Dec 2021#Company Life

How we increased loyaltyfrom 38% to 55% remotely

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Managers sometimes complain that employee loyalty and efficiency have declined since going "remote." Is this worth putting up with? Not at all. On the contrary: the expertise and success of the team can grow "remotely" if you use the right digital tools. This is exemplified by BDC Consulting.

Problem:

There is a book on internal communications - "Love them or you will lose them." The author demonstrates that the team needs to be cared for, employees should be involved and gratitude should be expressed in order to ensure loyalty. It's just that in two years of the pandemic and "remote" it has become much more difficult to do.

The new format of working relationships is a challenge for both managers and teams. We fully felt this in March 2020, when the BDC Consulting team completely switched to remote work. It has become more difficult for beginners to adapt, and for "old people" to stay involved. In April 2021, the loyalty of the team was about 30%.

However, through trial and error, we selected the optimal digital tools that allowed us to bring loyalty to 55%, as well as increase expertise and engagement. In March 2020 (before going remote), the BDC team numbered about 20 people. Now we have 60 people on the staff (and several other contractors) in 10 countries – and we do not plan to return to the office.

Geography of BDC Consulting

Tasks

  • Increase employee loyalty to the company and their non-material motivation;
  • To create a positive organizational climate, close to the company of the family type.

Target audience segments

  • "Old people" of the company who are used to working in the office, know each other well, and communicate outside of work (about 30% of the team);
  • Newcomers who came to the company less than a year ago and immediately to the remote format.

Motivation: what do employees want?

  • More friendly communication on topics not related to work;
  • The opportunity to take the initiative and be heard;
  • Awareness of the goals, achievements, and strategic plans of the company;
  • Non-material motivation: praise and encouragement from colleagues.

Tools

  • Research according to the eNPS methodology (Employee Net Promoter Score)
  • Additional channel for informing employees
  • Polls
  • One-on-one interview
  • Chatbots in the internal corporate messenger Slack (Slack): ZBot (Zet Bot) (onboarding, adaptation, answering questions), Karma (Karma) (encouragement), LEAD (Lead) Bot (communication and acquaintance).
  • Domestic events

Implementation

Step 1: Research the current level of employee loyalty

In April 2021, we conducted eNPS testing to determine the level of loyalty of the team. The result was about 33%.

BDC Consulting employees noted the lack of communication on the part of managers, the lack of opportunities for initiative, fear of not being heard, a high workload, and, most importantly, the lack of "movement", which is so essential in maintaining efficiency.

Based on the test results, an ambitious task was set: to increase employee loyalty to 55% in one quarter.

Phase 2: Implement communication channels

1) Telegram

We started by creating an informal channel for informing employees in Telegram. It publishes BDC news:

  • Informing: changes and innovations;
  • Training: weekly digests;
  • Entertaining: funny internal statistics and photos;
  • Situational: upcoming events, surveys
  • Congratulations on anniversaries, probation, etc.

Also in the channel, we share stories about the perks of working in BDC Consulting (in addition to outdated ones like cookies in the office and a friendly team).

2) Polls

We have introduced the practice of weekly surveys on Tuesdays on various topics: work initiatives and proposals, hobbies, nature and weather outside the window, merch with company symbols, workload, causes for concern and anxiety, loyalty and involvement, etc. Some questionnaires include 15-20 questions, others - only a few. 

Surveys have proven to be a great tool for two-way communication. Analysis of the results helps to understand what processes need to be changed, what to add to the inner life, what to optimize, and what to pay additional attention to.

Employees perceive surveys as a safe environment (mostly questionnaires are anonymous, although you can enter your name) and therefore calmly share problems or dissatisfaction.

In addition, team members notice changes and improvements that appear shortly after surveys – and as a result, they are even more motivated to share their opinions and make constructive suggestions. The guys often tell what new things could be brought to the company and how they can be implemented. A number of such proposals have already been put into practice.

3) Quarterly interviews

One-on-one interviews are held every three months and help to find an approach to each specific employee: to find out what he likes or dislikes, what motivates and what negatively affects the work.

Similar to surveys, interviews are a safe space where an employee can speak out without fear of judgment. The insights obtained help to improve business processes in general and develop a plan for individual motivation for each specific specialist.

In addition, such interviews give an understanding of what information employees lack: for example, not all newcomers know how to properly request training from the company or the purchase of professional literature. These points can be clarified in an interview, and then make a post on the internal Telegram channel to remind all employees of the perks they enjoy in the company.

Step 3: Use chatbots to improve internal interactions

We communicate on Slack. Several bots were connected to it, which can be used to interact within the team: Zbot, Karma Bot, and LeadBot.

1) Onboarding bot ZBot

The bot was developed by a Belarusian IT company for easy and successful adaptation of new employees. The advantage of ZBot is that you can upload a large amount of information to it, which the bot will share with the employee in stages.

Teams using Zbot don't need thick new employee manuals that no one reads in the end. A new team member easily and quickly passes the levels, performing bot tasks: study a particular document, pass a test, etc. Below is an example of a message from a bot.

We have also set up sections in the bot for employees of certain areas, where beginners can immediately get all the information on their specialty, whether it is account management, paid advertising, etc.

2) Karma Bot: Praise and Encouragement

Karma is a great bot for motivating employees. The bot helps the guys praise each other for their work achievements. Each user is allocated 15 points per month (managers - 20), which can be "credited" to colleagues. For example, points are often given for proactivity, the fulfillment of the task "by 110%", an interesting idea and its successful implementation, etc.

Karma points accumulate and do not burn out. Upon reaching 30 or more points, a BDC Consulting employee receives a gift from the company - a certificate for services or products (massage, spa, outdoor activities, shopping).

3) LEAD Bot: informal communication

The bot randomly breaks employees into groups and sets topics for discussion. This is a kind of digital version of conversations at the office cooler: employees can write or call, discuss given or other topics and talk about themselves.

LEAD Bot helps to establish communication between employees who do not intersect much at work, and also erases hierarchical boundaries - for example, an assistant may be in the same group as the CEO of the company.

Phase 4: Internal activities

We have formed a structured schedule of events:

Weekly – meetings in which employees share expertise and discuss something interesting, be it a book, a film, recently studied documents, etc. For example, insights from the book "The Magic of the Morning" with techniques for a pleasant awakening in the morning were recently discussed.

Several times a month - team games ("Mafia", "Braingo", "Bingo");

Monthly – meetings with experts and training (team interaction, time management, work-life balance, etc.).

Every 1-2 months: acquaintance with new employees in the format of "2 true and one false fact".

Once a quarter: meeting with the CEO and discussing the implemented plans and strategic decisions for the future.

Semi-annually: corporate events and activations for employees (winter and summer). So, in June 2021, the BDC Consulting team rafted in kayaks. For many, it was the first experience, but despite being tired after a long day spent on the water (and some underwater), the employees received extremely positive impressions. 

Result 

  • The level of employee loyalty increased from 33% to 55% (according to the testing results conducted in July);
  • The climate in the team has improved: employees enjoy interacting with each other and see a common goal towards which they are moving together with the company;
  • Many valuable insights and initiatives have been received from the team, which are already being implemented;
  • Team members know that their opinions influence processes in the company and that their voice is always important and will be heard; as a consequence, they readily share their ideas and doubts.

The transition to a remote format of work does not mean a decrease in loyalty or separation of the team. On the contrary, "remoteness" can become a catalyst for growth and help the team become more cohesive and expert – you just need to optimize communication channels.

Do you want to become a part of the BDC Consulting team? All current vacancies in the company are here.

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