These conversations offer an opportunity for coaching, development, and problem-solving, and reassures remote employees that they have support resources.