1. There has been a growth in the number of people working from home.
A new age of remote work is upon us in 2021. About 36.2 million Americans are expected to be working remotely by 2025, according to a poll done by Upwork. An 87 percent rise in pre-pandemic levels. According to a study directed by Global Workplace Analytics, approximately 25-30% of the workforce is expected to work from home regularly by the year 2021.
1.1 Where is the remote workforce located?
Professional services, financial, and technology firms employ the most people who work from home, despite the general trend toward flexible work schedules and remote work models. The proportion of persons who work from home is shown in the graph below by industry.
In industrialized countries, up to one-fourth of the workforce can work remotely, but the majority of the workforce cannot do so. Freelancers, often known as “Digital Nomads,” are increasingly used by companies to supplement their full-time employees who cannot work from home.
1.2 Understanding the remote workforce
Retention tactics for remote employees would be determined by their demographics, persona, and objectives.
Working for a firm with more than 100 workers, a typical telecommuter has a bachelor’s degree and makes $58,000 per year. About 75% of individuals who work from home make more than $65,000 a year, putting them in the top 80% of all employees, whether they work from home or in an office.
The remote worker is highly educated, loves interesting work, and wants health, work schedule flexibility, autonomy, and access to appropriate development opportunities.
2. Techniques for retaining a traditional vs. a remote workforce
In light of the increase in remote working trends, firms must rethink their personnel management processes to engage and retain this new sector of employees effectively.
Employee engagement approaches and retention models may differ depending on the kind of workforce you are dealing with. In order to retain and engage remote workers, organizations must develop on the trends indicated below and invest in digital platforms and technology.
2.1 Orientation and job clarification for new employees.
Disruption may lead to a loss of concentration for workers, who may not know where to put their efforts. It’s important to keep in mind what your personnel should be doing.
“Seeing how their job contributes to the company’s objectives is one of the top engagement factors for workers. Employees who are confident in the relevance of their work to the success of the company are less concerned about their employment security.”
The recruiting and onboarding process is just as important for a remote worker to be engaged as creating and conveying clear job responsibilities. In the first two weeks, implement a thorough pre-onboarding procedure and then conduct follow-up meetings to get feedback from new hires.
2.2 Teamwork and performance
2.2.1 Make use of feedback that is both positive and consistent.
Employees who work entirely from home are more than twice as likely to be subjected to constructive criticism, aiming to improve performance by pointing out mistakes in their time management skills. If you have staff working from home, you need to ensure that feedback is given transparently and based on facts. Performance management should not be based on worked hours but achieved results. Investing in technology to define and update goals and objectives connected to desired results and produce feedback on those goals is an option open to organizations. Throughout the year, managers have regular meetings with their staff to create trust and assist them in growing professionally. In other words, these kinds of tools aren’t intended to keep tabs on the whereabouts of personnel; instead, they’re meant to facilitate information sharing and training.
2.2.2 Build trust and focus on the result rather than the process.
According to a Gartner study, two-fifths of remote workers desire greater control over their job. (Gartner, cited) It’s time for managers to stop controlling their teams and start mentoring them to succeed. Employees may accomplish their job in the most convenient and efficient methods in distant areas, where many individuals juggle work and family responsibilities from the comfort of their own homes. Team meetings at 9 am may have to be canceled, or you may have to forego a long permission procedure. Employees who are given the freedom to accomplish projects in a manner that works best for them and the company will be more likely to stay on board.
2.2.3 Encourage social and emotional development among workers.
When coworkers don’t all work in the same physical location, it becomes more difficult to collaborate, create team connections, and integrate remote employees into the overall corporate culture. Survey results show that 40% of respondents do not feel connected to their coworkers when working remotely, and 26% of employees are isolated while working remotely. Identifying this anxiety and using technology and frequent connection might help remote employees feel less alone. The isolation of remote employees and the difficulties of cooperation may be alleviated by establishing virtual common spaces such as message boards or intranets where they can communicate informally, just as they would in an office setting. Regular on-site meetings will help to strengthen the digital communication platforms even further.
2.3 Recognition and rewards
A Gartner researcher says that workers’ desire to be acknowledged for their contributions rises by 30% during times of turmoil. (Gartner, cited)
What should additional behavior be encouraged via recognition in a remote working environment? For example, in a remote or hybrid workplace, companies may want to recognize employees for their innovative and creative work, as well as their commitment to health and safety, their ability to empathize with coworkers, their ability to stay on task, and their commitment to the company’s core values.
Creating and using digital channels to recognize workers is a must for organizations. Additional advantages include health and well-being sessions, work-from-home equipment, spa care packages, etc.; occasional deliveries such as flowers, customized thank you notes; special dining arrangements and delivery; gift cards, etc. While offering these perks, they must guarantee that the workers have adequate transparency and social recognition within their teams.
Managers must also strengthen their monitoring strategies and relationships with direct subordinates due to the lack of sight in a remote workplace. Using basic pulse surveys or output tracking, you may gather data and identify patterns. It is possible to acknowledge, praise, and celebrate team members’ successes by meeting with them electronically and asking what obstacles they have conquered or how their peers have helped them.
2.4 Learning and skill development
Learning and development initiatives have traditionally been seen as optional and, as a result, have been curtailed or even discontinued during economic downturns or other serious corporate issues. L&D, on the other hand, is receiving even more attention now that firms are considering long-term remote work situations. Employees who work remotely need to be engaged and supported in their professional growth, which is made possible in large part by the growing importance of knowledge work. Organizations should strive for maximal flexibility in learning tools and procedures in order to develop richer learning experiences for remote workers. On-demand, byte-sized learning information should be the goal instead of the more typical module-based training throughout 1-3 full-day sessions. Employee growth and motivation might be boosted further by including parts of peer-to-peer learning and incorporating real-world job applications into learning procedures.
2.5 Ensuring that the necessary infrastructure is in place
A hybrid workforce necessitates that firms guarantee that their workers have the required technology platforms to support remote working and collaboration. It’s critical to put money into the proper infrastructure and educate and motivate staff to make good use of it.
Even though virtual conversations aren’t flawless, you should still act professionally and show consideration for the people with whom you are communicating. Be aware that certain people may find it difficult and inconvenient to communicate virtually, and educate your staff on how and when to escalate less-than-ideal virtual encounters. A virtual meeting may be necessary to bring an issue to a close if it hasn’t been resolved after six emails.
2.6 Encourage new ideas
Managers and staff may become more risk-averse as organizations retreat under high levels of uncertainty. Kropp argues, “workers have a natural reticence to try anything new in times of uncertainty.” This is when innovation and taking risks become even more crucial to retaining employees and achieving company goals. Constraints on innovation and risk-taking have an especially negative impact on high-potential (HIPO) personnel, who have a greater yearning for these possibilities. Managers may stress the necessity and give chances for incremental innovation or process improvements even when new investments constrain the company. Allow for the sharing of achievements as well as the protection of failures. When one employee takes a risk and succeeds in enhancing productivity, only a few connections may build on that achievement because of the social distance. Ensure that any risks taken by workers are worth the effort by highlighting the importance of their work expanding.
To sum up, here are three things to keep in mind:
In order to keep its remote workers, organizations must plan. As a preliminary stage, it is important to identify the company’s personnel needs and how they relate to its overall business plan. The next step is to create an enabling environment that uses the latest technology and implements regulations tailored to the needs of today’s digital nomads and Flexi-commuters. Managing and maintaining remote workers is the responsibility of the team managers, who would play an important role in both pushing these procedures and managing and ultimately retaining the workforce. Finally, firms must keep in mind that not all employees work from home. The future of work is a hybrid one, and companies that want to keep their remote workers will have to make investments to keep their in-office workers motivated.