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How Can HR Managers Help Integrate Remote Employees with Culture?Leadership Management People Development Productivity Resource RETAIN April 21, 2017
Despite their physical absence, basically there is not much difference between in-house and remote employees. Working together to achieve the same goals and objectives, both types of employees should follow the same rules of conduct. However, due to limitations of space and distance, oftentimes remote employees cannot adjust with the company culture in the same manner as onsite workers. So, how can you help integrate them with your workplace culture?
Advancement of technology has revolutionised the way people conduct business. Thanks to the sophisticated technology, now employees can work remotely from various places around the world. This not allows flexibility to employees to work from anywhere they want, but remote working also helps find talent that cannot be found in local areas.
Additionally, copious studies reveal that remote working brings with it, many noteworthy positive aspects to it – such as increasing productivity, driving efficiency, improving morale, reducing turnover, to decreasing real estate costs and parking reimbursements.
Owing to these privileges, it comes across as no-surprise that the option to work remotely, is one of the most popular flexibility perks offered by companies. Nevertheless, you should bear in mind that not everyone or every business is suitable to work remote. The one crucial thing to pay attention is workplace culture, considering culture counts as a critical factor that affects your business operation.
Compared to in-house employees, remote employees might have greater tendency to detach themselves from the company’s culture. There are many reasons behind this disengagement, such as limited access to Internet or meet with the employers, rare opportunity to interact directly with co-workers, let alone join regular get-together after office hours.
Owing to these variables, it becomes crucial for HR managers to integrate remote employees into the company’s culture. When you are able to design and implement the right integration strategy, it will result in smooth and seamless collaboration between employees (both remote and in-office), managers, and customers.
Without proper assimilation, your remote employees will be going directionless. And if this issue is left unaddressed, it will lead to disengagement and voluntary turnover. Here are five best practices to keep your remote workforce connected to the workplace culture:
- Set clear expectations
Just like in-house employees, you need to provide onboarding program for remote employees as well. Right on the first day they join the team, you have to state expectations clearly. They need to know exactly what your organisation expects them to achieve. It means that you have to explain about their job roles, responsibilities, and goals. Make sure they understand the company’s SOP (standard operating procedures), basic do’s and don’ts, as well as policies related to telecommuting or working remotely.
Present yourself as a facilitator to bridge gaps created working remote, that acts as a barrier to effective collaboration in a team.
- Make them feel welcome
While it is true that physically remote employees will work alone, and as such it’s a must for remote workers to unite mentally. When you are bringing in new people to the board, you should make them feel welcome. Encourage other team members to embrace their virtual co-workers by sharing experiences and engaging in collaboration.
Give them understanding that remote employees also play a crucial role in growing the company, so they should be involved in the daily activities. In addition, make the remote employees feel integrated as a part of the company culture, you can take them on ‘a real-time tour’ around your office on a virtual cam. So, if they get a chance to visit the office in-person, they will feel at home.
- Use the right tools
Technology plays a vital role to make sure your remote workforce functions well. Therefore, companies must be willing to invest in updating their communication tools. The world moves at a rapid pace, where in conventional phone calls, text messaging, and emails are no longer enough to guarantee a suave communication.
Instead, you should upgrade by employing collaborative tools and software. By taking advantage of tools such as Slack for team discussion or Skype for video-call meetings, you can connect the workforce while establishing the bedrock of solid fellowship among team members.
- Foster a culture of recognition
Each employee would like to feel valued and appreciated for their contribution to the company. And remote employees are no exception. Although you cannot directly pat their back or shake their hands to show them gratitude for their achievements, you can initiate an online recognition program.
Create a forum wherein you can announce employees’ accomplishments openly, so other employees can leave comments and share their appreciation as well. This not only makes remote employees feel respected, but this strategy can be an effective tool to inspire and encourage other co-workers to work harder.
- Schedule in-person meeting
Nothing beats in-person meetings. Remote employees often miss out on the opportunity to socialise with their employers and colleagues. In order to bring them closer, when you are planning regular company events such as team-building or vacation, you should try to include remote members. Find out the best way, time, and place where team members can share the fun in person.
While you might have to go extra miles to integrate remote employees with company culture, fetching remote talents is a great alternative to find great candidates outside your area. The only key for successful remote employee retention is to set up the right management strategy and turn it into reality.
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