How to Support Remote Employees

4 Tips to help employers support their remote workforce

An MRAA guest blog by Dealership Advantage, MRAA Education Champions

Today, working remotely is more common than ever, which means supporting remote employees is more important than ever. But that isn’t always an easy thing to accomplish. Your boat dealership has salespeople out on the water with customers, service technicians working on customer boats, and service reps making their rounds at boat shows. How can you make sure all of these employees working from all different locations are able to do their jobs efficiently and effectively? Here are our top tips for supporting your remote employees and driving success for your boat dealership.

Employ a video conferencing software
When it comes to remote work, video conferencing software is an absolute must. Whether it be a sales meeting with a prospective client or an internal meeting to discuss weekly work, meeting “face-to-face” just has more of an impact than a standard phone call. According to GetVoIP, 87% of remote employees say they feel more connected and involved with team projects when using video conferencing, and 55% of businesses say video conferencing effectively increases employee engagement. Additionally, Digital in the Round reports that 90% of people find it easier to get their point across on video.

The data is clear: video conferencing helps customers and employees alike feel more engaged and connected, so it can help your dealership improve efficiency, productivity, and sales.

Get a DMS that works anywhere
Can your salespeople log a sale while out on a boat with a customer? Can your technicians and service writers write and edit work orders while working on a customer boat stuck at the boat launch? Can your employees access your dealership management system on the go with their smartphone or tablet? If your answer is no, you can’t expect the same level of productivity out of your remote employees as you would from your in-house staff.

A cloud based DMS lets your employees do everything from creating a contact to logging an order. They have full access to all DMS features anywhere they have access to a web browser and internet or cellular service. Truly supporting your remote employees starts with giving them the ability to actually perform their jobs well from any location.

Maintain social support
It can be hard to develop strong relationships with coworkers while you are working remotely. The only time you typically see each other is during work-related meetings where you are focused on achieving a specific goal. If you want your employees to feel like they are really a part of your team, you need to encourage social interaction. There are a variety of ways you can do this, but a few of our favorites are:

  • Plan for small talk at the top of internal meetings. In a physical office, employees have the opportunity to pop over to each other’s desks, chat while making their morning coffee, or enjoy lunch together. No matter how small these interactions might be, they help employees grow closer together. To simulate these interactions virtually, we recommend giving your employees a few minutes at the top of meetings to make small talk and discuss the things that are happening in their lives.
  • Hold informal, social meetings. To develop as a team and build strong bonds, we all need time together that doesn’t have the pressure of “work” hanging over it. That is why, we recommend holding informal meetings such as virtual happy hours or coffee breaks. These small meetings will give everyone a chance to kick back and have some fun while off-the-clock.
  • Check in with employees one-on-one. No matter how many meetings you have with someone, it can be hard to get a read on how they are doing in a work-related meeting with plenty of other people around. That is why we recommend meeting with your employees one-on-one every so often. This will give you the opportunity to check in on their home life, see how they are feeling about their work, and offer encouragement and support.

Avoid forming a central office clique
If some of your employees are working from your main dealership location while others mostly work remotely, a clique of sorts can naturally form. The employees in the office naturally develop strong relationships which can lead to remote employees feeling like they are not a part of the team. Implementing video conferencing and a cloud based DMS can go a long way towards helping remote employees feel included, but these tools won’t do all the work for you. On group calls, specifically ask remote employees for their opinions and input. Do your best to pull them into conversations and limit topics that would isolate them. Make sure everyone knows they are a valued part of the team.

Dealership Advantage