4 Research-Backed Tips to Better Engage and Retain Remote Employees
While it is not easy to engage and retain employees, it is even more difficult to engage and retain remote employees.
Employee engagement training has emerged as a force that can significantly impact your bottom line. Engaged workers are over 40% more productive and effective than their unengaged counterparts. High levels of engagement are not simply numbers to brag about; they are what can propel your business far ahead of your competition.
And yet…there’s a new challenge. One of the greatest changes in the workforce over the last decade or two is the creation of virtual teams. No longer do employees have to be together geographically in order to be a critical and contributing member of a team. Today, especially, when so many organizations are depending upon teams to deliver on their strategy, the importance of keeping team members who are distributed across time lines and cultures feel connected to one another has increased significantly.
Feeling connected is fundamental to feeling engaged.
The critical question becomes: How do you effectively engage and retain remote employees?
The answer is actually not very different from the way you can effectively engage and retain employees who work at the same location. The key is to find ways to foster a sense of belonging and inclusiveness and to show that you value your employees for what they contribute no matter where they reside.
- Use technology to your advantage
Fortunately just as teams were spreading out geographically, technology provided some cool ways to feel more connected. There are a variety of communication apps that go beyond email as a communication tool. Use these face-to-face technologies to connect on a more personal level. Your remote employees will feel more a part of the headquarter office environment and, with face and body language on the screen, there are less apt to be misunderstandings.
- Find ways to get together
Whenever it’s feasible, sponsor opportunities to gather together. There is no substitute for face-to-face interactions when you want to build and strengthen relationships. Bring field employees back to base as often as you can to talk informally with their team mates. And bring overseas workers together at least annually to forge the bonds of professional teaming. Give your virtual teams occasions to share best practices, trouble shoot problems and come up with new and better ways of doing things.
- Share information
One of the greatest complaints of remote employees from our employee engagement survey data is that they feel out of the mainstream. They don’t know what’s going on…not just at the team level but at the leadership level as well. Knowledge sharing is a key to keeping them engaged and connected. Remote employees should be well aware of changes in strategy, personnel, projects and priorities. Keep them up to date if you want to engage and retain remote workers.
- Recognize and reward their contribution
You may not be able to give your remote employees a physical pat on the back but you can call them out for a job well done at your next video conference. Make sure that their team mates are well aware that remote team members, though out of sight, are also responsible for the team’s progress toward goals.
If you want to learn more about how to engage and retain remote employees, download The Only 16-Step Employee Retention Strategy You Need