With many HR teams hiring employees remotely, many new employees never set foot in a physical office during the recruiting, onboarding, or working process. And it appears that this trend will continue.
According to a recent Gartner study, 75 percent of remote or hybrid knowledge workers have higher expectations for workplace flexibility – including working from home. But remember, that hybrid is now the expected baseline for most employees. If employees are forced to come back into the office full-time, employers will be looking at 39 percent turnover.
As employers redesign workflows, performance benchmarks, and organizational culture around hybrid and distributed workforces, HR professionals must also redesign new hire processes and employee communication strategies around these new ways of working.
Keep reading to learn about three ways HR professionals can overcome time zone challenges and different working environments while ensuring your new hybrid employees feel heard.
1. Overcome Time Zone Challenges
However, this doesn’t have to be the case. For example, if HR teams know how to best work with new employees in different time zones, a good employee communication strategy and employee engagement can all serve as a natural byproduct.
Here are some ways to overcome time zone challenges:
- Use workflow tools to help with time zone management, such as online communication or collaboration tools
- Embrace both synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (not in real-time) communication, keeping lines of communication open
- Set clear expectations for onboarding and the first few months of work
- Trust your team; don’t micromanage your new remote employees
- Continually ask for feedback on what’s working and what’s not working on time zone management
Another challenge that HR teams face with distributed workforces is embracing different working environments while focusing on improved employee experiences. For example, during a three-month check-in for your new employees, you may have some employees working from a physical location, some from a home office, some from the kitchen table, and some from a coffee shop.
2. Embrace Different Working Environments
So, how can your HR team ensure similar employee experiences with these different locations through an employee communication strategy? Early in new employees’ work journeys, HR professionals can create employee experiences that reinforce and bolster the company’s culture, according to Harvard Business Review. After all, HR is primarily responsible for setting the initial tone of an organization’s culture.
However, in doing so, HR teams must craft experiences with more than one location in mind. For example, free lunch on Friday is always a winner. But, what do you do for your remote employees? Perhaps let them expense lunch up to a specific amount or send out food delivery certificates. The goal is to make all employees feel included and valued, no matter their working location.
Here are some other ideas for embracing different working locations:
- Ensure that all employees have the technology they need to succeed
- Request feedback from new employees on their onboarding process
- Update rules and policies for remote or hybrid work
- Encourage all employees to have work-life balance, such as asking about fun non-work-related plans or ensuring they “close down” for the day, helping to avoid burnout
- Provide employee benefits that satisfy all workers
- Encourage virtual events, such as book clubs or happy hours
- Encourage new employees to participate in the hiring process
Another challenge with a distributed workforce is ensuring that your new employees are heard when they’re facing difficulties. Without in-person communication, it’s often difficult to know how your employees are faring.
3. Ensure Your New Employees Feel Heard
For example, because of the remote workplace, HR leaders may have difficulty detecting potential employee burnout, frustration, or depression. Additionally, HR teams may not know if employees are working too much, sacrificing work-life balance.
Like other distributed workforce issues, HR teams must develop an employee communication strategy tailored to remote and hybrid employees. For example, schedule short check-ins on new employees, making sure they’re settling in.
Suppose employees are hesitant about talking about struggles. In that case, you may want to implement an anonymous survey or suggestion box, giving employees the opportunity to express themselves without the anxiety of doing it over the phone or a video call.
Creating communication strategies that specifically address how your employees are doing – on-site and remotely – will keep your team informed, enabling you to extend a helping hand while empowering your employees to be their own best advocates.
This post was originally published on the Cangrade blog.