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Maintaining Employee Morale in Times of a Remote Work Culture: A QnA with Rob Boland, COO at Reward Gateway

Besides being able to successfully manage remote teams amidst the time of the Covid-19 crisis, maintaining employee morale during this shift to a remote work environment has been a big challenge for companies over the last few weeks. Global employee engagement company Reward Gateway recently conducted a survey on this and we caught up with Rob Boland, COO of the company for a quick chat to grab the highlights.

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TecHRseries Interview with Rob Boland, Chief Operating Officer at Reward Gateway
Did you miss Rob’s interview with TecHRseries earlier this year? Catch it here!

Good to have you back here Rob, tell us a little about this recent poll conducted by Reward Gateway this May 2020…

In the past few weeks we’ve had our community come together to learn, share and inspire each other during COVID-19. During that time we’ve surveyed our community on what their top challenges are so that we can continue to support them in the best way. This information combined with how our clients are using our solutions has provided  insights into where the HR community is focused to overcome the unique challenges COVID-19 has created.

Shifting to a remote work culture (and now slowly shifting out of it) is what the last few weeks and next few weeks are all about: what are your top findings from the poll and what top suggestions would you share with readers when it comes to realigning and adapting to these changes?

Most employers either have a fully remote, or a large part of their workforce remote today. This has posed challenges around communication, collaboration and keeping employees connected to and engaged with the organization. Many organizations have a mixed workforce environment now with large populations of  remote workers as well as frontline and furloughed employees. In those environments there are even more complexities aligned to morale and connection. Across the board, among our clients and our own experience, the most effective strategy has been to communicate consistently with employees and make it easy for them to get information. In some work  environments, you have some employees making sacrifices during this time and others who may feel more isolated  than ever before. Recognizing your people to inspire and encourage your people during this time will go a long way in motivating and engaging your remote workforce.

Read More: Top HR Tech Unicorns To Watch Out For

Could you share some highlights / tips from your findings on employee engagement issues and changes being observed during this time?

The usage of our communications, recognition and well-being tools isn’t being driven just by HR, but by employees. For example, we’ve seen A 96% increase in internal communication blog post frequency, a 560% increase in internal communication blog post views, a 94% increase in peer-to-peer employee recognition eCards sent, and a 109% increase in monetary recognition awards given to employees.

Employees are leaning on their employer for new  levels of  information and support during this time, including: timely and relevant updates and news; benefits to support their well-being;  and the ability to see and be seen by their colleagues through tools such as peer-to-peer recognition.  We see continued trends among the 5 million employees that access the Reward Gateway platform that HR  leaders and organizations that best engage their employees during this time feel better positioned to create stronger, more resilient organizations. Research shows that engaged employees make better decisions, innovate more and are more productive, and those are essential qualities that companies need at this time.

How according to you will workplace trends and cultures evolve over the next few weeks as companies slowly start reopening?

Organizations will need to embrace flexibility and push themselves to over communicate with employees. As offices begin to open, the expectation of who is in the office, how they are in the office and when they are in the office will be different. Employees will be looking to their employers for constant guidance and communication about how the organisation operations have changed and what is being done to keep them safe while bringing a new way of office working to life The best things organizations can do during this next transition is keeping communicating to all employees,  focus on the well-being of their people, and embrace the flexibility and invest in the tools and technology that can bring their culture and values to life.

How do you foresee the role and responsibilities of HR change given the new normal and the changes everyone will have to adapt to at the workplace?

I’ve had the opportunity to work with many HR leaders during this time who have been inspirational in how they have led their organizations through this period of high change and uncertainty. If organizations didn’t have HR as a strategic driver of their business strategy, that will likely change, as the COVID-19 Pandemic has highlighted how critical the role of HR is in creating an aligned, motivated and engaged workforce. However, HR will be under pressure to deliver more than ever with potentially less resources. The ability for HR leaders to centralize the tools that drive engagement, keep employees connected and motivated and reduce administration for their teams will be key.

Read More: HR Tech Tools That Can Enable An Easier Remote Hiring Process

Any other last tips / thoughts for us?

It is important to remember that with so much changing and demands on all of us continuing to grow during this time, it is important to also take care of yourself. Thank you to all the HR  leaders out there for supporting your people!