Human Resources Archives - TAB Corporate

How to Manage Your Mobile Workforce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The American workforce is changing the nature of “work” as we once knew it. The days when employees absolutely had to work at a desk, in an office, are long gone. While many businesses still insist on keeping their workforce on-site, more than 30 percent of Americans work remotely during some or most of the work-week.

It’s time for more companies to recognize that advances in technology have made it possible for employees to do their jobs—for the most part—anywhere in the world. These digital improvements are now at a point, notes Biz Tech, where “geography is—or, at least, can be—a nearly irrelevant factor in an employee’s work experience and productivity.”

This has also altered job-seekers’ expectations of flexibility in their employer’s approach as to how work gets done. Companies that fail to account for this shift in attitude may find it more difficult to recruit—and then adequately manage—their budding remote workforce.

Here are tips for managing your off-site, mobile team:

Understand what makes them tick. The most successful remote workers consider themselves self-starters. They have a clear idea of their job responsibilities, what’s expected of them, how they will get their tasks completed, and so on. They also expect to be given the most sophisticated tools and resources needed to meet their job responsibilities. Perhaps just as importantly, they want to feel good about the company they work for.

By getting to know these individuals and grasping their underlying motivations, “you’ll find that it is very easy to extract the best performance possible.”

Focus on communications. The most effective way to keep remote workers engaged is through focusing on consistent, high-quality communications.  Establish a schedule that works for all involved but emphasizes ongoing contact (once or twice a week for updates, twice a month for in-depth reports, etc.).

Digital portals enable both the worker and his or her manager to see at a glance where projects stand, approaching deadlines and other pertinent information. Leverage such technology to ensure that key responsibilities are being met, but also to determine if off-site hurdles are preventing completion of tasks.

Be available. Let your mobile workers understand that you’re available to talk to (by whatever medium) at a short notice. And when you do speak with these individuals, give them your full attention. Treating them as less-than-full members of the team can negatively impact their motivation and ultimate performance. With today’s technology, you can always have a genuine interaction with your off-site staff.

Offer incentives just as you would with your onsite team. Remote workers respond just as favorably to rewards and other incentives as your in-house employees. Whether it’s formal recognition for a job well done—which also alerts everyone in the company of the high value you place on your mobile team—or providing gift certificates or other rewards, your remote workers will greatly appreciate that you took the time and effort to recognize their contributions.

Provide opportunities for professional development. If you currently provide tuition or otherwise sponsor professional development courses for your onsite workforce, there’s no reason to deny these opportunities to remote workers. They’ll benefit just as much from the chance to hone their skills and broaden the range of their expertise—and your business will benefit, too. Offering such opportunities keeps these people engaged with your business and less likely to turn elsewhere for employment.

Remote workers are increasingly becoming an essential facet of today’s workforce. To get the most from them, it’s important to manage their work with sensitivity and respect, while also ensuring they have what they need to achieve maximum productivity. Your business will be more successful as a result.

To learn more about fully engaging your workforce, we invite you to register for this free TAB webinar, “Grooming Engaged, Entrepreneurial Employees.”

 

Is it Time to Update Your Sexual Harassment Policy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revelations of sexual misconduct in the worlds of culture and business, as well as the rise of the #MeToo movement, should serve as a clear warning to CEOs and business owners. In today’s hypersensitive environment, business leaders ignore signs of workplace harassment (or worse) at their peril. A company without a viable, enforceable sexual harassment policy leaves itself open to beleaguered employees leaving a hostile work environment in droves and brings, at its worst, a bevy of costly lawsuits and threats of personal liability.

For these reasons—and to mitigate risk and the effect of brand-damaging news coverage—it’s essential to re-examine your company’s sexual harassment policy and update it as needed. Here are key steps to consider:

Ensure the policy is clearly defined. Many people cling to the misguided belief that “I know sexual harassment when I see it.” Unfortunately, that approach is too vague and subjective to have any value. The key to effective harassment prevention is ensuring that everyone throughout the organization understands specifically what constitutes sexual harassment, the consequences for taking part in unacceptable workplace conduct, the ways in which incidents of harassment can be reported and what will happen next.

Removing all ambiguity from your policies is among the most important elements of a formal anti-harassment program.

Don’t disregard or procrastinate on reports of harassment. As disagreeable as this behavior is, business owners and CEOs should never disregard reports that come to their attention. As writer Eric Rosenberg warns us, if you “ignore sexual harassment, you are sitting on a ticking time bomb.” It’s impossible to predict “when a claim may arise that could take down your business.” Updating and enforcing a viable policy can help prevent this dire outcome.

Anticipate likely situations in your workplace. Business settings differ widely, as do the ways in which employees interact with each other (and with their supervisors). Overt sexual harassment is generally easy to spot, but more subtle misconduct may occur in ways that are specific to a certain type of culture and workplace. Take time to anticipate scenarios involving harassment that might take place in your business. Imagining such circumstances can then lead to updates in policy that reflect a changing workforce culture.

Have your policy reviewed by a legal expert. As thorough as your policy might be, you must be sure it complies with all relevant local, state and federal statutes. The best strategy is to engage the services of an attorney experienced in this area, who can review the document and confirm that it’s both appropriate for your workplace and complies with the law.

 Implement training schedules for all employees. Different states impose different types of regulations governing conduct in the workplace. Regardless of what’s legally mandated, ongoing training about how to avoid sexual harassment, and to identify and report incidents when they occur, should be required of your entire workforce. Knowledge and awareness are powerful resources in the effort to eliminate all workplace misconduct at your place of business.

Finally, do your best to lead from the top. Acknowledge at company meetings that company policies include zero tolerance for any form of sexual harassment. “Make gender equity a part of your daily conversation,” advises organizational culture design expert Jessica Higgins. “Be sure it’s not only stated, but that it filters through meetings and informal interactions.”

Employees will follow your lead. It’s up to you to show the way.

 

Learn more about creating a safe workplace environment and leveraging your employees’ talents for strategic growth. Consider joining a peer board made up of local business owners like you.