The pandemic has changed how most people work, and leaders left and right are wondering how to make their global remote workforce happy in the workplace.
By December 2020, 71% of Americans were working from home. While remote work has been gaining popularity in the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated its acceptance into the mainstream. But even before the pandemic, we have always believed in the possibility offered by remote teams.
In this article, we will go through our experience at Tomedes in building a remote workforce and what we’re doing to keep them happy.
Connecting a global pool of translators
Tomedes is a leading translation company that has worked with companies such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Bloomberg. Of course, we were not always like this and had to start small. From that small beginning, we were able to build a global pool of translators. We now have a network of 20,000 native translators who are also specialists in their own fields.
Our translators work on 120 languages and 950 language pairs that we offer. They’re from all over the world and this is one way that we can guarantee the quality of our translations.
Building a global remote team
How did we go about building our global team of translators?
We first started out with a small pool of translators and we could only handle a limited number of languages and language pairs. We slowly built a network of language specialists from different countries who are also experts in their own respective fields.
It was not easy to build a strong team of translators. We had to convince them that we actually had their interest in mind. To achieve this we created a team of vendor managers. These vendor managers are the ones tasked with hiring translators and working with them. The vendor managers make sure the translators have everything that they need. They also address any concerns that translators might have regarding their work and their relationship with the company.
Now we have built a global pool of over 20,000 translators and that’s still growing.
Remote employee experience
But it’s not just our translators who are working remotely. As a translation company, I see Tomedes as remote first. Out of the more than 100 employees that we have, only five of those are working in the office in Israel. The rest of our team is spread out in different countries worldwide.
There are downsides to having a global remote workforce. For example, the difference in time zones can lead to difficulty when setting meetings. However, this has been easily resolved by making everyone aware of the time zone differences among the team members. Other problems have been ironed out eventually.
Maintaining happiness in a remote workforce
It’s not easy to build a remote workforce but it’s far more difficult to keep that team happy. That’s something that we have learned through the years. There are several things that we have realized about how to keep remote workers, not just content, but actually happy and enthusiastic with their job within the company.
Build meaningful relationships
One of the things that we made an effort to do was to build meaningful relationships. We implemented this in different ways. For our remote workforce, we started with the recruitment process. We made sure that the selection process for candidates were thorough, and we really got to know the candidates before we made the decision.
The onboarding process too, was also designed to nurture meaningful relationships. Once an employee was onboarded, we made sure that they understood that there is no barrier within the organization. They are free to reach out to the concerned individual if they have concerns.
Spearheading digital transformation
When we decided to go remote, we also made the decision to undergo a digital transformation. This means maximizing digital tools like omnichannel contact centers, to enhance our communication and our management. We believe that digital transformation is an integral part of employee success.
We have introduced various tools and platforms that have helped us to digitize our workroom, even though it’s a virtual one already. We continuously seek the best tools available to us and if we find something better, we don’t hesitate to switch to it.
Social activities for virtual teams
Another crucial step that we have taken to ensure employee success, is the use of offline activities that are not directly related to work. These activities include team-building, team lunch, and other offline activities that help build a team spirit, and foster a feeling of belonging in the team members.
On top of that, team-building activities can actually improve work ethic and innovation within a company, by as much as 10 times. Not to mention that these activities allow the team members to connect as individuals, fostering personal relationships. However, there is a limit to these offline activities since only team members who live within the same region can attend such activities. Although they have some limitations, they are quite effective.
Responsive leadership and management
Another crucial component of keeping our remote workforce happy and content is by making sure our management stays responsive to their needs. When vendors and our remote employees have complaints, we make sure that we respond immediately. Even if we don’t have the resolution yet for their concern, we still reassure them that we are listening to their concerns regardless if they are working remotely.
Employee success is company success
Employee success can be very challenging, and having a remote workforce adds to that. According to statistics, only 36% of employees are actually engaged in the workplace. Equally revealing is the fact that having an engaged workforce can actually increase a company’s profitability by as much as 21%.
While those numbers emphasize the need for employee success and engagement from a business perspective, we see an even more pressing need. We take our commitment to building meaningful relationships seriously. Whether we are working with in-office or remote employees, we make sure that we keep them engaged.
Ofer Tirosh is the CEO of Tomedes Translation Company, which offers hundreds of languages and language pairs and has built a global pool of translators.
The world needs employee success, especially in a digital workplace.