In this interview with Matt Buchanan, co-founder and chief growth officer of Service Direct, you will learn about the unique and innovative employee benefits and activities that the organization implements to maintain the engagement of its remote employees.
Remote work makes it difficult for employees to make connections and cultivate relationships, especially for those who have been working remotely since they started in the company.
This is the challenge facing Matt Buchanan, co-founder and chief growth officer Direct service.
In this interview with Matt, you will learn about the initiatives that Service Direct has implemented to alleviate these challenges and their impact on the organization.
What challenges do your remote employees face?
The lack of face-to-face supervision, easy access to information, and distractions at home are just some of the reasons why it is challenging for remote employees to stay engaged.
Those impromptu “water dispensers” are more difficult to obtain at all times, and when the boundaries of work/life balance become blurred, there is a risk of burnout.
We find that our team becomes more exhausted faster, and we need to find a way to keep the team motivated, engaged, and healthy work-life balance.
What employee benefits and benefits have you implemented to increase engagement and satisfaction?
In order to improve job satisfaction and prevent burnout, we recently implemented a 4-day alternate work week, allowing every full-time employee to rest every other Friday. Full payment, no additional conditions, no extra working hours within a week, no compensation or PTO changes.
Therefore, everyone can take about two more days off each month.
In addition, we usually try to plan two to three activities every week or regularly, and plan a major event or plan every month.
We often do this:
- 20-minute virtual coffee break or virtual lunch break
- 15-minute virtual Wim Hoff breathing training session
- 30-minute virtual meditation course
Some of the larger activities we have done include:
As a small business, you are often limited by time and resources. Among all other priorities, how do you prioritize employee participation in the plan?
Not long ago, we decided to establish a service direct loyalty team. This is one of the best things we have ever done. We have a team of five employees from all different departments and locations who volunteer to join our loyalty team.
We meet every two weeks to discuss plans for the next month, and at least one executive will attend each meeting for decision-making and budget approval.
This setup is great because it helps delegate any planning and execution tasks, ensures that you get a wide range of ideas and feedback based on the needs/likes of all teams, and also provides a sense of ownership, pride, and can be very beneficial.
What are the benefits? Are there any surprises?
Some of the main benefits I want to say are:
- Create a sense of belonging
- Establish a transparent work culture, so that everyone dare to speak freely
- Stimulate innovation and idea sharing
When everyone is remote, making the team feel connected can be very challenging. We really see that these activities help cultivate friendship and friendship between teams.
They serve as a good reminder that we are all part of the bigger picture, working together towards a common goal.
What I find most notable is that people on teams that don’t usually work together can get to know each other. They can better understand each other’s daily life.
Although most of our cultural activities have a “don’t talk about work” rule, it is inevitable that they will eventually inspire real good ideas through dialogue, just by getting to know each other or enjoying a relaxing drinking fountain moment.
For example, one of our sales representatives encountered a very small but tedious manual error during our registration process, which added up a lot of time. Moreover, during one of our virtual lunch breaks, someone asked this question because he had to deal with it before our lunch break. One of our developers attended the lunch break and overheard this frustration. He said: “What? Why don’t you say anything? I can solve this problem in 10 seconds!” Then he did fix it-on the spot . Our sales representative just assumed that this would be a huge effort and decided to endure it in silence.
This quick conversation prompted us to create a new internal error reception process in Asana, making it easy and not daunting to report large and small errors/problems without feeling it a burden or a laborious process .
I think we will eventually set it up anyway, but this new great thing is triggered by the “water dispenser” momentarily, otherwise it might not happen. These types of things contribute to the daily success of the company and its employees.
In terms of employee benefits and benefits, what advice do you have for other companies?
In addition to building a loyalty team, here are some things I would recommend to other small businesses.
Set monthly or quarterly cultural goals
To ensure that these types of activities become a priority, it is important to hold the company accountable. The best way to do this is to set goals and let the entire company know these goals by adding them to the company’s OKR and setting specific goals around the goals you want to accomplish. For us, our goal is to have a health activity at least once a week and a group challenge or company-organized activity once a month.
Create a shared cultural calendar
Set up a cultural calendar that everyone can access and publish all current and upcoming events in it. You can also color-code them based on whether they are “virtual” events or “face-to-face” events, so that everyone knows if they can join.
Get feedback often
The best way to measure whether these activities improve company morale and employee engagement is to get consistent feedback from the team. You can do this by sending a survey after each event to ensure that it is valuable to team members. Or consider sending a questionnaire regularly (monthly or quarterly) so that you can compare feedback over a period of time. Always use this feedback as an opportunity to improve your current work and gain new ideas for the future.
As remote work becomes more and more important, organizations must consider new ways to keep employees engaged and happy at work. If there is a lesson to be learned from Service Direct, it is that investment will pay off for your employees and organization.
What initiatives has your organization taken to support remote employee participation? Please leave your comments in the evaluation section.
Learn more about how to use team building and training programs as employee benefits and benefits
For more information on how to increase employee engagement and morale by using team building and training as employee benefits and benefits, please contact our employee engagement consultants.
About the Author:
Matt Buchanan (Matt Buchanan) is the co-founder and chief growth officer of Service Direct, a technology company that provides local lead generation solutions for service companies. He graduated from Vanderbilt University. He has more than 15 years of expertise in local potential customer development, sales, search engine marketing, and formulation and execution of growth strategies.