Boost Employee Engagement in a Work-from-Anywhere Environment
Employee engagement is one of the most important yet undervalued measures of business success. According to Gallup, highly engaged businesses have 59% less turnover and are also 21% more profitable. Engaged employees work more efficiently, stay longer with the company, and are more motivated to bring their best ideas to work.
But with many teams working in distributed offices, remotely or in a hybrid environment, maintaining engagement is tougher than ever before. Many of the in-person interactions that would happen naturally in an office setting are absent from a work-from-anywhere environment. As a result, many workers feel disconnected from their colleagues and company, miss out on important information, and find it challenging to synchronize their efforts with the rest of the team.
Maintaining employee engagement with a distributed workforce requires extra muscle, but it is not impossible to achieve. Technology can be your best tool for keeping your whole team connected. Learn how a few small changes in how your team interacts on a daily basis can significantly boost employee satisfaction, regardless of where your staff is working from.
Keep Your Team Informed
Strong communication is one of the main pillars of employee engagement. When your staff occupies the same office space, staying in the loop is not particularly challenging. They learn new information from meetings, informal interactions with colleagues, a company bulletin board, or even from involuntarily overhearing some of their team’s conversations. When they have questions, they can also easily “pop in” to someone’s office for a quick conversation.
But when some of your team works remotely with many of their usual communication channels unavailable, they can easily start to feel disconnected. Provide your staff with opportunities to connect with their colleagues and company digitally to ensure that their level of engagement doesn’t suffer.
- Weekly inter-departmental calls can give your staff a good platform to discuss projects when the more spontaneous discussions of an office setting are unavailable. Use screen sharing software to ensure that everyone is on the same page during the conversation.
- Ensure that your conferencing technology can successfully connect your in-office and remote staff, so that everyone can participate in discussions meaningfully.
- A virtual open-door policy is also a great way to encourage conversations and allows your staff to get their questions answered through a quick phone call or chat message.
- Don’t forget to check on some of your newer or introverted team members once in a while, as they may be too shy to start the conversation on their own. But ensure that the number of check-ins doesn’t go over the threshold that your staff perceives as micromanagement or continuous verification.
Provide a Clarity of Vision
According to Gallup, highly engaged organizations share a common vision, treating employees as stakeholders of the company’s future. A clarity of business objectives and values helps teams understand what they are working toward and why they are doing the work in the first place – both incredibly important for employee engagement and morale.
But in a distributed work environment, delivering these messages to employees may be more challenging. Rethink how you are communicating your goals and values to your team and use the technology at your disposal to help spread the message to remote employees.
- Ensure that your team is regularly reminded of your Mission, Vision and Values. You can make them easily accessible on your website, give them prime real-estate on your employee portal, or you can even include them in the standardized company signature.
- Regularly organized company-wide video conferences not only keep your staff informed but enable your leadership team to share and reiterate the company vision to your staff. Highlighting business goals, initiatives, and some of the main projects teams are working on can go a long way in helping remote workers understand the company direction, and feel that they are part of something larger.
- Ensure that your team knows how to put your directions into action. When working toward a shared mission, providing clear and actionable instructions will help your team implement and work toward your business objectives in their daily work.
Create Space for Personal Connections
For most employees, positive interpersonal relationships are an important measure of job satisfaction and affect their level or engagement. Employees who feel connected to their peers, respected and emotionally secure are more likely to bring forward innovative ideas, and are also more comfortable raising alarms when needed.
But when you have a distributed workforce, interactions that foster these personal connections are among the first to go. Without the physical proximity provided by an office space or the opportunity for a spontaneous chat by the coffee machine, your staff may find it challenging or awkward to call their colleagues just to check in. Providing your team with opportunities to make up for these lost interactions digitally can go a long way in fostering the sense of camaraderie.
- Make time for personal interactions, whether you allocate a few minutes to catching up before each call or organize recurring team happy hours over video conference.
- Make interactions as similar to in-person conversations as possible. Video conferencing or emojis in a chat conversation can make up for some of the nonverbal cues lost in phone calls. Seeing your employees’ nonverbal language also allows you to assess your team’s emotional health and notice when engagement starts to decrease.
- Company portals or team collaboration software such as Slack or Teams are also excellent tools for increasing team morale. Creating channels dedicated to your staff’s favorite sports, movies, games or TV shows is a great way to encourage the type of bonding that doesn’t happen as naturally in a work-from-anywhere setting.
Few things boost your employees’ morale like seeing their coworkers succeed. But while offices offer plenty of opportunities to share good news with the rest of the team, doing so in a distributed work environment is much more challenging. When good news doesn’t seem to directly impact anyone’s work, your staff may not prioritize sharing it, or they may be reluctant to discuss it out of fear that it could be perceived as bragging.
Create a culture in which successes are shared and celebrated. Ensure that these messages are available and visible to your whole team, regardless of where they are located.
- Encourage your staff and supervisors to share their team’s achievements via company-wide emails or make time for mentioning them in team video conferences.
- If your company has an employee portal, make sure that good news is always front-and-center. There is nothing more motivating than starting the day with a success story.
Provide Training and Development
Leading organizations know that when it comes to building a winning team, hiring good talent is only half the battle. Providing employees with the training and professional opportunities they need to thrive in their workplace is equally important. Employees who feel challenged and have opportunities to grow are more fulfilled in their positions and, hence, more engaged.
While training remote staff is never easy, the same technology that your team uses to communicate and collaborate can go a long way in supporting your professional development initiatives as well.
- Take advantage of your team collaboration software when training your staff. Screen share capabilities allow all participants to see the same document or portal simultaneously and ensures that everyone is on the same page throughout the entire process.
- Use your shared cloud storage or employee portal to share important training materials. When your staff can easily access the documents and videos they need, their learning curve can be significantly shortened.
- Easily train your customer service team using Call Monitoring. Call monitoring can be made available on your desk phone and allows you to listen to calls in real-time regardless of where your team is located. You can even coach your staff through challenging conversations without the client hearing.
When your staff works out of distributed offices, remotely or in a hybrid environment, maintaining a high level of employee engagement is challenging to say the least. Many of the interactions that occur naturally in an office-setting are unavailable in a work-from-anywhere environment, forcing employers to get creative with their strategies.
Luckily, all the latest advances in technology that enable your staff to stay connected and productive from anywhere are also incredibly helpful in supporting your employee engagement strategies. Putting a little extra effort in utilizing these technologies when part of your staff is remote can go a long way in ensuring that your entire team is informed, engaged and motivated to do their best work.
Remember to share this post