HR managers have had to pivot from in-person models to flexible policies in a few short years. Before 2020, approximately 7% of Americans could work from home. Thanks to Covid-19 stay-at-home orders, this number skyrocketed overnight.
Remote working is no longer an emergency measure. Instead, it’s becoming the norm.
Reports state that 58% of Americans can now work remotely at least one day per week. An opportunity that most workers embrace.
Organizations can garner numerous benefits from transitioning to remote working models. But, managing remote workforces isn’t without challenges, especially for HR departments.
Fortunately, you can adopt some proven methods to meet the challenges of a WFH HR strategy.
Continue reading to learn more.
Create Strategies to Improve Internal Communication
Can you guess one of the drawbacks of a remote HR strategy? The potential for communication breakdown. Communicating over email, text, or phone is never the same as face-to-face interactions.
Body language, facial expression, and tone of voice are important communication factors. Factors that aren’t present in email, text, and chat formats. Without these cues, it’s easy for misunderstanding, conflict, and enmity to develop.
Communicating virtually can also increase the chance of “missed information.” Just because remote employees received an email doesn’t mean they read it. Important updates can easily get lost in flooded inboxes and tight schedules.
HR managers must establish communication policies that guard against these virtual communication pitfalls. These should include the following:
- What communication channels/tools to use when (and for what)
- Where employees can find things like announcements, events calendars, and schedules
- Communication expectations and rules
Communication policies should cover all the ways info gets shared inside the organization.
Once you’ve established a communication policy, ensure everyone is familiar with it. Create a communication guidelines handbook that each employee gets access to.
Managers and employees can refer to the handbook if issues arise around communication.
Focus On Fostering Collaboration and Unity
Another important tip for HR professionals is to foster unity and collaboration. This is essential in any organization. But it’s particularly critical for a remote-only HR strategy.
Without in-person interactions, it’s very easy for remote employees to feel cut off.
How team managers work with remote employees can make a big difference. But it’s also up to HR to develop ways to build connections between remote workers.
HR managers may need to double down on team-building activities. They also need to pave the way for remote employees to connect on a social level.
Some remote team-building ideas include:
- Virtual games (such as trivia, scrabble, and online scavenger hunts)
- Virtual events
- Fitness challenges
- Virtual book clubs
Besides organized activities, HR managers should encourage non-work-related exchanges between remote workers. For instance, does your organization use Slack or MS Teams? If so, make sure there is a channel for general chit-chat.
Ramp up Employee Engagement Strategies
According to reports, employee engagement has dropped for 30% of workers. It turns out remote working is not to blame for declining engagement. But this doesn’t mean HR professionals don’t need to take steps to engage WFHers.
Many employees are happier, more focused, and more engaged when working from home. Flexible arrangements are also a priority for a large percentage of workers.
However, remote workers may suffer from:
- Loneliness and feelings of isolation
- Distractions and background disturbances
- Not having the right space or equipment to get their work done
Some of the strategies HR managers can use to increase engagement include:
- Establish initiatives to improve health and wellness (such as challenges, fitness groups, etc.)
- Prioritize employee appreciation
- Recognition of achievements
- Gamified teamwork
- Opportunities for professional development
- Peer-to-peer feedback
Creating a positive company culture can also have far-reaching impacts on employee engagement. These strategies should make employees feel valued, informed, and part of a team.
Optimize the Onboarding Process
Without a comprehensive onboarding process, new employees may struggle to integrate. This is especially true for a remote-only HR strategy.
New employees might hesitate to collaborate without physically meeting their co-workers and managers and feel disconnected from the start.
HR managers need to ensure that remote onboarding processes are comprehensive. New employees may need multiple reminders to introduce themselves. As well as additional encouragement and more frequent check-ins.
Partner With a PEO to Handle Hiring and Local Compliance
One of the biggest challenges HR managers face with remote models is hiring.
Remote hiring can give organizations access to a broader talent pool. It can also allow them to expand operations across time zones.
However, a remote HR strategy also means hiring is usually done virtually.
HR professionals are often forced to use disparate job boards across the web. They may have to spend a large amount of time combing through applications. They may also have to conduct most interviews virtually.
Comparing qualifications and experience can also be challenging especially if candidates are based in different countries. Finally, HR managers may have to ensure compliance across jurisdictions and labour laws.
The most effective way to navigate these hurdles is to partner with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO). Professional Employer Organizations such as Bradford Jacobs can:
- Save HR departments time and resources
- Give access to the best talent
- Ensure legal compliance
- Provide comprehensive onboarding
- Handle payroll, benefits administration, and taxes on a local level
A PEO can also help organizations hire the best freelancers. As well as ensure they meet the legal criteria of independent contractors.
Giving HR Managers the Help They Need
HR managers have never had it easy, and remote working has added an extra challenge to their roles.
They’re also responsible for sourcing one of the most important things a company can have. Great talent.
The easiest way to support a remote HR strategy is to enlist the services of a PEO.
At Bradford Jacobs, we attract, engage, and onboard the best talent globally. We handle everything around local laws and administrative requirements, ensuring 100% compliance.
Organizations can enter any market through our services without opening a local entity or subsidiary.
Give your HR managers the support they need. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.