Contemporary entrepreneurs have always encountered a big dilemma: hiring remote workers or taking the traditional route by hiring office-based employees?
However, surprisingly enough, the current global health crises in the form of COVID-19 has made this decision a lot easier. Today, millions of people have no other option but to work from their secluded home offices. A good problem to have? Maybe!
Most experts envision the inevitable future of the workplace- where people have greater flexibility to work remotely with teammates from different parts of the world. However, as a leader, you need to ask yourself an important question. 'How happy are my employees working from home?'
In an age where 49% of millennials are likely to quit a job in just two years, maintaining a team of engaged remote employees can give you a competitive edge. To keep employees engaged, there is an out and out need to measure employee satisfaction consistently.
If you have remote employees, read on to find how your company can measure and maintain employee satisfaction during COVID-19 outbreak:
3 ways to maintain and measure employee satisfaction during covid-19
1. Hold Virtual Conversations
One way to measure employee satisfaction levels for remote workers is by holding one-on-one virtual conversations. Such conversations don't happen naturally, and regardless of the size of the team, these have to be scheduled.
The best way to ensure they happen is to schedule virtual meetings with individual employees. Most companies find it useful to have such conversations on a quarterly, monthly, or even weekly basis.
The key to finding out how satisfied your remote employees are with their work, and the company is to be clear about what you want to achieve with the conversations. Make the meeting open - don't use an agenda.
Instead, have the questions you want to ask your remote employees ready and listen to their responses. Avoid closed-ended questions and opt for open-ended ones that give the employees room to express themselves.
Some useful questions to ask remote employees during a one-on-one virtual meeting could include:
- What things do you think we are doing well as a company?
- What are we not doing so well?
- Are the tasks assigned to you inline with your expectations?
- If you had a chance to change one aspect of your tasks, what would that be?
- What activities do you wish you would do more?
Since you are not interacting with remote employees physically, have the conversation on video where you pick cues from their body language. Ask follow up questions to clarify their answers but avoid solving their issues during the conversation.
2. Use Online Satisfaction Surveys
Though satisfaction surveys are associated mainly with onsite employees, they provide an effective way of measuring satisfaction levels among remote employees when conducted online.
If you have people in your remote team who experience difficulties engaging with your managers directly, online satisfaction surveys are a great option. To get honest feedback from employees, make the surveys anonymous.
Creating online surveys and administering them to remote employees is pretty straightforward. With an online survey maker, you can prepare surveys that capture different aspects of remote work and give your remote employees continuous feedback. This way, you always have an idea of how they are feeling.
Satisfaction surveys provide a freeform way of measuring employee happiness - you are at liberty to decide on the:
- Structure of the survey
- Length of the survey
- Questions to ask
The secret to knowing how satisfied your remote employees are working for your company is by asking the right questions. To encourage employees to complete the survey and make analysis easier, use close-ended questions or a scale system on your survey.
Here are some survey question examples to help you structure yours right:
- Are you satisfied with your current designation??
- Are your goals defined clearly?
- Are you clear on how your role enables the company to meet its objectives?
- Do you believe you have an opportunity to develop and grow your career in this company?
- Are you always informed about the things that affect your work?
- If you experience challenges with your work, do you know who to reach out to for help?
- Do you have all the resources you need to complete your job successfully?
When developing a satisfaction survey, make it long enough to gather all the data, but not too long to bore employees or force them to complete it. Make the questions specific and easy to understand.
Here are some tips to help you craft survey questions:
- Avoid the use of jargon
- Be direct, specific and simple
- Do not ask leading questions
- Avoid emotionally charged words
3. Monitor the Performance of Remote Employees
Monitoring the performance of remote employees is a critical aspect of managing your business. If you don't review their performance, you will experience difficulties in setting goals and tracking whether they are making progress.
When done in a way that benefits employees, performance reviews can offer many benefits to your business. Reviews for remote employees can be conducted virtually with individual employees. But unlike virtual conversations, the main purpose is to evaluate how remote employees perform in their job.
Companies can use reviews to give feedback to remote employees. Such feedback mostly focuses on their strengths and weaknesses. They can also use performance reviews to determine whether the employees on board are a good fit for the business.
To measure the satisfaction of remote employees, you will need to run reviews more often - probably bi-annually or quarterly. Since they involve holding personal meetings with remote employees, performance reviews allow you to gather employee morale and the general company culture.
Before running a performance review, try to learn individual remote employees as much as you can. This will help you understand any concerns they may have in common and find ways to address them.
- Here are common ways companies address employee issues:
- Opportunities to develop a new skill through a training
- Employee promotions
- Salary increments
- Motivate employees through recognition
The easiest way to review remote employees' performance is through the use of performance management software. Such software comes with unique features that make performance reviews a breeze including:
- Scheduling review meeting
- Performance tracking tools
- Self-assessment tools
- Goal management tools
Understanding the role that satisfaction of remote employees plays in your company is just the beginning. All this will be of zero value if you have no way of acting on the findings.
For instance, if you realize that your remote employees feel that their compensation does not match the market rates, you could consider increasing their hourly rate. If they feel their appraisal does not reflect their performance in the past year, you can reconsider their wage bracket. Alternatively, if you realize that they are feeling frustrated due to delays caused by procedural matters, you could find ways to fast track processes to ensure they receive what they need on time.
Either way - measuring satisfaction levels of remote employees is a big win for a company and for employees. Use the three methods discussed above to measure remote employee satisfaction levels and improve their performance levels during the COVID 19 outbreak.
About the Author: Angela White is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing for the consumer market in the areas of product research and marketing using eLearning software. Having a knack for writing and an editorial mindset, she has been writing for ProProfs: a brand that’s known for creating delightfully smart tools such as ProProfs Survey Maker.