Top Three Pitfalls of Work at Home Programs and How to Avoid Them
Our company does a couple of things. We hold workshops, conferences, and perform on site consulting to help companies get work at home and remote working programs right. We see hundreds of deployment strategies per year, a ton of innovative tactics and processes, and yes, some big pain points and important learnings.
So here are the top three trending pitfalls of work at home programs (for contact centers and support functions specifically) and how to avoid them:
Pitfall #1: Bad hiring - we’re speaking specifically of transferring in house employees into work at home positions, or hiring people externally into work at home positions. Why do we get this wrong? Usually it's time pressure (setting unrealistic goals to fill positions), and/or lack of proper assessment of required knowledge,, skills, abilities to successfully work remotely.
To get the wheels back on and deliver a stable, high talent, low turnover hiring program:
· Start with a new job description. Focus on what's required to be successful working from home or working remotely at your company.
· Use a comprehensive job simulation tool. Prospects need to take a test drive of what the job feels like, (by doing it), and companies need to get a glimpse of their prospects doing a test drive . Two excellent vendors are Furst Person and Chemistry.
· Past performance and behavior. Behavioral interviews, reference checks, background checks are the tools we need. SkillSurvey invites applicants to furnish references of friends/colleagues and gets good results, candid feedback (so say our clients).
· Skilled final decision maker. We've seen companies sometimes ramp up hiring (unrealistically) and put interviewers/hiring decision makers in positions that don't belong there. Inexperienced people in these roles will result in bad hiring, it's a sure thing!
Pitfall #2: Disconnected new hire training - the most crucial components of training are identifying what people need to know, and when they need to know it. Skills based training (starting with one or two skills, gaining proficiency, then adding more) has the highest success rate in a contact center environment, and works well for remote/virtual learning. Use mixed mediums and micro-learnings (5-7 minute segments).
Pitfall #3: High-effort/Fragmented Connection to Co-Workers - remote working is a mature staffing/business model, and there is great technology available to make sharing knowledge and experiences, in a remote environment as low effort and as effective as in-office. There are also great tools available that make socializing remotely as easy and as effective as in office (nearly). Enterprise Social Networks are the norm (Slack, Facebook for Business, Microsoft Teams). Collapsing several communication channels (i.e. chat, email, bulletin boards, IM) into one is what makes these tools so easy to use, no matter where people sit. Video (for most team meetings and one to one meetings) is a baseline requirement. If your company is not willing to invest in video and virtual meeting platforms, (i.e. Zoom, Adobe Connect, Teams, Go To Meeting) we recommend you keep your staff in an office building. Face to face interactions hold huge importance and without it, programs suffer, engagement weakens, performance slips, turnover rises.
Want to learn more and benchmark best practices on work at home programs?
Join us in Dallas March 6-7, 2019 for the Remote Working Summit: