March 6, 2021 5 min read
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The Human Resources reality regarding what offices will look like, once the vaccinations really kick in, has given every company pause.
In this new environment, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution and staying connected to your team is more important than ever.
According to research from Boston Consulting Group, companies anticipate that approximately 40 percent of employees will be remote in the future. Additionally, 37 percent of businesses expect that more than 25 percent of their employees will use a hybrid model consisting of both in-person and remote work.
It is crucial to ensure new employees feel included, whether they are working remotely, or from the office. Behold a trio of tips ways to agilely adapt existing HR strategies in a wildly evolving workplace landscape.
1. Check your tech
Per Paychex research, 83 percent of HR leaders say that technology has improved the overall employee experience and 79 percent say that it enables employees to be more efficient. These tools can range from self-service tools to communication and collaborative platforms. Tools such as those for completing paperwork using e-signature features, are a simple solution for new hires who are onboarding remotely. When hiring an employee who may not interact in-person with colleagues, an engaging onboarding process is more important than ever.
Particularly as modern expectations for a remote and digital user experience mount, self-service technology has become table-stakes. New employees expect a digital, mobile and streamlined experience throughout the employee lifecycle. HR processes should mirror the user-friendly digital experience employees have come to expect, while driving efficiency for the business.
In a remote world, it’s important to ensure that workers are aware of every benefit and offering available to them. This can include trainings through a learning management solution, a student loan assistance program, employee assistance programs (EAP), financial counseling, career development programs and more, all of which could be crucial during this difficult time. Technology can also help facilitate important processes for employers that might have typically been handled in person at the office. For example: Review paystubs online, ensure W-2 forms are sent to the appropriate home addresses and verify social security numbers for tax purposes.
2. Take a hard look at work-from-home policies
Offering your team the option to work from home, either partly or full-time, can boost motivation. This flexibility can prove to an employee that they are valued, resulting in increased retention overall. Workers will remember how their managers treated them through the pandemic. If they feel their employer demonstrated trust by giving them the flexibility to complete their work in a way that worked best for them under incredibly unique circumstances? Chances are they’ll be more loyal in the long-term.
Without limitations on location, businesses can look to extend their reach to attract and hire top talent, focusing on skill sets rather than the boundaries of a physical office or even state. This helps small businesses compete by hiring top talent which could improve their bottom line. The most innovative, creative and proactive leaders will likely be the ones that yield the greatest success during this unprecedented time.
3. Attentive employee communications
Previously, manager and employee connection points may have occurred more organically with team members easily being able to collaborate in person. In a remote workforce, more effort is required and managers may find themselves extending their employee touch points outside of “regular” hours to demonstrate flexibility and accessibility. While many may be enjoying working from home, others may be feeling overwhelmed and frustrated as their daytime responsibilities have now expanded to managing the household.
A virtual work environment may also leave some employees feeling distant from their peers, and the pressure of balancing home with work has proven difficult for many. These check-ins should consist of conversations beyond office-related topics to not only understand if an employee’s workload is too intense, but to also gain insight into his or her general wellbeing. Regular conversations can boost morale by providing them with knowledge their managers care about them as people and not just as faceless cylinders in an engine.
Furthermore, workload may lead to employee burn out. It’s important that managers communicate to their employees that taking time off is essential, even when travel may not be possible.
Businesses should ensure there are clear guidelines around leave management. Throughout the pandemic, employees may have to take leave due to their family members falling ill, childcare needs or their own health concerns. Companies should understand their obligations under the federal laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Businesses should also understand their obligations, if any, under state and local laws related to leave.