Technology in the workplace today creates an expansive and flexible environment. It’s also a new platform to engage your employees. At E Group, we’ve found some proven strategies for engaging a remote workforce that we’ve helped our clients implement and have used in practice in our own office.
There is great value in having employees in the office for face-to-face interactions and meetings, but there are some additional benefits to allowing your employees to work remotely. This can range from simply allowing your employees to work remotely due to weather or a long commute, or it can be as broad as hiring someone to permanently work remotely from another location. When immediate locale is no longer a hurdle, it can expand your talent pool dramatically.
Here are a five proven strategies for engaging a remote workforce.
1. Keep Communication Lines Open.
Use technology and social media to enhance the team’s relationship with platforms such as instant messaging, screen sharing, and webinars. It’s often better to over-communicate than to loose touch and not have a clear understanding of an employee’s projects. Schedule regular meetings to avoid this common pitfall. Taking the time to discuss successful projects or potential hiccups help employees that work remotely stay engaged and makes them feel they are an equal part of the team.
2. Apply Gamification Tactics.
Gamification has become popular for companies wanting to encourage loyalty and engagement in a fun way. Encouraging competition helps build a sense of collaboration and cooperation from employees while also inspiring employees to contribute and solve problems. For example, you can host an internal competition to build a new campaign or brainstorm a solution to an issue. Ideas can be posted online for employee voting, and the wining idea can receive an internal recognition. This helps remote employees feel like they are part of a team.
3. Create a Virtual Employee Recognition Program.
All employees can access a virtual program from any location at any time. As with most recognition programs employees can highlight achievements of another colleague or a manager can recognize an employee for their efforts, but by making it accessible virtually, it doesn’t matter if the employee is half way across the world to give or receive an award. This also opens up flexibility in redeeming the rewards, as they can be catered to the employee’s locale and can be spent in the area that makes the most sense for the employee. By including all employees in this program it helps level out the playing field and engage employees that work remotely.
4. Trust Your Employees.
What are my employees doing when I can’t seem them working in the office? This is a question that many employers struggle with. Employers must trust that their employees are continuing to work hard even when they are not physically in the office. If the employee is typically known as a diligent worker and their deadlines are continually met when working in the office, then it’s important to trust them to maintain this quality, accountability, and work ethic when working outside of the main office. It is an earned privilege and one that will ultimately help keep your employees engaged and happy.
5. Advance Employee Talent.
A prominent concern for a remote employee can be related to their career path. An employee may feel limited in growth opportunities or they may feel that they have to relocate to be considered for advancement. Discuss options with the remote employee on an annual basis and be open to new possibilities. It’s also important to invest in training opportunities for remote employees. This can be as simple as a cost effective online training course or as robust as a weeklong industry conference. Either effort can let an employee know that you are invested in their growth and future with the organization.
At E Group, we understand you might be nervous about having remote workers. However, following these five strategies can help strengthen relationships with remote employees and encourage engagement within the entire organization. Utilize the technology available to make the connections as seamless as possible. We also recommend reading 3 Best Practices for Improving Culture in the Workplace. If you would like to talk with us about how to engage your remote workforce, contact us and we would be happy to help you.