Remote workers are becoming more and more popular with organizations of all sizes, driving convenience, reduced travel time, and sometimes reduced costs for both the organization and the employee. At the same time, working in a remote location removes individuals from their organization, effectively separating them from daily contact with colleagues, a physical representation of the organization, and organizational culture. This can result in a significantly higher turnover rate as employees feel less loyal and less attached to their organizations, which will eventually result in higher costs for the organization.
Developing strong management skills geared towards remote worker retention will help you to circumvent this problem, while building stronger and therefore more productive teams. Because employee retention is often largely about culture, management strategy, and how individuals identify with and get along with their colleagues, you can take clear and defined steps to reduce remote worker churn.
Building Remote Organizational Culture
Most remote workers are at least partially disconnected from their organization and are therefore less able to participate or even recognize culture where and when it appears. Taking steps to create a defined and visible employee culture is crucial to boosting employee retention in mixed and remote offices. For example, you can take steps to define cultural values in ways that are clearly visible for everyone. You can also:
- Create shared digital meeting spaces or group video/voice meetings
- Create a high level of work and task visibility across the organization, extending to all remote workers
- Host real-world events and meet employees in person whenever possible
Any individual, even one working as part of a remote team, should know who they are working for and why, so it’s also important to define company strategy and vision and make it accessible and visible for all employees.
Share Work Processes and Knowledge
While creating shared organizational culture is an important step for building internal rapport and creating a shared sense of self, sharing work processes and knowledge is crucial to creating a strong team with a sense of shared work values. Digital platforms documenting work processes, sharing documentation and accountability, and allocating tasks and responsibility are one way to achieve this, but they should ideally be accompanied by a communication element or communication platform. For example, Slack functions well for allocating tasks and enabling communication, making it ideal for remote work, but it doesn’t include process management. Other tools like Asana integrate process management, but don’t function as well for online discussion and collaboration.
Mentorship & Training
Support and development opportunities are often missing from remote worker retention programs, but individual development and on-the-job-training are also important aspects of employee retention. Offering the same or similar opportunities to individuals working remotely as you would to those working in-office is important if you want those individuals to feel like they are part of teams and valued to the same level. While it can be difficult to provide the same face-to-face mentorship programs as are naturally created in many offices, you can develop adjacent programs including video coaching, digital learning programs, and physical classes where individuals located near enough to travel can be invited to training courses and programs.
Reducing remote worker churn is often about treating remote workers in the same way you would treat individuals in-office, including offering opportunities, sharing information and feedback, and creating transparency in organizational operation and management. If individuals feel as though they are part of decisions and can see why and how work is being completed, they will be more likely to invest in the company and truly commit to organizational goals and outcomes.