Amid disruptive workplace trends – such as an ongoing global labor shortage, record employee burnout and the ‘Great Resignation’ – pressure is building for companies when it comes to talent acquisition and retention. As a sign of the times, employee engagement in the U.S., for example, dropped in 2021 for the first time in a decade.
However, the outlook is brighter for companies with remote and hybrid workforces, according to recent findings from Gallup. While fully on-site workers suffer from the lowest engagement levels, remote and hybrid workers enjoy the highest levels. Moreover, as workers fully on-site grapple with the highest rates of burnout, Gallup’s findings suggest fully remote workers are experiencing the least burnout.
With that being said, companies managing talent around the world through an Employer of Record (EOR) service may still encounter pain points in integrating remote workers and making them feel part of the team. Some common challenges include time zone variations, cultural differences and language barriers. By focusing on the following priorities, companies with an EOR solution in place can empower global talent and maximize the power of a remote workforce.
Set parameters and expectations
Engaging teams through an EOR is still a relatively niche business practice, so it is possible that new team members may not be familiar with how it works. For this reason, it is important to communicate clear end-to-end parameters and expectations, starting with the recruiting and onboarding processes.
In particular, it is crucial workers understand the proper procedures for day-to-day tasks, as well as how they should direct their administrative questions regarding pay, taxation and benefits. It’s also necessary to provide workers with guidance on how differences in time zones will be handled. For example, to avoid confusion in communications, it might be helpful to set a rule across the board that all meeting times will be written out in the time zone of the company headquarters.
Encourage face-to-face interactions
Did you know a face-to-face request is 34 times more likely to be successful than one sent by email? Physical interactions and social cues help establish and bolster a relationship – and get the job done. But when a company has a workforce operating overseas, it’s not always possible for in-person meetings.
Video conferencing, by putting your team members face-to-face, can help to bridge the gap and strengthen bonds. If some of your team is in-person and others remote, it is especially helpful to make sure you have a policy of encouraging video. By making facetime a regular feature of your company culture, remote workers will feel more included and part of the team.
Prioritize training in technology
Technology plays a key role in an effective EOR solution as it can facilitate onboarding, administer global payroll and safeguard compliance with local regulations. As previously mentioned, it also helps teams connect through video conferencing, as well as collaborate through project management programs.
Ideally, you want to make sure the technology in place for your remote workers is compatible with the same programs your HQ team uses. Furthermore, since you are exchanging sensitive data across international borders, you must take measures to protect your technology infrastructure from cybersecurity threats.
Because digital technology can be the ‘make or break’ of an EOR arrangement, all workers need to know how to use the necessary tools and programs. However, the reality is that not every person has the same relationship with technology. Apart from disparities across personalities, age groups and work styles, technology use can vary across international borders as well. These differences may impact the speed at which someone can pick up and become adept at navigating your digital ecosystem. But with the right training programs in place, companies can empower daily processes, enhance culture, promote innovation, drive engagement and improve retention rates.
Show you care
First and foremost, your team members are people. After that, they are workers. Most companies understand the need for a human-first approach to HR management, especially following the difficulties and losses of the COVID-19 pandemic. But when all goes off without a hitch and remote workers in an EOR relationship consistently perform their jobs well, it is still all too easy to fall into an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ dynamic.
This ‘hands-off’ approach may work for a short time but, in the long-term, all team members want to be recognized and respected for the work they do. They also want their work lives to complement the other worthy identities they have, such as being parents, spouses, friends and community volunteers. Notably, according to research from Gallup, workers who feel cared for by a company are 71% less likely to report burnout, three times more likely to be engaged on the job and five times more likely to tell others the company is a good place to work.
For organizations that engage remote teams via an EOR solution, there are multiple ways they can show they care about employees and integrate them into the company culture. First and foremost, it is important to understand the benefits the EOR is providing workers. Can any customary benefits, such as 13th month pay and commuting stipends, be incorporated into the package? Furthermore, it is advisable that multinational companies be respectful of the holidays their global workforce will be celebrating
Not all actions require a monetary investment. Offering flex hours lets team members take care of personal responsibilities as needed. Also, going back to time zones, while observing “home-office” times may be the norm, it is unfair for remote workers to always bear the burden of meeting at inconvenient times. Varying the timing can help alleviate that disparity. Essentially, include the entire global workforce in regular communications so that all team members feel part of the team – no matter where they are in the world. Finally, recognizing team accomplishments, both big and small, can also make remote workers feel valued and cared for.
Ensure support is localized for your workforce
When selecting an EOR solution, one of the most fundamental considerations is how your team members overseas will be cared for locally by the EOR partner. This means making sure the support provided is in your team members’ local language and time zone and handled by professionals who fully understand the business culture and expectations, as well as the regulatory compliance environment. Not only will this white-glove approach promote a more positive, conducive employee experience, it will also legally protect your business interests as well as the interests of your team members.
Through localized, worker-friendly support, an EOR solution can help you bring your positive employee experience and culture to other countries around the globe.