BECOME A PARTNER
When we’re talking about employee engagement, we refer to a state where employees feel an emotional commitment to the company they work for, as well as for the company goals and its mission. Engaged employees are enthusiastic about their job, carry out their tasks with a high level of dedication, and don’t mind going the extra mile.
In recent years, employee engagement has become one of the top priorities for HR leaders, and for a good reason. Numerous studies and articles show that high employee engagement leads to better productivity rates, improved performance, lower employee turnover, higher service quality, more revenue, and ultimately enhances company success.
However, what sounds great in theory is hard to achieve in practice. Keeping the engagement rate in your organization up is always a difficult endeavor and requires a lot of effort from the managerial side, but it’s especially hard with a remote team. That’s because remote employees are at a greater risk of feeling disconnected from their colleagues and the company they work for, since they aren’t physically present at the office.
Fostering employee engagement is a priority for remote-first companies. In this blog post, we’ll show you 13 different ideas on how to keep remote employees engaged and motivated.
The State Of Work
Driving remote employee engagement should be a top priority throughout all the stages of the employment relationship. Rather than leaving your employees to themselves, only to try and engage them at a later moment, you should make sure they feel welcomed and valued right from the start. A structured onboarding process is key to ensure employees settle in smoothly. This includes:
Having the necessary documents in order
Outlining the role and responsibilities
Arranging access to all the tools the new team member might need
Appointing a mentor, or asking a fellow team member to provide the new employee with all the information they need
Hosting a welcome meeting to introduce the new worker to the rest of the team
Reaching out to them after a week or so to see how they’ve settled into their new role
Remote work is more than just working from home. If employees can carry out their work from within the walls of their house or apartment, then they should be able to work from wherever they like. Unfortunately, this isn’t quite so easy in practice because of the tax implications and legal consequences working remotely from abroad can entail.
Nethertheless, remote work offers many opportunities for employees to spend some time abroad and live in a foreign country while carrying on with their normal job. If you want to keep your remote team engaged and ensure their commitment to your company, you should make sure to offer your remote team the support they need to turn their dreams of working abroad into reality. For instance, you can advise them on countries that offer remote work visas. Providing support for remote employee relocation is equally highly valued among virtual teams.
One of the key drivers of commitment is purpose. To keep remote workers engaged, you must make sure they see the purpose in their work. This includes opening up opportunities for professional training and personal development. Not having any possibilities to climb the career ladder is a sure death sentence to employee engagement.
Make sure you give your remote team the chance to take part in online courses to develop their skills. Either provide each employee with a budget to use on online or external courses, or provide an online learning center with different pre-purchased courses. Setting up an internal mentoring program is also a good idea, since it gives employees the chance to connect with one another and to share their skills and experience.
Working remotely in itself is already a valuable benefit you can offer your employees. But if you want to keep your remote team engaged, you have to go further than just allowing them to work from home. Give your employees the possibility to arrange their working hours in a schedule that works best for them.
Flexible working hours are a great incentive for employees and go naturally with remote working arrangements. In order not to disturb internal workflows and team collaboration, you can set certain core office hours where everyone should be available. The rest should be flexible. In this way, you can also show your team that you trust them.
Successful remote work largely depends on whether your team has access to the tools they need to complete their tasks. When equipping their teams for remote work, organizations usually try to compromise between team needs and cost. However, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t try to cut down on your tools and equipment budget for your remote team.
Remote work requires several additional tools compared to traditional office work. Reliable communication tools are the minimum standard you need to facilitate remote work. But keep in mind that it takes more than just the bare minimum to foster employee engagement. If your team is lacking the right tools, work will slowly but surely turn into frustration, which is a killer for engagement and employee happiness.
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It’s human nature to strive for recognition for what we’ve accomplished. In fact, the 2020 Employee Engagement Trends Report by Quantum Workplace showed that employee recognition is a top driver for employee engagement. Whether it’s the successful conclusion of a project, the way a team member handled a difficult client, or the extra hours put in to meet a deadline, show your team that you value their efforts.
This can be a simple thank you or a few nice words to compliment them on their performance. Great achievements and outstanding performance can also be honored by congratulating the respective employee in the next team meeting. These small gestures can have a major impact on employee engagement, since your team will feel valued and respected.
Virtual meetings may not be the same as meeting their colleagues in person, but it’s still nice for remote employees to see their coworkers’ faces on screen. This not only gives you a chance to check on everybody, but it also helps prevent isolation and loneliness. Plus, you can incorporate small virtual team building activities in your meetings.
Fostering team spirit in remote teams is crucial for keeping up engagement rates and there’s an incredible range of team building activities for remote teams out there. Virtual icebreakers, online games and virtual social hangouts are just some of the activities you can choose to boost your team’s morale and bring them closer together. When it comes to strengthening team connections and encouraging social interaction, anything goes.
Stuck for ideas on how to bring your remote team closer together? Check out our list of the best virtual team building activities for remote teams in 2022.
This is another way of showing your remote team that you care. Make sure new hires feel valued and like part of the team right from the beginning of their employment by sending them a little welcome package. To keep the spirits up, you can post Christmas parcels to your employees to make up for the fact that hosting a Christmas party may not be possible with a globally distributed team. No need for big, expensive presents. A simple little gift showing that you put some thought into it and a hand-signed Christmas card can go a long way in boosting employee engagement.
Many reports and studies on remote work have shown that the majority of employees don’t want to return to the office, but prefer working remotely. However, working at least partly at the office can help prevent negative effects of remote work such as loneliness, isolation and the feeling of being disconnected. According to the 2021 State of Remote Work by OwlLabs, 78% of employees who returned to the office after working remotely felt more included. Give your remote employees the choice whether they want to return to the office or not, and offer hybrid working arrangements.
Another way to engage remote teams is to involve them in projects to improve the workplace culture and work environment. If improvement initiatives are driven and carried out by the management only, your employees might get the impression that their opinion doesn’t count and that you don’t value their point of view. Therefore, reach out to your remote employees to get their feedback on how things are going, what needs to be improved and how you can get there.
Employee engagement is largely linked to wellbeing, both in terms of mental and physical health. Employees who don’t feel at their best, won’t be able to deliver great results. Loneliness and isolation have been repeatedly cited as two of the main challenges of remote work. Companies must therefore take action to support the mental health of their remote workers. Offering mental support, virtual counseling sessions, online yoga classes and workshops are just some ideas on how to achieve this.
For more ideas and input on how to support mental health in remote teams, check out our related blog post.
Leadership is one of the most influential factors for employee engagement. An authentic and enthusiastic leader will create commitment among team members to the mission and vision represented by the company. But there’s more to say about leadership and employee engagement. Leading a remote team requires a particular level of empathy. Make sure your team knows that your “virtual door” is always open and that they can always come to you if they have doubts or problems. Also, try to check-in with everyone on a regular basis to see if everyone is doing okay. Showing them you care will strengthen their commitment to the organization and push them to do their best.
One last way to keep remote employees engaged is to keep them in the loop of what’s going on in the company. When working remotely, employees tend to get absorbed in their own little microcosmos of tasks, which makes it easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, which is the company’s mission and everything it stands for. Send your team regular updates on what stage important projects are at and what’s happening next, and share exciting company news.
In this article, we’ve given you a whole list of strategies to engage remote employees. Although each approach is unique in itself, they basically all come down to the same principle: If you want your remote workers to be committed to their job and the organization, you have to show them that you’re committed to their wellbeing too.
Putting all the advice on how to keep remote workers engaged into practice is, however, a totally different story. Not least because there are many other challenges linked to managing a globally distributed team. Processing payroll for different countries, paying employees and contractors in different regions of the world and making sure you comply with all local laws and regulations is such an overwhelming task that it can quickly take over everything else.
With Lano’s global employment and payroll platform, managing and paying your global team becomes easier than ever. Our global solutions allow you to compliantly manage international contractors and hire full-time employees in over 170 countries without establishing a legal entity, consolidate global payroll for all your entities in one single platform and make international payments in 28 different currencies. Put payroll, hiring and payments on autopilot and focus on keeping your remote team engaged. Book a demo with us to learn more.
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