Three Policy Changes to Improve Remote Work

	loftus_three_policy_changes_to_improve_remote_work March 15, 2021 By: Jennifer C. Loftus

Many associations have been working in the remote environment for a year now. While most have found some type of groove, these policy changes can codify what you’ve learned and make future remote work smoother.

This past year has rocked the plans of even the most established organizations. Going remote has had a huge impact on how associations and staff get work done, engage with each other, and drive productivity. Some common challenges include the lack of in-person communication, a lower sense of team morale, and the need to digitize almost all processes.

If your own association has found itself in a continuing remote work situation, these challenges can be tackled head-on through key policy changes and strategies. Above all, put your employees’ needs first, especially if you want to genuinely motivate them and bring value to your organization. From how you acquire new talent to how you facilitate engagements between employees, below are three tips to prepare.

Set Clear Communication Expectations

When in the office, it’s easy to walk across the room if you have an urgent need. In the remote world, connecting with others and tracking a project’s progress is a bit more challenging. To combat this, it’s critical that your organization sets clear communication expectations from the start. This should include expectations on:

  • communication frequency and response time between employees and with leadership
  • the amount of work getting done each day and how to report on progress
  • the tools and software needed, including computers, webcams, video conferencing platforms, instant messaging systems, and so forth.

With these expectations set and clearly communicated in your policy handbook, you have the beginnings of a sustainable remote work strategy that leaves little room for confusion and more room for productivity.

Reassess Your Current Performance Assessment Model

Keeping track of your team’s performance not only ensures that everyone is adding to your success but also enables you to show appreciation. Actively recognizing staff accomplishments is important, especially if you want to improve your employees’ morale, productivity, and engagement.

The regular ways you evaluate performance will likely change in a remote environment. You might focus more deliberately on the product instead of the time put into a project. You may also want to turn to performance-management software. These tools help better organize and keep track of individual employees’ progress through one centralized system. Look for tools that set customized key areas for evaluations, allow you to create your own rating scales, set job objectives and metrics, offer self-evaluation forms, and track competencies and areas for growth to aid in making promotion decisions.

While in-person, you may have held group gatherings to publicly announce an accomplishment and given credit to the relevant staff members. Don’t let this type of public recognition fall by the wayside in a remote environment.

We recommend setting key performance indicators to keep track of progress. For instance, if staff is tasked with recruiting new members, management software should be tracking this.

If good work is being done, make sure to recognize it. While in-person, you may have held group gatherings to publicly announce an accomplishment and given credit to the relevant staff members. Don’t let this type of public recognition fall by the wayside in a remote environment.

Performance-management tools can help show appreciation for team members and motivate them to work harder. Consider incorporating gamification techniques that award your top workers with digital badges or points to redeem for prizes or perks.

Take the Hiring Process Completely Digital

Effective employee recruitment and retention starts with the hiring process. With in-person engagement still not recommended in most locations, many have taken their entire hiring process digital.

This means interviewing candidates through video, undergoing assessments digitally, and pivoting other processes (like onboarding) to virtual. To do so, you’ll need a few tools at your disposal. For instance, associations relying on performance-management software can use the platform to facilitate virtual hiring processes by designing online job descriptions and updating them as needed, displaying job organizational charts, integrating your website’s career page, capturing uploaded resumes, and using analytics to highlight the best applicants.

Digitizing the hiring process can also garner valuable data to improve how you recruit top team members. If you notice that your best employees have certain skills or personality traits, use that information to further refine how you hire new staff.

Wrapping Up

Going fully remote isn’t something that anyone could have predicted. But with time and experience under our belt, we have more knowledge on how to make work from home enjoyable and productive.

From setting clear expectations to investing in software that makes performance review and hiring decisions easier, these strategies are sure to set your association up for future success.


Jennifer C. Loftus

Jennifer C. Loftus, MBA, SHRM-SCP, is a founding partner and national director for Astron Solutions, a compensation consulting firm in New York City.