The pandemic forced most companies into a remote working set up, leaving HR managers shaken and disorganized. Managing productivity, work quantity and quality, and employee welfare became chaotic and distressful.
The challenges of remote work includes detachment, disengagement, dissatisfaction, and higher attrition rates among many. Working remotely also reduces personal communication and collaboration between employees, teams, and management, making team development and trust building even more difficult.
Zoom, Google Meet and other video conferencing and project management tools have eased the pain of remote work to a certain extent but they were not sufficient to overcome all obstacles to successful HR management.
In this article we will discuss 10 most common HR challenges faced by remote organizations and ways to overcome them.
1. Employee engagement
During the remote working phase, most HR managers found it tedious to keep employees engaged. Measuring employee engagement became even more challenging without physical presence. Lack of work-from-home infrastructure, background disturbances, and feeling of isolation are the primary drivers of drop in engagement. However, with the right materials, leadership support, and technology 78% of remote employees reported higher engagement levels.
2. Communication & Collaboration
Poor communication or one-sided communication is a critical HR challenge that needs immediate attention as it often results in negativity, lack of trust, low morale, and workplace frustrations. Communication issues go far beyond internet connectivity and technical problems. It also includes lack of transparency between management and employees, lack of clarity about goals and performance, and not receiving feedback on time. Giving space and tools to employees for facilitating collaboration between them can double employee engagement. Try out these 27 team building activities while working virtually to help employees collaborate effectively.
3. Aligning goals across departments and teams
Aligning the team towards departmental and organizational goals is one of the challenges faced by remote teams. Companies must set clear goals for growth by defining strategic policies, guidelines, performance measurement systems, KPIs, and procedures to align employees with the company’s goals.
4. Tracking productivity
Due to the chaotic and disoriented remote working scenario tracking employee productivity. Using tracking tools may hurt employee morale. While not monitoring productivity may lead to underutilizing available bandwidth. On the other hand, assigning work incessantly without understanding their workload may lead to employee burnout.
5. Finding work-life balance
Working from home blurred the line between work and personal life. Most employees tend to overwork compared to their in-office colleagues. Thus, making it more difficult to unplug from work when it’s time which over time reduces productivity and engagement.
6. Building & maintaining company culture
Although remote working tools and software platforms made working virtually possible, most companies struggled to transition their workplace culture. In the absence of distinguishable company culture, employees feel disconnected and low morale.
7. Employee onboarding
The quality of employee onboarding sets the tone for employee experience. In the absence of physical meetings, new joinees often don’t feel connected with the organization or hesitate to collaborate with colleagues. Weekly all hands, frequent check-ins, clear communication about roles, responsibilities, performance expectations helps in easing out initial isolation.
8. Employee recognition and visibility
Without physical events and office atmosphere, remote working companies and start-ups find it difficult to organize effective employee recognition programs to boost morale and increase engagement. Maintaining a positive and supportive work culture for the remote workforce is one of the key HR challenges during Covid. It can only be achieved by creating recognition programs and unconditional support
9. Manager accessibility
Employee dissatisfaction and attrition rate increase exponentially when employees feel their managers are not accessible and involved. Educate your managers to conduct frequent 1:1s and provide enough time to the employee. It is essential for creating bonding and consistency. Managers can discuss with the employees on their requirements, exhibit empathy and care, respond to the questions and clarifications, and recognize them on time.
10. Micromanagement during remote working.
One of the most prominent challenges of the remote workforce is micromanaging. When uncertainties and productivity-related issues arise, managers tend to micromanage. Though it is essential to keep track of productivity, quantity, and quality of work, checking on the employees at every minute will cause adverse effects. If not eliminated, micromanagement may lead to high attrition rates, employee dissatisfaction, and employee turnover.
11. Human errors
Another challenge faced by HRM is tackling human errors. When it comes to remote working, not providing the right technological support and tools to get the work done will hinder productivity and growth. Everyone is prone to error, especially when working from a remote place without direct supervision and guidance. Organizations must establish effective means to eliminate common errors and provide adequate support and technologies for the employees to perform better.
12. Finding the right tools and technology
When it comes to monitoring workforce productivity, communicating effectively, providing real-time support, and delivering regular learning platforms to engage employees, HR managers need to identify and source the right technology and tools. Implementing the right technology will leverage effective means to enhance the performance of start-ups and fast-growing companies. Zoom, Slack, social media platforms, and other collaboration tools are just some of the basic technologies to get the work done. But if you need a digital version of your existing workplace culture and processes, you must find a customized tool that helps you streamline your business processes even while you work remotely.