Unless your company already had remote workers, this past year and a half have probably been a little bit of a culture shock. It can be difficult for workers who have only ever been in the office to learn how to communicate effectively when they’re no longer in the same room as their coworkers. And although 78 percent of remote employees report high engagement levels (higher than 72 percent of in-office workers), managers may struggle to see that engagement. For managers looking to ensure their remote employees stay engaged with the company, here are a few strategies to employ.
Remote employee engagement strategies
- Don’t micromanage
- Praise and reward employees often
- Use collaboration software with instant messaging
- Set up virtual extracurricular activities
- Keeping remote employees engaged long-term
Very few things can push employees away faster than feeling micromanaged. While it can be tempting to check in on remote employees often to make sure they’re completing their work, employees require a certain level of trust to keep them engaged. Terina Allen, CEO of ARVis Institute, explains in her Forbes article, “When you micromanage employees, you send the message that you either don’t trust your team, or you don’t trust yourself.”
“When you micromanage employees, you send the message that you either don’t trust your team, or you don’t trust yourself.” – Terina Allen, CEO of ARVis Institute
Trust is a two-way street, and if you don’t trust your employees, they won’t know if they can trust you. And if you don’t trust yourself, they definitely can’t. Instead of micromanaging, use performance management software with your employees, so you can actually measure how much work they’re doing and the quality of that work. If you trusted someone enough to hire them, let them keep that trust unless they do something to lose it.
Praise and reward employees often
It’s easy for remote employees to feel like their managers and peers are overlooking their achievements, especially if managers aren’t vocal about their appreciation. But employee recognition is crucial to getting the best from your team. In fact, 37 percent of workers said that frequent recognition for their personal achievements would encourage them to produce better work.
This praise doesn’t have to be expensive. While tangible rewards are great, especially when employees go above and beyond, verbal or written praise can sometimes provide just as much satisfaction. Employee engagement software that includes a recognition component, like 15Five or Assembly, can allow you to recognize your employees often and publicly, while also giving coworkers a space to appreciate and thank each other. Some employee recognition programs even allow employees to exchange their reward points for tangible rewards, like gift cards.
Use collaboration software with instant messaging
Because remote employees aren’t physically present with their coworkers, they can miss out on some of the casual conversations that happen around the office. But the ability to instantly message their teammates gives some of this camaraderie back and allows employees to get to know each other apart from just their role.
Many collaboration tools, like Slack or Microsoft Teams, offer instant messaging and the ability to create channels. These channels allow employees to collaborate on projects, share important team information, or simply talk about shared interests. Some of the casual channels we have in our TechnologyAdvice Slack account revolve around book suggestions, dog and cat pictures, and art we’ve created. They’re a great way to get to know people on other teams or in other locations, and it makes us feel more connected as a whole.
Set up virtual extracurricular activities
Just like the casual conversations, remote employees can also miss out on extracurricular activities that in-office employees can take advantage of, including happy hours and company-sponsored sports teams. But one of the few bright spots that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic is that there are now tons of companies offering virtual events to help organizations bring their teams together, but you can also set up your own.
Web conferencing software, like Zoom, has allowed TechnologyAdvice to host monthly virtual events, including a virtual escape room, a magic show, and a charcuterie board class. These events help us shake off some of the stress that work brings and enjoy time together doing something fun. The events don’t have to be lavish—even a virtual happy hour or game can provide the same level of engagement.
Keeping remote employees engaged long-term
Employee engagement isn’t a one-and-done endeavor. It has to be a regular part of your company culture or your workers will identify it for the phony ploy that it is. Give employees the freedom and trust they need to do their job effectively and couple that with regular praise and connection with their coworkers. By keeping employees engaged for the long term, you can avoid a high turnover rate and the costs that come with it.
To find the best employee engagement software for your company, use our Product Selection Tool. After answering a few short questions, you’ll get a customized list of software recommendations.
And if you’re looking for a new role with a company that truly values employee satisfaction, TechnologyAdvice is currently hiring for a number of roles across the business. Check out all of our open positions on our careers page.