Let's put our heads together

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Let's put our heads together

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How to make remote work, work.

So, they've got Skype and a snazzy new headset, that’s flexible worker engagement sorted! Or is it?? What we’re learning from 11 years of operating a remote workforce.

TQ was set up 11 years ago on the premise of flexibility.  We provide on-demand services for our customers and our people get to work in a flexible way.  Many have chosen to move away from a standard corporate 9-5  – sometimes it’s based around parenting responsibilities, sometimes it’s to fit around their training as elite sportspeople (!) wrapping work around life, not life around work.  We have hubs of shared office space but ultimately, we are 100% remote.

This was a pioneering approach back in the day but with the rise in remote workers set to grow (International Workplace Group (IWG) 2019 research reveals almost 50% of Australian employees work remotely for at least half of the week) it throws up interesting challenges for engagement, productivity, trust, collaboration and more.

It’s not easy, and we don’t always get it right, but it’s a topical conversation so we wanted to share what we have learnt and hope it helps others find their own way.

TQ has a team of around 40. With a growth spurt earlier in 2018, we were conscious of how to scale our efforts to build and sustain team engagement. So we read up. A lot. LinkedIn business blogs, Forbes and Deloitte studies, there is a lot of great content out there. Companies like Google, Atlassian, Qualtrics, Slack and GitLab provided some great insight into their own journeys as well.

But out of everything we read and have experienced, we kept coming back to the importance of getting the basics right; challenging established practices (often with Leaders) and not overwhelming the team with too much information, all of the time.

The focus really was around the basics of communication, co-ordination, culture and the effective use of tools. Through this lens, it becomes less daunting to consider and in fact, most activities fall into these buckets of activity for us.

  1. Communication:
  • Use of a collaboration tool
  • Regular online and phone catch ups
  • More communication from the Leadership Team
  • Staff appreciation, recognition of great work done and values shout outs
  1. Co-ordination:
  • Proper processes and procedures in place
  • Proper on-boarding
  • Pick a couple of tools and use them properly
  • Host a couple of in person gatherings a year
  1. Culture:
  • Regular communication from the Leadership Team
  • Social use of the collaboration tool
  • Personal connections like video my day & buddies
  • Enable the team to have a voice
  1. Tools:
  • Tools for collaboration & fun like Workplace/Slack
  • Shared access to company information like Google shared drive
  • Video conferencing tool
  • Virtual signing for documents like DocuSign

Against this ‘check-list’, we realised we were already doing ‘ok’, we just needed to consolidate and streamline what we were doing. These are some added #TQtips for what we found to be effective;

  • Finding out what the team wanted was essential, we used a simple survey. The biggest votes were for hearing about key projects others were working on, mainly from a ‘what can I learn’ standpoint since very little is cookie cutter here, each new project builds and adds new thinking so everyone wants to stay close. Keeping an eye on what people want can also be done with pulse check-ins.
  • Getting the Leadership Team to engage more via our collaboration tool; it points to senior level advocacy and permission, example setting and more.
  • We started a ‘video my day’ video campaign where members upload a 2-4 min clip of their day and then they nominate the next person to do theirs. It’s humanised the team for each other, rather than just being a ‘colleague’ sat several thousand miles away. And it was fun. Ok, some were weird in fact, which made them so much more valuable, but we can’t share them publicly I’m afraid!
  • We also introduced more social group feeds on our collaboration tool like pets and articles of interest, which quickly became the content that we engaged with most, sparking lots of chatter.
  • The real driver for our team was a desire for information about what the whole business is doing and what others are up to (we are not immune from FOMO) and these streams allowed for that.

We are looking forward to our Christmas catch up later this year! If you want to swap notes, or have tips to share, please let us know.

 

 

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TQSolutions (TQ) is regarded as Australia’s leading Advisory and Solutions firm for Talent Acquisition, Recruitment and Careers related projects – this is the world of organisational Joiners, Movers and Leavers. We do this through:

Advise
Partnering with organisations about to embark upon significant change or transformation programmes. Our advisory services cover areas such as independent technology, capability and operating model reviews, deep market intelligence, employer brand and candidate experience.
Deploy
Our scalable, on-demand model delivers exceptional results for our clients. With a national team of experts, all with at least 15 years’ experience, we deploy brilliant people on an ongoing basis or to support key projects and spikes in activity.
Inform
We curate insights, provide thought leadership, community and training – all geared to help you cut through the noise with the informed perspective you need to make smart decisions.

www.tqsolutions.com.au

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