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Time for an Employee Obsession Strategy: Getting EX Right for Remote Workers

October 23, 2020 Employee Experience
Kaya Ismail
By Kaya Ismail

While remote work has become the new normal in 2020, for many executives and business owners the remote employee experience remains a challenge. In fact, for many companies, employee experience, especially when it comes to remote work, simply is what it is. There is often little strategy to move the experience forward, measure success or gauge employee morale. 

This should worry more business leaders. The recent PwC Remote Work Survey showed that 83% of office workers want to work from home at least one day a week and 55% of executives anticipate that most of their workers will do so after COVID-19 fades.

With remote workplaces growing, now is the time to formulate a documented and data-driven employee obsession strategy just as you would for external customers.

Is Outstanding Remote Employee Experience Possible?

For many companies and C-suite executives, there is a disconnect between remote work and in-office work. Many employers struggle to find a way to replicate the in-office experience in a remote setting. It starts with the basics: show that you care.

"To ensure good remote employee experiences, businesses must relay to employees that they care for them and want what is in their best interest," said Ottomatias Peura, chief marketing officer at Helsinki, Finland-based Speechly.

Community and culture are what matters to many employees and focusing on them is a big part of their success. "The key to doing this effectively is to use online tools that help employees communicate effectively and build community with one another," he said.

Another way to improve remote employee experience is to listen. "Listening to the voices of your employees will allow you to see the weak spots and then prevent large-scale disasters from happening," said Israel Gaudette, founder at Quebec, Canada-based Link Tracker Pro. "You can let their voices be heard by conducting surveys and getting feedback. It will enhance their trust in management and make them focus on their work."

"Also, when you listen to the voice of your employees, you're also building an outstanding work culture. And if these two things work side-by-side, an engaged employee is your takeaway," he said.

Related Article: Building a New Model for Remote Work 

Onboarding Sets Up a Stellar Employee Experience

Good employee experience goes beyond setting up ping-pong tables and having a relaxed work environment. It requires thinking beyond the office space and building a process that ensures that workers feel comfortable and capable of working to their full potential. 

Having a process in place is what really makes or breaks the employee experience, said Jennifer Farris, chief HR officer at San Francisco, Calif.-based Terminal, a provider of software to manage remote engineering teams. Onboarding is one place where a process is particularly important for remote workers. That being said, it's also crucial not to confuse onboarding with basic orientation. Onboarding usually lasts longer and implies devising a strategy to help workers assimilate company policies, workflows and company culture.

Another important aspect of ensuring the best experience right from the start is to manage expectations. Empathy is necessary when it comes to those conversations. "Most expectations about 2020 have gone out the window, and being upfront with employees about that brings managers closer to employees and enhances the broader experience," Farris said.

Tips to Refine Remote Employee Experience

It's possible to have an outstanding employee experience in a remote setting. Listening to employees' needs and trying to match their expectations with business goals makes a positive experience more likely. 

But it's not possible to meet all employee needs so choose those that are expected by a majority. Whether it's in person or remote, do things to make employees' lives better. Here are some tips:

  • Manage expectations from day one.
  • Foster an environment of openness where workers feel comfortable approaching managers.
  • Invest in video conferencing and collaboration tools.
  • Get a dedicated coach to help during the first few weeks on the job.

Building a great remote employee experience requires a bit of extra thought, but it's not that different from building a great experience in the office. It comes down to making sure workers know what they need to do, have the tools to do the job, get recognized for their achievements and feel supported by both the executives and the company. 

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