During the current pandemic, millions of employees were forced to work from home, instead of coming into the office every day — posing a challenging motivational issue for HR Management, especially in HR offsite or outsourced services scenarios. Research shows that motivation takes a dip in remote team members, even when supplemented by robust Employee benefits programs.
Aside from motivation and productivity, there can also be unexpected occupational health and safety policy issues — such as mental health problems — when team members work from home, but there are a number of effective steps you can take as an HR Manager to keep your team inspired, and enable them to feel appreciated when working remotely.
To help your teams adjust it can be helpful to treat the experience as an “HR Project” or any other project, setting goals, timelines, outputs, inputs, and resources. Here are some tips from the HR Management experts at Pivotal Solutions. Use these methods to help you manage a motivated and productive remote team, that go beyond compensation, group benefits and tangible rewards.
Track Your Achievements — HR Projects
Tracking achievements is key to keeping a positive mindset throughout the team, especially with offsite HR services or teams. Managing your remote teams as “HR Projects” When you celebrate the wins, no matter how big or small, it reminds everybody in the team how well they are doing, despite being forced to work remotely. Our research of remote workers indicates that daily track-and-feedback is the number one motivator, keeping the teams connected “as a team.” HR Management is above all about communication, feedback and effective, timely project management.
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Make The Work Challenging — HR Performance
If you want to keep your team motivated to get out of bed and sit in their homes working every day — remaining at least as motivated as they did in their offices — you need to make sure the work is interesting. Contrary to popular belief, our research and experience with remote workers indicate that teams working from home can be more — not less — motivated. The advantages of no stressful commute with a more informal and relaxed “work” environment can have significant performance upsides if you handle the process as an HR Project. This means, give them objectives, deadlines, the tools they need, and lots of communication, feedback, advice, and interactivity. If you do, not only will they not miss the office, they will likely perform extraordinarily.
Provide Positive Feedback — HR Reward
Feedback in any form is always essential to HR Managers, whether outsourced or remote or not. Positive feedback, however, is much more important during the adjusting times, when your team is learning to work remotely. One way to offset the “feeling of home” is to feedback regularly, ideally daily. Find something positive to say, but don’t hold back on any constructive feedback.
It goes without saying that when an employee does something well, make sure to provide positive feedback and thank them for their hard work. Recognizing their strong points and achievements will inspire them to continue the hard work. Inexperienced HR Managers, however, sometimes forget this basic fact when the employee isn’t in the office. Use tools that keep you connected both ways, and use them daily.
Ask and Answer Questions — HR Offsite Management
One of the key “over looks” to HR Managers not an expert in remote work is failure to encourage, and respond to, questions. There are no dumb questions. Make the team feel valued by answering as soon as you can. Also, often overlooked is the reverse. Think of questions you should ask to keep in touch meaningfully — without distracting them from their work. Ask your team questions regularly.
- How are they coping?
- Are they enjoying the work?
- Where are they with the project?
- Is there anything they are struggling with?
- What resources do they need?
- How can I help you with your deadline?
- And, don’t forget post-mortems — where can the team make improvements going forward?
There are literally hundreds of questions you could ask your team members — not just as a “make small talk” keep in touch method, but to actually stay up to date with how everybody is coping with working remotely and with their projects.
It’s also important to allow your team members to ask you questions. They may be wondering what is coming next in the company, or what the KPIs are looking like during the pandemic. Allow everybody time to ask questions, and answer them with as much detail as you can. The idea is that you are showing that you care about your employees and that they feel heard.
Communicate Regularly — HR Project Management
The heart of HR Project Management, even when focused on remote home workers, is regular communication and connection. It is also critical to staving off depression or mental health issues. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that Occupational Health and Safety are “on hold” during the pandemic. Working from home has its own issues and liabilities.
Since you likely will be unable to meet up in person during the pandemic, regular communication through weekly online meetings is helpful to keep everybody updated with what’s going on in the business. As an HR Manager, it’s critical to record all of this communication in a formal way, as an HR “Project” — so you have clear records.
Aside from the feel-good aspect, practically speaking, when you reach out to catch up with the team, you enable each person to perform, feel good, stay on track with project goals and objectives. As an HR Manager, it’s critical to have a good picture of what each team member is going for, what goals are met, what deadlines are missed, and how the team is coping.
Tip: Frequency and efficiency is the goal in communication. Five minutes per day is preferred to an hour once-a-week. Meetings can be unproductive if you don’t keep the momentum going. Above all, HR Managers need to encourage the team to continue working hard. In some cases, you may actually find productivity has increased over the “in-office” work scenarios.