Leadership Of The Hard To Reach/ Remote Workers
A question we get asked a lot is about how to lead and engage remote workers. This is a key challenge within the construction industry with employees out on sites. Working with our clients Kier Group & Balfour Beatty we have learnt a huge amount about these topics over the last few years. What is really exciting is that we have not only learnt about how to lead and engage but we’ve used the learnings to develop tangible actions to improve leadership and better engage their people.
So how do we lead these remote employees? How do we truly engage them?
The first thing you need to do is find a way for those employees to voice, confidentially their views and opinions. Balfour Beatty and Kier Group use the engagement platform Inpulse to do this. A simple link is sent out to employees, or a communal laptop is placed in the staff room to act as a kiosk or terminal, employees complete a short engaging survey to share how they are feeling. We also find that lots of employees so trust Inpulse that they are willing to use their own smart phones to complete the survey, using a QR code on a poster as the way to access the survey.
Once you’ve listened you need to make sure that when your employees do get face to face, you get the most value from it. In those precious monthly meetings you can use the insight from Inpulse to target the conversation to the views and opinions people have already expressed. It means you are having the right conversation and proving that you are listening to their views openly and transparently. Getting people to talk and have these conversations is key.
You will also have to use mobile more effectively. We have found some organisations get key information to people using text and WhatsApp has been powerful. Some organisations have set up a cascade process, where one in five people have the responsibility to keep others in the loop. Their job is to talk to others.
The key for leaders is to listen to employees, then act on the views they hear through the conversations they have. This means getting out and being visible, it is common in our clients that employees say “we never see the boss” or “They don’t have interest in us we are just out in the field”. So leaders must get out, build connections and have regular conversations, using the Inpulse results as the catalyst of the conversation with their people.