Did you know?——-Unfair treatment at work is a major root cause of burnout in remote employees. According to Gallup, when an employee perceives bias, favouritism, or unfair treatment by a manager or coworker, they are 2.3 times more likely to experience burnout than an employee who perceives that they are being treated fairly (Wigert & Agrawal, 2018). Remote organizations must go above and beyond to ensure that they create safe working environments for their employees across all digital platforms and interactions.
So, how do we take healthy environments seriously?
Here are my 4 top tips:
1. Hire great leaders.
We can always develop skills, we cannot develop character. Hiring nice people who can and have demonstrated emotional intelligence skills like compassion, care, and consideration for other people is something to assess early on in the interview process. Doing so ensures we’re adding to company culture, rather than taking from it.
2. Get clear on what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
Have clear up-to-date policies that are easily accessible to every employee. These policies should include procedures and processes of how your organization manages and deals with issues, and what support and confidentiality are provided to employees that are going through this experience. Every incident that is reported needs to be followed through thoroughly. A survey by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) on workplace harassment, found that 75% of survey respondents had experienced harassment in the workplace, but 41% stated that no attempt was made to resolve the issue (ESDC, 2017). It needs to be extremely clear who employees can contact and reach out to should they experience or witness a situation like this. Creating a trusting environment is essential for team members to feel like they can come forward with these issues, and in growing remote team environments, it can be challenging for individuals to even understand who they can turn to.
3. Train and develop leaders.
Educate leaders on what unfair treatment looks like in the workplace so they can better identify other leaders that aren’t following fair procedures and behaviours. It’s not about turning leaders against each other – in fact, it’s the opposite. It’s bringing leaders together to create accountability in how they show up in their teams and creating a shared mindset around the influence they have as leaders. This is about upholding a certain standard of fairness, equality, and workplace safety, and if any leader witnesses behaviour outside of those organizational standards, they know exactly what support is available to them and what their next step should be. Training leaders on emotional intelligence skills like self-awareness, empathy, and clear communication, as well as coaching, will support leaders themselves from feeling overwhelmed and stressed, thus making them more present leaders.
4. Collect team feedback in a multitude of ways.
According to a survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of the Trade Unions Congress (TUC), most bullying is carried out by superiors – 72% of people have been bullied by their manager (TUC, 2015). So, it’s not enough for organizations to just train managers on anti-bullying policies because, in some cases, they could be the ones carrying out the harassment. Consider how an employee that’s being bullied by their leader remotely might feel? Isolated? Alone? Helpless? This is why organizations need to ensure that while every employee is under the direct supervision of a particular manager, they also have the opportunity to provide feedback and connect with managers other than their direct leader. This can create a space for leaders at all levels to ensure extra responsibility and accountability from their peers in fair management treatment.
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