Festive holiday parties, morning chats beside the Keurig machine, and grabbing lunch with colleagues at the local pizza joint. These are the types of perks employees typically admire about working in a corporate setting. In fact, one of the main contributors to a poor retention rate is a lack of company culture. In today's digitally-connected workplace, many organizations are offering employees the opportunity to work remotely, with some companies operating in a fully remote climate.
According to Gallup's State of the American Workplace study, nearly 50% of U.S. workers reported spending a portion of their work week working remotely. On a global scale, IWG found that 70% of professionals work remotely at least one day a week. Virtual employment not only allows companies to cast a wider net when searching for quality talent, but it helps reduce the overhead associated with accommodating on-site workers.
With culture being such a large proponent of a candidate's decision to work for a particular company, the question becomes: How do you maintain a close bond with your staff in this new digital era? With workers scattered across multiple regions of the U.S., this may seem like impossible feat. However, it is possible to attain. Here's how to maintain an attractive company culture when employing a remote workforce.
Organize Company Gatherings
Just because you staff remote workers, does not mean that you should disregard these individuals when organizing company events. Depending on how dispersed your workforce is, schedule an outing each month or once a quarter to bring employees together, so they have the opportunity to create some fun-filled memories. Organizing company gatherings will not only boost employee morale, but it'll help your organization strengthen brand equity and retention rates. Sharing these events on your company website and social media pages, and encouraging employees to share photos using a branded hashtag, will help foster a sense of community for your organization. These events will give employees a chance to strategize face-to-face, ask questions, and forge relationships with their coworkers. As an employer, you can use these occasions to inspire productivity and reignite motivation.
Enhance Accessibility For Employees
As a company leader, you need to remember that just because you can’t see all of your workers in front of you, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Remote workers and even part-timers can wind up feeling ostracized if they aren't acknowledged properly. It’s a good idea to keep an open line of communication with everyone, including your remote workers. Including them in your daily emails and scheduling meetings over mediums like Skype, is a good way to make each employee feel like a valued member of the team. Even apps like Slack are great for professional chat rooms where your team can share ideas and ask questions about workflow whenever necessary.
We spoke about using different applications to communicate with your employees, but now we should speak about how you choose to communicate with workers. When relying on written correspondence, it can be hard for team members to interpret your tone and build a strong connection with you. Make sure you are using video conferencing and phone calls in addition to emailing, and that you craft written messages in a manner that reads as welcoming and pleasant. Remember, these employees do not get to see you face to face on a daily basis and therefore could misconstrue your words.
We are slowly moving towards an era where office spaces are becoming increasingly obsolete. You no longer need a desktop computer to get work done; you can bring a laptop or even a tablet to a coffee shop to complete assignments and answer emails. But, what remote workers commonly cite as a downside, is the lack of feeling like they are truly integrated into company culture. By making your remote employees feel more connected with the team and business as a whole, you’ll see happier employees, better revenue, and higher retention.