Employee demands are changing at a blistering pace. With rapid penetration of connected devices today, the notion of “going to work” is less about working at a particular location then getting work done anytime, anywhere through online collaboration. According to our research, employers who allow employees to work from remote locations or home, stand a better chance to attract great talent.
With 41% of workforce expected to work from home in the next nine years and 13.4 million people already working from home, one thing is clear- organisations that leverage remote teams will be more productive and balanced.
Not only that, companies that succeed in building thriving and highly engaged remote teams will enjoy employee retention gain, better access to rare talent, greater flexibility in responding to opportunities, and reduced costs. Despite how advantageous this may sound, transforming the growing remote workforce trend into marketable HR benefit creates a new and urgent need to build robust employee engagement strategies. Let’s take took a look three approaches that companies can take to engage their remote teams successfully.
Build digital communities
Make remote employees feel like they are a part of the team by setting up closed groups, online communities, social collaboration tools and chat clients. To get the best out of your remote teams, it is critical that they get to share ideas with rest of the team. One way to do this is to encourage frequent communication through real-time communication platforms such as Slack or Skype. This helps builds employee trust, engages teams and lays the groundwork for innovation. Another approach is to gamify teamwork by encouraging healthy competition to build a sense of collaboration and cooperation.
Dedicate an engagement specialist
Remote workforce means diversity. But most efforts to engage a diverse workforce often progress at a painfully slow pace due to lack of variety in engagement programs. One way to resolve this is to develop a remote work program suited to a distributed workforce, and dedicating an engagement specialist who virtually coordinates and sets global team expectations. Think about organising retreats where remote teams can come together to cook, interact and play games. Such engagements facilitate in-person communication and can be instrumental in developing a common vision for achieving the company’s goals.
Build individual strengths
Engagement efforts that are not directed towards building individual strengths may not yield the employee performance you are looking for. This means you need to sit down with each employee to understand their strengths and interests, and then build individual development activities. In addition, engagement programs should provide a roadmap to employees that include quantifiable goals and a realistic timeframe to accomplish those goals. Every so often, send out an employee engagement survey to gauge the effectiveness of the program. An added advantage is this approach helps identify focus areas for engagement and enables employees to resolve specific challenges they face while pursuing tasks.
The key to successful remote employee engagement lies in leveraging strategies, practices and technologies to give business leaders insights into employee activities while giving employees a peek into what’s happening at the office. At the end of the day, a common sense of purpose, community and belonging is what brings teams closer together and motivates them to give their best.