In this blog, we discuss six ideas that companies can use to retain their HomeAgent talent:
- Operate a total virtual-working model: Your approach to management, business processes and use of technology all needs to be designed with the virtual environment in mind in order to give homeworkers the most motivational and effective working environment. Be mindful to check equality across similar office-based roles (if applicable) in areas such as job role, salary, benefits etc. By planning for virtual teams and putting yourself in the shoes of your homeworkers you will deliver a cohesive working environment that ‘joins’ with your more traditional office-based operations and ensures your virtual team feel, and are, part of the business as a whole.
- Recruit the right people into the right roles – and be inclusive: This includes creating jobs for talented and experienced individuals who cannot, for whatever reason, commit to a regular 9-5 office job – such as people caring for family members, individuals with a disability etc. Homeworking is all about identifying the experience, skills and competencies your business needs, and enabling that talent to work for you regardless of their location and time constraints. Recruiting in this way is a win-win for both the virtual worker and your business brand.
- Promote teamwork and a sense of community amongst homeworkers: Make communications easy, for example, by enabling colleagues to provide immediate peer support (such as via a forum, or via instant messaging). Also keep people informed – for example via an internal newsletter. Create a sense of community even if there is little face-to-face contact. Allow a little sense of fun! Never forget, homeworking is an individual on their own delivering your business work needs in a very focused way. Why not allow the community to develop their own approach to supporting peers by creating a sense of community where members look out for each other, support each other, and together work in teams that deliver for your business.
- Create a better work-life-balance for employees: By giving agents the chance to determine their own working hours around their other daily commitments demonstrates you understand the ‘give and take’ of virtual teams. Your virtual team can act as an immediately available ‘standby’ team to support unforeseen customer contact needs as they have no travel delays to reach the office. This gives organisations a flexible resource to meet peak demands, while optimising utilisation, performance and adherence to targets. Homeworking should be seen as the cornerstone of your businesses disaster recovery and business continuity requirements – particularly for customer contact.
5 Use both virtual and classroom techniques to deliver training excellence: Everyone has a preferential learning style. By delivering online you can create a style of training that meets these requirements. This also addresses the different nature of people – those who like to participate, and those who like to quietly work and seek support on a more intimate 1:1 basis. Using virtual training platforms provides for all of these outcomes. It is important to homeworkers who are working flexibly, that they can complete their training in a flexible way too. An online delivery enables them to achieve this and support self-scheduling of training and knowledge growth. This then creates your open door for continual learning.
- Give homeworkers the same opportunities as all other workers: Ensure homeworkers aren’t overlooked for opportunities open to office-based workers and company progression. Your business policy and procedures need to be reviewed to ensure that provision is made for access to updates, information and opportunities by remote workers as if they were office-based.