January 15, 2022 by Andrea Rajic
Table of contents
These days, HR and People Ops teams have a lot on their mind. When their employees work from various locations, companies need to create an effective and sustainable workplace strategy to ensure positive outcomes.
So, what does it take for a company with a remote team to ensure employee satisfaction, and how do you provide a positive workplace experience in distributed teams? Let's find out.
Employee experience is everything workers encounter and experience in the organization, from applying for a job to their exit interview. Employee experience management covers different stages of the employee lifecycle and focuses on processes like onboarding, retention, and employee feedback.
On the other hand, workplace experience is a process of creating and implementing the best work environment for your employees. And though the two definitely overlap — and workplace experience contributes to a great employee experience - they are not quite the same.
For remote employees, the workplace is not actually a place. It’s a combination of processes, communication, and relationships that are sometimes happening in the same physical space. In the world of remote work, Workplace leaders need to focus on much more than a location to ensure their employees have a good overall experience.
The onboarding experience is where your workplace and employee experience strategy overlap. At the end of a (usually long and complex) hiring process, new hires are eager and excited to join their teams and start their new roles. And yet, most remote companies don’t go the extra mile to keep that excitement going.
Once you’ve turned top talent into your new employees, it’s your job to ensure no stone is unturned in making their first months on the job a success. That starts with providing all the information and tools they need on their employee journey. Think of things like an email address, work hardware and equipment, access to work apps and tools, your flexible work policy, and some company swag for their first day at work.
Creating and documenting a robust onboarding helps your remote employees find their way faster and start doing their job instead of focusing on processes. Studies show a good onboarding process helps reduce employee turnover and increase job satisfaction in new employees.
We’re the first ones to emphasize the importance of listening to employees, but it’s definitely not a one-way street. Employees with the best workplace experience scores don’t just listen, they engage in a conversation to understand employees’ needs.
And these conversations won't always be structured. It’s good (even essential) to do employee surveys, check-ins, and performance management sessions, but feedback on workplace experience won’t always come through these channels. For example, if a company requests employees to come back to the office full-time and then sees an uptick in people leaving their jobs — that means employees are talking, just not with words.
To prevent these kinds of messages being sent, borrow a book from your customer experience teams and double down on internal communication. Communicate your workplace initiatives clearly, gather feedback on how employees see their work environment and have leadership and HR department work together on giving people the best possible experience.
Studies show flexibility is still the #1 perk employees are asking for, yet remote work can make it difficult to feel a sense of belonging and connect with coworkers. But if you find a way to overcome that, you’ll be able to use flexibility as a lever for higher engagement.
Working on site doesn’t have to mean going into an office eight hours per day, five days a week. Companies can provide flexible workspaces for employees to meet and connect in their cities without mandating when they need to be there.
For employees, this means a chance to get together with teammates and create lasting relationships, while for Workplace teams, it means saving money on long-term office leases. And not just that - you can get usage, spending, and satisfaction data that lets you measure the success of your workplace strategy.
So you’re giving employees a place for meaningful work and connections; in return, you’re getting engaged employees and a better employee experience backed by metrics and data.
Employee wellness pays off, especially in remote teams. And by wellness programs, we don't mean ping pong tables, but perks and benefits employees actually need and use. Some of the benefits of high wellbeing are reduced absenteeism, healthcare savings, higher work-life balance, and better workplace culture.
At the end of the day, the better your employees feel, the better your profitability and business outcome. So start introducing home office stipends, childcare benefits, and mental health support - and track it with pulse surveys. Workplace and human resources experts will quickly determine which initiatives employees like the best (they will show in engagement surveys) and double down on them to increase employee satisfaction.
It may not sound like a big deal, but your tech and tools are the basic building block of your workplace, and if they don’t work well — your employees won’t either.
For remote workers, it’s essential to have a unified system of tools and apps and a clear (preferably documented) workflow for every department. It not only provides a good working environment but also saves the company from security and compliance issues when it comes to sensitive data.
A good mix of remote work tools has communication platforms like Slack, collaboration tools for whiteboarding, video conferencing apps, documentation tools, and project management — just to name a few. All of them together give your remote team members a positive employee experience and prevent hiccups in the core parts of their job and workplace.
Here’s another point where your workplace and employee experience strategies meet. For remote employees, company culture is an essential way to feel a sense of belonging to the company. And as they don’t work in the same office every day, they need to feel the culture of the company wherever they are.
For Workplace, People, and HR leaders, this means finding ways to exude and maintain company culture in ways that aren’t office-related. For example, if your culture values positive feedback, implement employee recognition programs. Celebrating milestones and acknowledging good work improves the work experience of all remote workers, whether they are at home or together.
Think about other core values of your organization and how you can translate them into the workplace experience of your remote team, regardless of their location.
Workplace experience isn’t a one-and-done project. You will need to iterate, reevaluate, and change constantly. A good way to think about employee satisfaction is to see it the same way you do customer satisfaction — as a journey.
Your workplace transformation will follow the changing needs of your remote workforce, so you’ll need to stay in tune with how, when, and where they want to work — and what you can do to provide them with the best workplace experience possible.
Steer the ship of your distributed workplace.
Tailor your modern work culture, empower employees, and help them stay engaged, all while staying in control of workspace usage and spending.