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Cut & Paste Your Way to a Remote Workforce Employee Engagement Program

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP

April 1 2020

I’ve had our team collect all the actions we have taken to educate
and engage our new remote workforce. Hopefully, you can
utilize this resource to cut and paste your way to engaging your
remote employees.

It has been years since InfoMart had a remote workforce to manage. With the exception of our IT team and some sales associates, everyone worked in a centralized secure location. Like most businesses, we enacted our Business Continuity Plan and now have 170 people deployed to their homes working remotely. The one thing we did not include in our plan was how to support our team in a remote work environment and maintain employee engagement. We are learning as we go.

Communication and microlearning is at the core of a successful transition. Long tenured teams don’t require much talk and fewer meetings. I am always amazed to watch our team jump into action. 

We wanted to share with all our colleagues what we have done to engage our workforce as they work remotely. Hopefully, you can use our work product to assist you in engaging your remote workforce.

Daily Web Meetings

Every morning, InfoMart meets at 9:30 for a quick 5minute meeting to update everyone on what is happening at the company. We continued this by using GoToWebinar This is what we found to work best. 

Send a calendar invite to all employees 

We have kept people up-to-date on what is happening in the office as usual with our morning meeting, but now we also take a moment to discuss what we are doing to follow and address needs that are brought on by COVID-19. 

  • If you were to try this morning meeting check-in, encourage your employees to watch from their cell phones to prevent overloading your system’s network, especially if you’re sharing the same network access point. 
  • The normal morning leaders still lead our meeting, but now we have two people on a split screen rather than standing in front of a crowd, adding another executive leader as the voice in the background relaying questions from the employees. 
  • Another tip: make it fun! Our COO holds his dog in his lap, and our Sr. VP has his 3yearoldin love with life, in the background. We received a request from an employee listening in to give an air hug, and it started everyone’s day with a smile.  

Social Interaction

We don’t normally encourage the use of social platforms at work. Most people cannot access Facebook or Twitter. But this is a different time, and our
employee Facebook page has been the platform to unite us all and keep us connected as friends.  
 

If you don’t have a Facebook company page, set up a private group to get started. 

We requested that our people send in photos of their home offices and workstations, their kids studying hard, or their pets hanging around the house. Whoever gets the most likes and interactions on their post wins a gift card for their involvement. Last week, we saw one of the most recent additions to the InfoMart family posing with her dad’s laptop, promising to get through everyone’s emails as fast as her tiny hands could. There are many smiles to go around. 

Medical resources

HR jumped in with multiple emails giving everyone resources and information in bitesized pieces, keeping our people uptodate on the latest health and safety recommendations. We’ve had emails explaining how our insurance works in each employee’s favor and resources available for all who work for the company. 

HR has emailed links to the TeleMed providers that work with our insurance in case anyone gets sick. They’ve shared literature on how to prevent spread of the COVID-19, including InfoMart and MYCA:Learning’s most recent eBook on working remotely while staying healthy. They also shared tips on how to wash your hands effectively and sites that help you evaluate your symptoms. One of the most helpful resources our HR team has shared is an overview of our Employee Assistance Program and why to use it. These resources are vital for keeping employees engaged and educated. 

Technology changes 

Our SysAdmin has been our front line. Available 24/7, they have attacked each and every problem with immediacy: connecting our team securely to their workstations, dealing with keyboards and monitors that won’t work, addressing 
home internet issues, 
and expanding the volume to our network; they’ve tackled it all. With a help desk ticket system, employees either access the intranet or ask for someone on their behalf to share their problems. This allows SysAdmins to have one source of information to monitor. 

Slack & Spark 

Internally we use Spark for our instant messaging. Spark continues to function for all our operational teams. Due to different levels of security access, we also 
implemented Slack. Our IT team has been using Slack for years, and our leadership team has had access but never got into the habit of working on it.  But now the greatest thing to come out of this situation is a love for Slack. 

Employee Engagement Remotely 

We shared and encouraged our employees to watch this webinar to prepare them for the challenges for working from home.  

Every morning in our 9:30 meeting, we have a “sunshine moment”an inspiring quote to jumpstart our day. This team has kept the sunshine moment alive with inspiration for these challenging times by emailing it to the workforce. 

InfoMart also has our IM committees, employee-led initiatives that focus their time on fitness, personal development, and more. The IM Fit committee hosts a daily challenge, a 15-minute break where employees gather and do physical challenges together. Now, we do it virtually! This team has developed a web presence. They send out a morning email explaining the day’s challenge, a calendar invitation for the time, and every day at 3:00pm they go live for 15 minutes doing their exercises.  

Besides our social media engagement, we solicited tips on how to work remotely.  Every morning and afternoon, our teams receive an email with a tip on how to manage this new way of working. Below you will find our tips for this week.

Shout-out to my COVID-19 response team

Can’t post without giving praise and accolades to our COVID-19 team. Tim G., our Sr. VP, jumped in 24/7 to enable InfoMart to seamlessly transition to a remote workforce. I cannot even begin to give him the praise he deserves. However, having that one person other than the owner of the company making the transition has been invaluable in that it allows others in top leadership to focus on keeping the company strong and operational, not focused on the logistics of transiting a workforce. 

Remote Work Tips

Week ending 4/10/20 

 

4/6/20 

  • If you haven’t already joined the “InfoMart Screening” Facebook Group, please consider doing so. This is an excellent resource for us to remotely stay
    engaged with each other as well as get vital information out to everyone in a common resource.
     

4/7/20 

  • At first, the idea working remotely sounds incredibly appealing. After all, there’s no company dress code at your house (unless your work has a video conference call scheduled). Plus, you’re left to your own devices on how you plan to accomplish your tasks for the day. However, just because you have a lot more flexibility for the foreseeable future doesn’t mean that you should schedule calls or meetings beyond when you would normally have them scheduled. You can and should adjust your day if you find yourself staying late. 
  • Another habit you’ll want to maintain is your morning routine. Habits, especially new ones like working from home, are particularly effective when you stick to them on a daily basis. There is no telling how long people might be asked to work from home, but setting up a morning routine that works with your schedule is a great way to keep you productive throughout the day. 
  • Keep in contact with your team. Just because you are in a room alone doesn’t mean you ARE alone. Be in contact with your teammates to keep the camaraderie and remember you are a part of the IM team. They are going through the same thing you are. 

4/8/20 

  • You’re at work. You might be physically at home, but it’s important that anyone who shares your space during the day (whether that’s your roommates, your kids, or your spouse) knowthat while you’re working, you might as well not be at the house (excluding emergencies obviously). Working from home isn’t an opportunity for them to ask you for favors or to help out around the house. Set those boundaries early and stick to them as much as possible. Let them know you’re still available to help but that they should consider you ‘away’ at work during your normal office hours. Boundaries will remain important if you want to maintain your productivity. 

4/9/20  

  • Take your full lunch break. Time it just like you would at the office. Days
    I just grabbed a sandwich and went back to the desk would drag on and kill
    my productivity.
     
  • The beauty (or curse) of the modern era is that there are literally dozens of ways to stay in touch with your colleagues and boss. Whether that’s through a group chat/email, or an app like Slack, or Spark, use these apps to keep your team connected and productive while you all work from home. 

4/10/20 

  • For many people, the temptation to go back and “finish one more thing” after they log off for the day can be very strong.  Avoid getting into this habit as it can quickly lead to burnout. 
  • Set up Slack channels for your department and the larger work efforts within it. This is a lot faster than email for getting things done. 

About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record. To learn more about Tammy, visit www.tammycohen.com.

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit www.InfoMart-USA.com, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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