Remote Employee Engagement
Overcoming Challenges of Remote Employee Engagement
Employee engagement refers to the intensity of the emotional commitment between the employee and organization. It is often measured through productivity, creativity, longevity and tenure. Remote employee engagement is incredibly similar, referring to employee engagement in organizations with a virtual, remote work environment. Many HR professionals wonder how to engage employees in an environment with little interaction, barriers to communication and distance between people.
Why Is Remote Employee Engagement Important?
Employee engagement has an impact on multiple areas in an organization. It impacts:
Culture and company success.
The Challenges of Remote Employee Engagement
There are many challenges for employers striving to keep remote employees engaged.
Measuring Remote Employee Engagement. Engagement is a compilation of emotions toward the organization. Distance and communication barriers stand in the way of understanding employee experiences and measuring their engagement. Engagement surveys are not always the answer. Leaders must rely on communication with employees as well as the symptoms of engagement (productivity, innovation, tenure, etc.) to gather a broad view of the degree to which employees are engaged.
Distractions and Disruptions. Many employers worry that their employees will struggle with distractions and disruptions when they work remotely. This fear is not unwarranted. It is important to note that not all distractions are bad. Distractions can often be beneficial for an individual as they take time out of the day to handle issues that crop up. This in turn helps individuals stay more focused when their full attention is needed.
Ineffective Tools. While most organizations strive to understand employee engagement, many fail to measure it properly because their measurement methods evaluate the wrong aspect or they have insufficient resources to properly understand engagement.
Lack of Understanding Why. One of the greatest challenges of keeping remote employees engaged is discovering why employees become disengaged in the first place. Because employee engagement is centered on multiple emotions (satisfaction, loyalty, purposefulness, freedom to be oneself, etc.), it is incredibly challenging for employers to pinpoint exactly when disengagement begins.
Tips for Engaging Your Remote Employees:
Some remote employers struggle to find ways to further engage their workforce. Here are 5 tips for increasing engagement with your remote employees.
Tip 1: Connect: Personal connections are critical to team and organizational success. Leaders can connect with remote employees by scheduling time to get to know them through one-on-one meetings, playing games together, asking questions, having casual hang outs, or hosting team building activities.
Tip 2: Empathize: Many leaders are naturally problem-solvers. They jump straight to developing solutions when employees become disengaged at work. It is important to recognize and remember that employee engagement is centered on emotions. In a remote environment, leaders can ask employees individually how they feel at work or about what fulfills them in their job and then find ways to encourage that fulfillment.
Tip 3: Inform and Communicate: When employers fail to inform employees of organizational changes, engagement can suffer. There are many ways to communicate with employees, including video meetings, audio calls and chat platforms. It is critical to pay attention to our virtual communication verbal and nonverbal. Remote nonverbal communication may include eye contact, tone of voice, facial expressions, hand gestures and posture.
Tip 4: Provide: Many remote employees become disengaged because they lack clear expectations and/or tools for success. When remote employers provide clear expectations for employees, they reduce unnecessary communication that could get lost in translation.
Tip 5: Recognize: Recognition is a powerful tool to empower and engage remote employees. Celebrating employee “wins” can increase engagement. When employees are celebrated for their successes, whether great or small, they are often more inclined to remain with the organization and work harder to earn those celebrations.
Remote Employee Engagement Ideas
Now that we understand the foundational principles, practices and mindsets critical to increase remote employee engagement, let’s dive into specific ideas. This section includes ideas for understanding why employees become disengaged, making work more engaging and increasing remote employees’ internal desire to remain engaged.
Understand Remote Employee Engagement
As previously mentioned, one of the greatest challenges to keeping remote employees engaged is discovering why employees become disengaged in the first place. This can be accomplished through a number of ways.
One-on-ones. Conducting one-on-one communication with employees can help leaders understand what they are going through.
Focus groups. This method has been proven to be incredibly effective for understanding employee engagement.
Engagement surveys. Employee opinion surveys can be incredibly insightful for employers to understand engagement.
Exit interviews. Exit interviews are a great way to understand why employees who leave became disengaged.
Make the Work More Engaging
To increase remote employee engagement, employers can strive to make the work more engaging through a number of methods.
Gamification and competitions. In a remote environment, leaders can create competitions or fun by adding points to employees’ tasks to increase their engagement.
Being on camera. When employees see their leaders and peers, they can develop further relationships with each other.
Motivational committees. These committees can create games, hold spirit weeks and provide insight as to why employees may become disengaged.
Increase Employees’ Internal Engagement
Increasing remote employees’ internal engagement is one of the hardest things to do in this regard. Here are a few ways to increase internal engagement.
Discern employee values. When employers can discern what employees value in their job and tailor the work to those values, they build upon employees’ internal engagement.
Set realistic goals. When employees feel that the goals set for them are unattainable, they tend to shut down and become disengaged.
Celebrate little wins. Everyone likes to have a sense of purpose and growth in their life.