How to Increase Employee Engagement for Remote Employees?
With so much of corporate America becoming virtual, maintaining company culture and employee engagement is becoming increasingly difficult. The work from home life has reduced life interactions significantly and in some cases, in-person experiences have been eliminated.
Figuring out ways to build teams, inspire employees, and keep productivity levels high is a tall order for managers and HR professionals. Thinking creatively and outside the box is what it will take to ease growing pains during this style transition and keep employees on task without becoming disengaged.
4 Ways to Engage and Connect with Your Remote Employees
1. Ease Stressors
Major changes in the workplace can lead to individuals feeling the heat in other areas of their lives as a result. Creating an open forum for your employees to come to you with issues not specific to projects or actionable items will give them the opportunity to communicate openly about topics that may affect their work. Finances are typically the main source of stress.
With the ebb and flow of the current economic climate, team members may be left wondering if their name is next on the furlough list. Providing assistance that falls within your company policy while still providing guidance is a good way to keep the conversation general but remain helpful.
Student debt is a good example of a general topic to bring to the table. Learn about your company’s specific stance on student loan repayment and start there. Once people are in the groove of paying their monthly loan payment, they can go on autopilot and continue to stress about the bill, feeling without options.
Show them that there are options and that they are not one size fits all. If your organization does not have any type of program in place that you can highlight, alternate options for payment reduction can still be discussed.
Refinancing is a good place to start. You can refinance your existing student loans with a private lender in order to save money on your monthly expenses. With interest rates always changing, give your employees tips for how they can apply to refinance possibilities to their specific loan terms.
A refi calculator is a low commitment tool available online and easily accessible that allows candidates to play around with numbers and rates to see potential changes to their specific monthly total. Once people feel like they have options it can create a larger sense of control over their circumstances which will ultimately lead to a reduction in stress.
2. Virtual Socializing
For some, going into the office provided a social opportunity that they thrived in. Removing that opportunity can make some feel isolated, and frankly, bored, and boredom significantly decreases productivity. Creating opportunities to keep in touch in a social capacity with the people that they used to share office space with every day will help to maintain a sense of normalcy as everyone adjusts to this new reality.
Virtual coffee breaks, lunches, and happy hours can be a great way to break up the day and allow people to have conversations that are not task-oriented. Encouraging people to show their personalities with themed activities, or even contests create built-in conversation topics so that even the less outgoing employees can participate and feel engaged.
3. Provide Access
A huge benefit of online culture is that people can have a larger outreach than they formally had with in-person working. Specifically, regarding superiors. Historically upper-level management, and owners, have not been available for easy access, creating a divide between them and the people that work for them. Use work from home to your advantage and encourage the higher-ups at your company to host meetings, online forums, or even social events.
Creating commonality and access across the board makes employees feel like they part of a community instead of a department or tier. In large companies, some employees may have never even seen the owner’s face or heard their voice. If top-level executives show a willingness and excitement to participate in the day to day operations, employees will feel motivated to produce for them. A reduction in informality does not have to equate to a reduction in seniority, however, adjusting the approach can make a huge difference.
4. Encourage Feedback
With in-person workspaces, employees are less likely to discuss concerns and provide suggestions for increasing the workplace experience. Remote work gives more opportunity for them to use their voice to discuss these topics.
As businesses transition to work from home, there will inevitably be growing pains. Do not only allow team members to talk about these growing pains, encourage it. Be the person to initiate the conversation so that individual employees do not have to.
By doing so you are removing the stigma of complaint and disagreement from these topics and making them more general, giving way for less controversial participation. Taking the ideas of the people going through the motions of this transition into consideration is invaluable because they are based on real-life examples, not hypothetical scenarios that can feel inapplicable.