Technology allows companies to build workforces that cross city, state and even international boundaries. Supporting a remote workforce can be challenging, however. A well-designed human resources (HR) portal can help keep remote and mobile employees engaged, effective, and enthusiastic.
Untethered from traditional office-bound desktop workstations, employees today can perform their duties from just about anywhere. A recent study by Switzerland-based business support services company IWG found that 70 percent of global professionals work remotely at least one day a week, while 53 percent work remotely for at least half of the week. Remote workers often say telecommuting enables better work-life balance, enhances productivity and reduces stress.
However, remote workers can feel disconnected from the rest of the organization. In a global survey of 2,000 employees and managers, Virgin Pulse found that nearly three-quarters of remote workers say they feel disengaged and isolated.
HR portals, or intranets, can help remote employees feel more included. In addition to providing centralized access to important company documents, policies and other information, portals can be an important platform for encouraging communication and collaboration, increasing transparency, sharing company news and recognizing accomplishments.
A basic function of an HR portal is creating self-service capabilities that allow employees to take care of many routine tasks and inquiries that would otherwise require assistance from HR staff. This is an essential benefit for remote employees who may not work traditional 9-to-5 schedules. They can request time off, check insurance benefits, adjust 401K contributions and perform many other personal tasks without wasting time trying to reach the right HR representative with multiple phone calls or emails.
However, portals aren’t only repositories for benefit information and company policies. Here are six portal features that can improve interactions and boost employee engagement:
Company newsletters. Newsletters are great ways to keep employees apprised of important company news and announcements. These can include important company news such as business wins, new hires or organizational changes, as well as occasional “employee spotlight” features.
Staff recognition. Who doesn’t like a pat on the back now and then? A portal is a great space for recognizing employees who have provided excellent customer service, achieved a certification, received a promotion or demonstrated the company’s core values in some other way. It’s also a great way to recognize employees who are giving back to the community with their time or talent.
Staff surveys. Surveys can provide insight into staff perspectives on a wide range of issues. They also provide remote employees with a forum for expressing opinions and suggestions for improvements. Giving them a voice within the company is a powerful way to let employees know they are valued.
Calendars. This is an effective way to keep staff apprised of holidays, open enrollment deadlines, staff meetings and more. It helps ensure that important reminders don’t get lost in overloaded email inboxes.
Internal job boards. There may be no better way of improving employee morale than giving them opportunities for professional growth and career advancement. It also allows staff to refer friends and colleagues who might otherwise not catch the attention of recruiters.
Company directory. This is an often overlooked feature, but remote employees, in particular, can become frustrated when trying to find contact information. Ideally, an online directory should be searchable by name, job title, department and location. An organizational chart can also help direct employees to the right contact.
A well-developed HR portal can be extremely empowering for remote employees by helping them remain engaged and connected. While a portal should always include a repository of important documents and forms, it can be so much more than that. Give us a call or email us at email@example.com to discuss ways to create an HR portal that strengthens the bond between your organization and your employees.
Written and composed by Lyndsay Soprano, Director of Marketing