Highly engaged employees are more productive, make fewer mistakes, and stick around much longer than disengaged employees.
Table of contents
- Why Is Employee Engagement So Important for Remote Employees?
- Use the Right Tools
- Communication is Essential
- Host Virtual Meetings
- Encourage Connections and Friendships
- Trust Your Employees
- Ask for Feedback
- Give Recognition
- Prioritize Employee Wellness and Personal Development
- Create Opportunities for Career Growth
- The Bottom Line on Engaging Remote Employees
Think of it as you will; remote work has become common in many industries and is likely here to stay. Even with the worst of the pandemic behind us, more companies continue to allow their employees to work from home.
While working remotely has its fair share of benefits, such as saving precious time and money on commutes and better work-life balance, there are also several drawbacks.
Not being in the office with their team can quickly make remote workers feel less engaged and connected to their company. And from here, it’s only a short way to hurting productivity, performance, and your bottom line.
Keep your team feeling valued and engaged by regularly implementing the tips we list below.
Why Is Employee Engagement So Important for Remote Employees?
Disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, 18% lower productivity, and 16% lower profitability. In the US alone, this costs $550 billion annually.
Your employees are not:
- Seeing their managers daily
- Necessarily in contact with their coworkers regularly
- Being as productive as they could be
When company leaders prioritize employee engagement, the company thrives. Employees are more productive and satisfied and stick around a lot longer.
You want to ensure they put their best foot forward, are satisfied with their job, and are around for the long haul.
Use the Right Tools
If your team isn’t using the right tools to manage and engage your employees, you’re tying one hand behind your back. There are hundreds of employee management and engagement tools available. Using these tools is especially important if your employees work in a hybrid role or remotely. You need to be able to fully engage them in the company and get an overview of their daily work. Connecteam is the #1 employee management tool on the market. Using Connecteam, you can completely change the way your employees operate, the way your employees feel, and you can keep your remote employees engaged.
- Assign tasks and schedule employees seamlessly using pre-made or custom templates, assigning repeating tasks, and creating open shifts. Clear scheduling clears up any misunderstandings about where to be and what work to do per shift. Combine shift assignments with notes, documents, forms, and any other relevant media to help your employees complete their tasks efficiently.
- Focus on engagement with features like updates, channels, private or group chat, and share company updates (safety reports, policy changes, etc.) and informal communication (birthday wishes, kudos, customer feedback, team recognition, work anniversaries, etc.)
- Get feedback from your employees at every turn with live polls, a suggestion box, and surveys. This creates an open door policy and keeps remote employees engaged as they have a direct line to share ideas with HR and management.
- Create group chats so that communication is a two-way street and everyone can join in. Or send company-wide messages and allow employees to engage with the message with likes and comments or share one-way announcements or content administration for key messages like policy changes.
- Don’t just share formal announcements, acknowledge star employees, start an employee of the month poll and celebrate the winner, share birthday wishes, share kudos for a job well done, and more. This is key when engaging remote employees!
Easily engage with your remote and hybrid employees!
Assign tasks, send out schedules, get feedback, improve communication, share announcements, and more!
TIP: Use the digital tool every day to effectively reach every single remote employee and keep them engaged.
Communication is Essential
Effective communication is essential in creating a united team. Employees must feel comfortable sharing their ideas and feelings with managers and coworkers.
You must create an effective communication strategy to reach every employee, do this by:
- Holding weekly “check-ins”
- Establish performance goals for the month, quarter, and year
- Set clear expectations for projects
- Company-wide chat where employees can collaborate and ask questions, share ideas, and chit-chat with one another
- Group channels should be created for each team to speak openly
- Encourage two-way communication – get feedback on projects, marketing strategy, customer satisfaction, and more
- Be transparent as possible when dealing with changes within the company
“To enable your remote staff to be independent and productive, you need to start by effectively communicating your mission, vision, and values in a way that resonates outside of just headquarters. As a result, they feel like a part of the company culture but succeed autonomously.” – Preethy Vaidyanathan, Tapad
There are a ton of chat and collaboration tools available to ease managing communication between remote and hybrid employees. Confirm that your chosen tool offers:
- Group and one-on-one chat options, including media sharing
- Real-time notifications, so your employees don’t miss an important update
- Employee directory to be able to contact anyone within the company
- Surveys and polls to ensure you are getting feedback
TIP: Ensure your team communication isn’t one-sided. Managers should not be the only ones talking – the goal is to engage employees and hear their voices.
Seamlessly Communicate With Your Remote Team
Simplify communication between team members and create a common space where everyone can discuss projects, brainstorm, chit-chat, and provide valuable feedback.
Listen to how a field service company with 200+ employees utilizes Connecteam for daily internal communication & engagement!
Host Virtual Meetings
When over half of all human communication is nonverbal, it’s critical that coworkers can see each other’s faces regularly, especially for important meetings.
There can be a lot of confusion around a text message or email, especially with no tone or body language to observe. A bit more can be understood by a phone call between employees and managers because at least you can hear their tone of voice. Still, the most effective way to communicate remotely is by video chat, where you can see each other’s body language and hear each other’s tone of voice.
“Today, so many companies have virtual offices and/or employees working remotely. Create opportunities for employees from all over the country to stay connected.” – Lori Paikin, NaviStone
Video calls are also beneficial for non-work-related events. Not every video call has to be work-related. It’s helpful for your employees to get to know each other personally. Employees with friends at work are more than twice as engaged as those without.
Host a variety of social events for your employees, such as:
- Holiday parties
- Virtual gaming events
- Birthday celebrations
- Open mic nights
- Book/movie clubs
TIP: Use an affordable or free solution to video chat with your remote employees.
Encourage Connections and Friendships
“It is easy to become isolated when working remotely. I reach out to individual team members regularly to solicit opinions on decisions I am making and to just chat about non-work-related things.” – Lisa Allocca, Red Javelin Communications
When you aren’t working under one roof, it can be challenging to connect with your coworkers. You don’t have the opportunity for the usual hi’s and bye’s that someone in an office does. It’s going to take effort to chat with one another.
A social feed creates a space for your team members to engage with one another that isn’t directly related to work 24/7. Give your employees a platform to chat as they would in a regular office environment so they can share life updates, chat about movies or TV shows, interesting news they found, and anything in-between.
Take it upon yourself to encourage employee friendships. Social events and communication lead to better retention, higher productivity, and overall employee satisfaction.
TIP: Host virtual team-building activities, happy hours, and meetups to better your company’s culture and increase engagement.
Trust Your Employees
Let’s look at this from two angles:
- Trusting your managers to manage their remote teams as they see fit
- Trusting your employees to get the job done
Trusting your managers
- Embrace creativity: Allow your manager’s room to embrace risk whenever trying new things
- Don’t micromanage: Give your managers the leeway to act however they view best. You would do the same if you saw each other daily at the office, so apply that same methodology to your remote workforce.
Trust your employees
- Flexibility: Trust their work schedule. If you are scheduling them for shifts, trust they will show up on time. If they create their own work schedules, trust that they will get their work done on time.
- Provide feedback: Employees want to know they are appreciated and when they are doing things right and wrong.
- Keep employees in the loop: Trust goes both ways. When you keep them informed, they trust you. Keep them up to date on new hires, goals met, positive customer reviews, new policies, team progress, etc.
Trust must be woven deep into your company culture to ensure you are always there for your team, no matter where they are. Building trust between all employees helps to keep them engaged, which increases productivity and employee satisfaction.
TIP: Whenever issues arise, address them immediately to ensure the trust isn’t broken on either side of the agreement.
Ask for Feedback
Feedback goes both ways. You give your employees feedback to help them reach their full potential and increase productivity, and they should give you feedback on how to be a better leader and better the company as a whole.
When an employee gives feedback, you have to act on it. If an employee gives lots of feedback and nothing is done about it, they will likely stop sharing their ideas in the future.
When employees feel their voices are being heard, they are more likely to raise issues and contribute to a positive work environment. A great way to receive feedback is through surveys. Ask your employees what you could improve on, what they’re having a hard time with, and how the company can help them do their jobs better.
Don’t wait for annual reviews. Make sure you are giving and getting feedback regularly to improve the company constantly. Feedback can be related to anything, including new training ideas, fun team activities, improving customer satisfaction, etc.
TIP: Don’t just listen to employee feedback – act on it. Make sure they know you care about their thoughts and ideas, so they continue sharing in the future.
A raise is great, but it’s not the only way you can show your employees that they’re doing a great job. Sharing positive feedback, glowing customer reviews, a shout-out when a project goes well, and more – this goes a long way.
“Being generous with public praise and acknowledgment of remote employees helps make sure their work is recognized and is a signal to coworkers that they’re pulling their weight,” Mark Mortensen, an associate professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD.Showing your appreciation is a simple yet effective way to motivate and engage your remote employees. Studies show that money doesn’t keep an employee long-term, but company culture does. If you want to reduce turnover, you need to celebrate your employees for their ideas and accomplishments and give them an opportunity for career development.
TIP: Use a digital tool to help you publicly recognize employees for a job well done, celebrate milestones, and reward them when you see fit.
Create a buzz around employee accomplishments
Recognize and reward employees for their achievements, milestones, and celebrations on a public company forum. Have coworkers congratulate and celebrate each other’s victories!
Prioritize Employee Wellness and Personal Development
Employee health should be a priority. When employees are at their best, they are producing their best. Employee health not only benefits the company’s bottom line but also improves the connection you have with your employees. When they feel like they matter to the company personally, they are more likely to stay at the company longer and work harder.
There are many wellness programs you can implement:
- Make mindful breaks a priority
- Offer courses for employees to better their personal growth
- Create physical health challenges like 30-day yoga challenges or running groups
- Offer comprehensive health benefits that include therapy
- Ensure your employees are setting clear limits to better their work-life balance
TIP: Company budgets don’t always allow for all of these programs, so be creative with your wellness programs. Ask employees what they want to see in the future to promote their mental and physical health.
Create Opportunities for Career Growth
Almost 90% of millennials say that having opportunities for learning and growing are important to them in a job. It should also be important to you. Employees that strive to learn more and develop professionally are a huge asset to your company. Companies that provide career growth opportunities retain their workers for longer and differentiate themselves from competitors.
You can help to facilitate these opportunities for your employees by:
- Encouraging mentoring and job shadowing to help newer employees learn from more seasoned employees and to breathe fresh ideas into the older employees
- Create career maps for interested employees so you can stay in touch with their aspirations and expectations and so they can visualize a future at your company
- Build courses to help with on-the-go job training and continued education
TIP: If an employee wants to learn, work with them to find a suitable way to teach them. Employees who voice their desire to learn are worth a lot more than those who think they know everything.
The Bottom Line on Engaging Remote Employees
When looking into how to engage remote employees and how to keep remote employees engaged, remember that it’s a constant task to nurture and develop. Engagement is never a one-and-done task that you can check off your to-do list. Engaged employees are your biggest asset. Make sure you keep up to date on ways to engage remote workers.