Tips For Engaging Remote Workers
More and more frequently, we hear the phrase “employee engagement,” especially those of us who are managers or team leaders. And studies show that this not only helps with retention but also leads to higher worker productivity. Maintaining engagement of employees is hard enough, but what if a significant portion of your workforce is global or remote? Figuring out practical solutions isn’t easy, but companies can reap big rewards if they make the effort.
At Redbooth, our team includes people in California, Barcelona, and several locations all over the world. Here are some key strategies we use to make sure everyone’s connected and engaged:
Foster team unity
It’s important for people to feel that they are an integral part of the team and larger company. Since remote workers aren’t in the main office, they often feel isolated and disconnected from the day-to-day action. Make sure they know that their contributions are essential to the overall company’s success. When a new remote worker joins the team, make both an email and face-to-face video conference introduction whenever possible. It’s also good to have virtual spaces where team members can connect socially, whether it’s a message board, wiki, or chat room. You might also consider pairing them with a mentor or seasoned member of the team to bring them into the fold.
Keep remote team members in the loop
Frequent communication is key with remote workers. Sometimes it’s easy to forget to include them when you don’t see them every day. Don’t forget to loop them in on important conversations, emails and other communications. Also, schedule a weekly one-on-one meeting so that you can touch base regularly. This can help you avoid miscommunications or crossed wires about work expectations. Let remote workers know they can reach out at any time and make yourself available for questions or feedback.
Use technology to stay in sync
With remote workers, it’s especially important for them to be able to work closely with the entire team, even when they’re not in the same office. Managers also need visibility into what they’re working on — while resisting the temptation to micromanage the process. By using project management solutions, collaboration platforms, and document sharing tools, like Google Docs or Dropbox, employees can work together easily. Here at Redbooth, we use our own project management software to organize work, manage individual tasks, and communicate with our team.
Check in with your virtual team often to see how things are doing. Regular praise and shout-outs are important as well. Make sure to recognize any big achievements and publicly announce those to the team. Another great way to encourage engagement is by setting up an employee appreciation program. Team members can submit anonymous feedback calling out someone for exceptional performance or teamwork.
Nothing beats face-to-face
In the end, real-life interaction is an essential part of making remote workers feel engaged. Whenever there are major company-wide events, such as kickoffs and holiday parties, try to bring the entire remote workforce to participate. Additionally, make sure to fly in remote workers several times a year so that they can work in the office. That way, they’ll be able to get to know co-workers better and get a feel for what things are like at headquarters. Don’t forget to take advantage of their time in the office by arranging team-building activities and other casual social gatherings.
By using these strategies, you can help your remote workforce feel less isolated and more connected to your company. And a more connected employee is one that is more engaged, and ultimately more productive!