The Coronavirus pandemic left many businesses with no choice but to embrace the WFH lifestyle. But besides dealing with operational issues, many HR professionals are having to come up with creative employee engagement & team building ideas for remote workers, while also juggling the ever-changing FFCRA law, and creating COVID-19-related policies.
It’s more important than ever to work on raising morale, and companies with little or no experience in managing a remote team are really feeling the heat.
Employee engagement is difficult as it is, but how does one go about engaging a remote employee? Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the common HR FAQs relevant to COVID-19.
Don’t worry, though. With the right tactics, you can easily boost those engagement levels.
In this post, we’ll discuss unique team-building ideas for remote workers that you can consider trying. We’ll also provide a list of actionable engagement goals you can implement today!
Employee engagement is exactly what it sounds like — the degree to which employees engage, feel passionate about, feel valued, and are committed to their organization. More specifically, remote employee engagement refers to the extent in which remote employees/off-site employees feel engaged with the team, their work, and the business. With work-from-home here to stay, remote workers often feel less engaged and connected with the company, which can negatively impact overall productivity levels and business performance.
There’s no exact science to measuring employee engagement, as it looks different for different companies, different industries, and different people. However, a good way to gauge engagement levels remotely is by simply communicating with employees on their work, their passion levels, their career goals, and any concerns they may have in the workplace.
Remote employees who are engaged tend to:
HR is often tasked with employee engagement as a whole, but it’s important to understand that each and every member of the organization plays a different role in keeping a remote workforce engaged.
HR plays a role in every step of remote employee engagement, from creating and putting an engagement strategy into action, to using tools to track progress and personally reaching out to employees to gauge the success of initiatives.
HR is responsible for:
Leadership sets an example for the entire organization’s culture, tone, and attitude towards remote employee engagement. If employees understand how important remote engagement is to senior leaders, they’re more likely to follow suit or speak up if they don’t feel heard.
Senior leaders are responsible for:
Managers have similar responsibilities in comparison to senior leaders, with the exception of one key difference — employee relationships. Because department managers and mid-level leaders work daily with team members, they serve as a trustworthy advisor, often with the “inside scoop”.
Managers are responsible for:
To improve employee engagement in a remote setting, it’s important to go straight to the source. Employees aren’t only your most valuable asset, but they also provide valuable insights on what’s working and what isn’t working within your initiatives.
Employees are responsible for:
Now that we know employee engagement is a true team effort, let’s cover why it’s important to dedicate time and resources to these initiatives.
A Gallup survey shows that highly engaged employees are less likely to be obese, struggle with chronic diseases, and more likely to live a healthier lifestyle (exercise and food). This is because workplaces with strong engagement initiatives in place typically respect employee health needs, including:
When employees are not engaged, challenged, or utilizing their strengths in their roles, they are more likely to leave their current role. Engaged remote employees see a future at their company, and feel their personal needs are being met or heard.
With Millennials occupying the majority of the workforce, retention is even more crucial. This is because 6 in 10 Millennials are open to new job opportunities at any given time, and 21% of Millennials have changed jobs within the past year, which is a whopping 3x the number of non-Millennials surveyed. If engaged, though, millennials that align with your company culture will stay even longer than other generations. They’re also 59x more likely to recommend your organization to peers — so the satisfaction of Millennials will actually help build brand awareness and market your company.
Highly engaged workplaces see nearly 41% less absenteeism within their workforce — likely because employees that understand and support the company mission are excited to come to work every day. This doesn’t mean that highly engaged employees don’t need breaks, but rather that employees with patterns of absenteeism may be struggling in their role.
Even with a people-first strategy, productivity is still a key metric that companies use to measure success. Employee engagement is a crucial piece of productivity, and research even shows that highly engaged employees are 17% more productive than their colleagues.
Additionally, Millennial workers, the largest generation in the US workforce, are the most tech-savvy workers in organizations. Thus, every organization and engagement program should feel the pressure to engage this specific generation (among all of the others) in order to ensure maximum workplace productivity.
Engaged employees not only ask questions and reach out when they need support in projects, but they also provide innovative solutions and ideas for the business.
Because satisfied employees are more productive and offer stronger customer service, there is a direct correlation with company sales. Organizations that are highly engaged record nearly 20% more sales than organizations with unengaged team members. So, investing time and money in your employees to make sure they feel connected, appreciated, and engaged, will literally pay off in the long run.
Before we discuss the specific employee engagement ideas for remote workers, we recommend that you implement certain project management, HR, video conferencing, and team collaboration tools, to make telework interactions easier between and within teams.
Consider giving the following a try:
Aside from that, here are some unique ideas that you could consider implementing:
Who says proximity matters when it comes to coffee breaks?
Ask your team members to brew mean cups of joe (or make any other drink they want).
Then, get them all onboard a video conferencing tool and start chit-chatting.
Ask them about their day, how they’ve been feeling, if they’re facing any work-related challenges, etc.
Everyone needs a break from work, even if they’re working from home, and small talk over coffee can go a long way.
If you never bothered with the icebreaking or intimate side of onboarding for your remote employees, now is the perfect time to make them feel a part of the team.
Since you’ve probably never had your in-house employees interact with your remote workers, get them all on a video call.
Then, ask them to formally introduce themselves to their fellow co-workers.
To make things interesting, you can have everyone choose from a list of pre-determined questions to break the ice.
Your employees may not be comfortable getting on board with this, but home tours are a great way to emotionally connect with your employees and ignite some good ol’ team building.
In a video conference, ask each employee to walk around with their smartphone/laptop and give a quick tour of their beautiful home. This could be especially fun if a team member has just moved into a new home, after the home inspection phase.
Of course, those who aren’t comfortable in doing so must not be forced to do so, otherwise, you might end up doing more harm than good.
Do your remote employees have something cool to show/share?
Schedule an online show-and-tell and give them a platform to share something interesting.
This could be anything – an awesome gadget, a precious item, an interesting story, or a sick skill that they never got the chance to show off.
Let your remote workforce connect and share whatever they want.
While the concept is to have fun, you can make things more interesting by having a small panel of judges. Turn this into an online workplace X Factor and announce a winner at the end (i.e. the person with the most interesting thing to show or share).
To make the employees feel like their voices are heard, leaders need to have one-on-one meetings with them – whether they work in-house or remotely.
While this may sound exhausting, scheduling a short face-to-face meeting with an employee every day, is attainable.
Aside from providing feedback, the remote team members should get the opportunity to share their concerns and opinions.
If you haven’t already, consider purchasing an online learning management system and uploading different training courses for your employees. When it comes down to it, social distancing can take its toll on an individual’s mental health. A good, productive way to keep oneself occupied is to watch and finish any company-mandated training.
On top of your native training material, consider purchasing and providing access to other relevant training courses, as well. This can allow your employees to advance in their careers in ways that will help them reach their goals.
“When it comes to remote employee engagement, we have found that career advancement opportunities have been a great motivator,” says Jonathan Zacharias, President of GR0. “Obviously it can feel difficult to move up within an organization if you are living on the other side of the country. However, by offering job postings to internal employees before releasing them to the public, we have found that we have been able to reduce employee turnover and promote engagement instead.”
It’s important to let employees know they can move up in your organization, whether they’re located in the office or across the world.
“To help keep remote employees engaged and valued, we work to let them know their development won’t slip through the cracks because they’re not in a traditional office,” says Ruben Gamez, Founder of SignWell “We created career maps for any interested teammates so they could get in touch with their biggest aspirations and see how those desires would shape into a real career path with our company. By pairing our career map creation with a virtual team mentorship program, employees are now receiving guidance, insights, and support from employees working in roles related to their potential career paths. Our team has built some strong connections with each other and is motivated for future growth!”
A great way to ensure remote employee engagement is to ask your teams for feedback.
This feedback could be about anything, including:
You can achieve that through online employee engagement surveys or through one-on-one video calls.
Don’t just stop there – make an effort to show your remote employees that you care and act on their feedback.
Your employee engagement ideas for remote workers don’t have to be boring or limited to work.
Give your teams a chance to unwind and relax by inviting them to a multiplayer game.
Here are some of our favorites (you just need a mobile device to play these):
Games don’t have to be high-tech. You and your team can come up with simple ideas that help you know each other better.
Once a month, instead of sending a newsletter with company updates, we send a multiple choice trivia quiz where we share fun and interesting facts about different employees,” says Jessica Ulloa, Community Manager at MyPerfectResume. “Facts like, ‘Which of the following people is a twin?’ or ‘Whose childhood crush was Ricky Martin?’ We then share the answers during our All-hand meetings and let the person share the story behind the response. Our employees love this game as the questions are always fun. The game allows our employees to get to know their colleagues better and also share fun facts about themselves.
You can even turn your company’s regular workflows into opportunities to play games
“Gamifying our teamwork has helped our remote employees stay engaged and motivated,” says Lorien Strydom of Financer.com. “We set up a points system or leaderboard, so our teams have something to strive for. This helps create healthy competition and encourages everyone to work together more effectively. You may also want to consider offering rewards for employees who reach certain benchmarks. This could be anything from a gift card to extra vacation days. Whatever you choose, make sure that it is something that your team will appreciate. Gamifying your teamwork is just one way to keep your remote employees engaged and productive. Implementing this strategy can help you take your business to the next level.
Ask each employee if there’s any specific game that they’d like to play. And if it gets enough votes from everyone else, throw it in the list.
You can’t provide workstations to your remote employees.
However, there’s a workaround – you can dig up some funds to help pay for their home offices.
Regular telecommuters might not have this problem, but your in-house employees who are accustomed to an office environment might have difficulty adjusting to the WFH routine.
Your employees will love you for helping them build up their home offices from scratch (or spice up existing ones).
Many professionals suffer from imposter syndrome – a persistent gut-wrenching feeling that you’re not good enough or a fraud. Such feelings of inadequacy could affect an employee’s performance, and ultimately, lead to disengagement.
To prevent that from happening, the best thing to do is offer positive feedback and recognize your employees for all their great work.
Celebrating team members and recognizing them for their hard work is an engagement strategy that employees love,” says Gregg Dean, Co-founder, and CEO of Layla Sleep. “It not only makes them feel valued for their work completed independently, but it also reminds them that they are a part of something larger which maintains loyalty and trust. We’ve seen our recognition strategy improve retention and productivity.”
Now, it is easier to give them a pat on the back when you’re working in-house.
And things don’t always go so smoothly when everyone’s working from home.
Therefore, to turn it into an easy process, consider opting for modern HR software with built-in performance management and employee feedback tools.
Employee empowerment and engagement go hand-in-hand.
There’s only so much you can do in that department when it comes to managing a remote workforce.
You can give your employees the freedom to set their own schedules, as long as they’re getting the job done on time, they could be able to pick their working hours.
By letting your employees choose their own working hours, you’ll essentially build a sense of trust and mutual respect. Keep in mind though, that collaborative work between and within teams is also important. Set clear times when all team members should be available to collaborate or discuss projects and make sure your leadership team is on board with any proposed schedule.
Feedback doesn’t have to bounce between an employee and their manager.
Fellow co-workers can applaud one another for their hard work, make suggestions, and offer their two cents.
Some employees might consider feedback from their peers more honest. As a result, they’d be more inclined towards acting on it.
Besides, by encouraging peer-to-peer feedback, you can ignite conversations among your employees and boost engagement.
You can also use an employee recognition tool for this purpose.
Finally, make sure that you’re providing appropriate benefits to your remote employees.
Here are some ideas:
Before anything else, have a chat with your finance department to see what you can realistically afford.
We’re dealing with an unprecedented crisis, and it’s unreasonable to expect employees to entirely tune out the headlines while they’re working. Try starting every meeting by asking your team how they’re feeling, what’s going on in their world, and how you can support them.
You can also invite your team members to schedule news and family check-ins throughout the day. Make sure they don’t feel like they can’t follow the headlines or check in on their family members. Just invite them to do it in a way that’s conducive to staying focused in between.
Go for outdoor walks during 1:1 meetings with your team to encourage physical movement throughout the day. Use Zoom from your phones and give each other virtual tours of our neighborhoods.
If you’ve had success with wellness challenges in the past, you might try reviving it with a remote spin. Just make sure it’s accessible for all levels and abilities.
If you’re a parent, you know that your biggest challenge in working remotely is going to be keeping your kids entertained throughout the day, especially while you’re on calls. But if your kid has a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out), give them a chance to participate once in a while. Set up a “conference call” for employees’ kids to connect over Zoom.
It gives them a break from boredom, makes them feel involved, and creates space for connectedness for our families.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought major changes to the standard work setting, and many organizations don’t plan on going back into the office. Remote onboarding with an HRIS can set the stage for employee engagement by empowering new hires from day 1. Here are a few best practices that will aid in online onboarding:
Remote employee engagement doesn’t begin months later — in fact, it begins before an employee even begins their first day. The impression you leave on them throughout their onboarding process gives them an idea of how to stay engaged from day 1.
Strong mental health is a key component in nurturing employee engagement. With 40% of U.S. adults struggling with mental health as of June 2020, HR plays a major role in supporting employee wellbeing. Here are a few ways to support positive mental health practices for stronger engagement.
Mental health is an often overlooked factor that plays a major role in employee engagement, and it’s more important than ever to evaluate your team’s overall efforts around mental health and breaking stigmas.
Though we’ve covered a number of ways you can show support for employees, it’s equally important to listen to what employees have to say. Ask employees for feedback on their onboarding experience, their day-to-day, and consider doing so anonymously for employee privacy. Take notes on how to improve the virtual experience, and fill any gaps where employees don’t feel supported.
From these learnings, consider offering additional online training, reimbursing employees for home-office related items, streamlining HR processes, and keeping your policy handbooks up-to-date so your team is constantly in the loop. Pulse survey and employee feedback tools like OfficeVibe, TINYPulse, and 15Five can help employers build great company culture while constantly monitoring employee sentiment.
Your team has likely faced changes in both their personal and professional lives within the past year. It’s important to acknowledge these changes, and establish realistic, attainable goals and expectations. On the personal side, make sure you understand what drives employees, and identify common themes in what your employees are saying. Modify your organizational practices for employee morale around these themes.
On the work/performance side, having a streamlined performance management process helps employees create and follow a clear process to achieve goals and greatness (no guesswork). Standardizing and automating performance review workflows can help you empower your employees with:
Especially in the age of remote work, it’s hard to think of physical items or gifts that can express recognition or appreciation for employees. For holidays or simply just because, give your employees gifts that appeal to a diverse set of interests and demonstrate genuine appreciation for your employees’ dedication. You want them to truly feel valued — and sometimes, a stress ball or a keychain just won’t do the job.
We recommend creating a customized holiday gift catalog like we did here at GoCo, which:
The gift catalog included hand-picked items and options of all different themes to cater to our diverse team members.
A surefire way to ensure that your most valuable assets feel valued is to dedicate a day to appreciate them. The key to executing a successful employee appreciation event for a remote workforce is to plan ahead, and take into account any delays you may encounter. A few key components we included in our appreciation event were:
When it comes to setting goals for your team, there are a lot of different things you can aim for. But if you’re looking to increase employee engagement, then here are some goal examples that you can use as inspiration. By focusing on initiatives that get your team excited and motivated, you’ll be well on your way to having an engaged workforce!
Employee surveys consistently show that the single most important factor in employee engagement is an employee’s relationship with his or her direct manager. In fact, employees don’t leave companies; they leave their managers. And they’re willing to do this despite tough economic conditions.
According to HR Magazine, engaged employees perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave an organization. So, managers and team leaders need to become expert relationship builders and they need to learn how to nourish and sustain those relationships over time.
Managers can build and maintain strong employee relationships at the employee level by:
Employees need to know that they are working for their own goals as much as the organization’s when they come into work each day. When they have this understanding, they also realize how their individual role impacts business profitability overall.
Your organization’s core values should be conducive to creating a work environment that enables active employee engagement and provide employees with opportunities to demonstrate the company’s core values through their daily work.
In high-performing organizations, employees and leaders regularly refer to and use their core value statements as a real-time compass and positive shaper of both formal environments and work-life behaviors.
For true leaders at every organizational level, the organization’s core values are the moral and ethical law of the land. High-engagement employees thrive on being treated fairly and honestly.
The strongest organizational science is clearly teaching us that employee recognition simultaneously builds and maintains healthy employee/manager relationships and greatly impacts bottom-line performance. Organizations that actively recognize their employees see a 6% higher net profit margin over companies that don’t. [ Towers Watson Study ]
Doing effective employee recognition is all about implementing the “3 R’s of employee rewards and recognition:”
R1: The Right Kind of Behaviors — Role Behaviors proven to meet clearly stated performance goals. Examples of clearly defined and communicated performance goals include:
R2. At the Right Times — It turns out that the best time to provide effective employee recognition is right when the employee is doing or completing a performance goal.
R3. In The Right Ways – Recognition is something that must happen consistently throughout the year and not just as an annual event. 43% of engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week compared to only 18% of employees with low engagement.
Feeling valued, confident, inspired, enthused, and empowered are the key emotions that lead to employee engagement. These emotions can’t be fostered unless you build strong relationships with your employees and by seeing them as human beings.
Actively engaged employees are fully aware and secure in the knowledge that their managers really know them and care about them as human beings. Employees thrive when managers really understand and connect with them through the lenses of their personal values, goals, and passions.
Aligning individual goals and organizational goals through shared values is one of the most important distinctions between real leadership and management. Key questions here include:
The bottom line: A healthier happier employee is a more productive and engaged employee who sticks around for years and rarely misses work.
Heightened employee well-being directly translates into increased employee engagement and performance. The world’s leading organizations are growing and sustaining employee well-being through integrated work-life balance and innovative employee assistance programs.
These wellness and support initiatives provide everything from personal money management to professional counseling with relationship, parenting, and stress management experts. They also provide employees with flex time planning and work-from-home options for maximizing work-life balance in an ever-increasing world of stress and responsibility.
Can you think of a better way to show genuine interest and concern at the employee manager interface than to help solve serious stress, parenting, marriage, family, and money problems?
Many employees have a shared need to know that their work is making a positive difference in the world and to their fellow human beings.
High-performance organizations identify and facilitate ways for their employees to give back to the community as a function of their work — running employee-driven community assistance, volunteering, and go-green programs.
The most effective workplace giving programs allow individual employees and teams to define the why, how, and when of giving back. They also provide solid tools and processes for formally meeting co-created community-giving goals.
Now that you understand the importance of building strong positive relationships and organizational bonding at the employee/manager level, the next question becomes what do you do with all this new positive relationship energy and employee motivation to generate results-driven organizational performance?
Again, help employees understand how their behaviors align with performance goals. It’s really a cascading effect: senior leadership identifies the over-arching business objectives for the organization, managers then take these objectives and create more focused goals for their teams, and then employees, in partnership with their managers, need to establish their individual goals. The performance management process is crucial to facilitating this process.
In general, help employees establish personal goals by using the SMART methodology:
Specific — Goals are objective, clearly stated and very specific.
Measurable — The goal’s progress is measurable in terms of objective and easily shareable quantity quality and time measures.
Attainable — It’s one that you can actually achieve and is realistic. High-performing organizations don’t reward goal attainment that is outside of the control of employees or team members. They primarily define, recognize and reward goals that are within the complete control of a given employee.
Relevant — This is where the organizational performance dimension comes into play. Goals need to be clearly linked to meaningful business or positive organizational outcomes. Key questions here include:
Time Bound — The question here becomes: When will the particular task, project, or goal be completed? Not only does time-limiting a goal facilitate performance by reducing wasted time, but it enables time-based processes and quality improvements as well.
Setting time-bound goals also enables managers to precision target their recognition and reward efforts on employee behaviors that approximate, meet, and exceed clearly predefined expectations.
Only 27% of employees feel they are involved in the important decisions made by their organizations. Yet the bottom line is that increased employee involvement = increased employee engagement.
Employees are more likely to buy into and feel a motivation-enhancing sense of ownership for goals when they play a major role in creating them versus feeling that they are simply executing someone else’s vision. In short, it evokes a sense of ownership and shareholder stake in the success of the business.
The essence of operating as a high-performing team and using team-based organizational design is that you already have all of the basic ingredients needed to capitalize on active employee engagement. For example, effective teams must communicate, collaborate and interact with each other in order to meet their goals and objectives.
Effective team leaders know how to instill trust in their teams so that each employee can work with each other and share work, they also know how to reduce conflict by helping each member of the team to get to know one another better and to understand each other’s personalities, and finally, good leaders know how to increase collaborative efforts by conferring with each other and valuing each other’s opinions.
Really high-performance teams actually distribute the leadership role among team members, taking on and relinquishing the leadership role based on the team’s current performance goals and by recognizing and leveraging the “superpowers” of each team member.
The world’s leading high-engagement organizations hire for leadership potential as expressed in individual values that align with core organizational values. Finding employees who will fit into the company’s culture is more important than hiring based on work role competency.
For example, a high-performing team is a direct result of the leader who manages it. The best managers have personalities that are predisposed to the role: strong work ethic, natural leadership, genuine interest in helping others, and intent on finding the right solutions.
Underperforming, low-engagement organizations, on the other hand, continue to hire managers primarily based on their work skills rather than their demonstrated capacity for leadership effectiveness. These are the organizations that are most likely to be hemorrhaging top talent.
These are the same managers who can’t tell you what their organization’s core values are or why each value is most critical in continuously guiding and shaping a real high-engagement organization through expert relationship building and maintenance.
What are your organization’s core values? What is the best example of when you consciously made a leadership decision today, that was in complete alignment with those values?
To fully empathize and understand your employees’ needs, it’s extremely important to recognize that employees of different generations may need different things. With up to 5 generations working alongside each other, let’s talk about the unique generational needs that HR needs to be well versed on.
Though the large majority of The Silent Generation is retired, of the 20 million adults in this population, they still make up 1% of the workforce. To engage these team members with extensive knowledge and life experiences:
With a greater percentage of older adults (65+) participating in the workforce than ever before, Baby Boomers are an extremely valuable and important generation to engage. To better engage the Baby Boomer generation in the workforce, make sure to:
The middle child of the generations, Gen X employees are integral parts of our work teams. This workforce prioritizes autonomy, resourcefulness, and self-reliance. As an HR manager, make sure to:
As the fastest growing generation in the current workforce, keeping Millennials engaged should be top-of-mind. Here are a few ways to specifically attract and retain Millennials in the workplace.
As Generation Z begins to join the workforce, it’s important to note how this generation differs compared to the ones before. Make sure to:
Gallup believes that many companies are approaching employee engagement from the wrong angle. Instead of viewing the subject in general terms like creating a positive office atmosphere, it asserts HR personnel should focus on the specific work-related items that the rank and file require to be productive. The polling giant is backing up the argument with an exhaustive 214-page study released recently.
For its survey, Gallup asked a group of U.S.-based professionals about the tools, business processes, and other resources that are available to them in the workplace. About a third of the participants ended up meeting the study’s productivity-focused definition of an engaged employee while the rest expressed various degrees of dissatisfaction.
From there, the pollster correlated the responses with market data to measure the impact that a business-oriented approach to encouraging productivity can make.
The numbers speak for themselves. According to Gallup, teams that rank among the top quarter of their companies in engagement outperform the others across practically all major business criteria.
Their lead is especially noticeable when compared to the bottom quarter. Employees at the best-scoring units are on average 17 percent more productive, receive 10 percent higher marks when it comes to customer engagement, and generate 20 percent more sales. Gallup claims that the net result is a 21 percent difference in profitability among the surveyed groups.
The improved business performance that to-the-point engagement policies seem to produce is mirrored in employees’ attitudes towards their work. According to Gallup, the most engaged teams generally see 44 percent fewer unwarranted employee absences than the bottom quarter while also experiencing lower turnover, which is likely another one of the factors behind their increased profitability.
The fact that fewer resources have to go towards finding and training replacements is by itself beneficial the bottom line, even when not taking into account the impact on overall output.
The study found that only 37 percent of the employees considered engaged are actively looking for new jobs, a much smaller proportion than in the broader workforce. The specific turnover rate varies among companies. Organizations with a high annualized burn rate (which Gallup defines as more than 40 percent) on average achieve 24 percent less turnover by following its engagement checklist, while firms with higher retention see a massive 59 percent improvement. The efficiency gains from holding onto employees longer can add up quickly on such a scale.
Gallup collected the engagement data at the center of its study using a poll that contained just 12 questions about respondents’ work life. It covered core topics such as whether they have all the equipment they need and how much room there is for advancement in their company. According to the pollster, these questions have changed little in the roughly 20 years that it’s been conducting such studies due to one simple reason: addressing the core work priorities in an office remains the most important part of engaging employees. In other words, many firms would do well to return to the basics before setting up that extra ping-pong table in the recreational area.
A few more stats to consider:
Though 71% of business executives state that employee engagement is crucial to a company’s success, the reality in the stats is that the majority of employees, both remote and in-person, feel unengaged — and this has only been exacerbated by the circumstances of the pandemic.
And, as the stats above show, generational differences impact employee engagement as well. For instance, even though Millennials make up the large majority of the workforce, they are the least engaged generation. This, among many other issues, is driving the push for better overall employee engagement in the workforce.
With the large-scale shift to remote work here to stay, HR plays a key role in remote employee engagement. This guide covers everything from basic definitions to engagement automation tips so that you can not only keep employees happy but also spend more time on higher-value HR tasks.
Though remote employee engagement follows many of the same trends as in-office employee engagement, here are a few trends that are here to stay with the shift to work-from-home.
Improving company culture towards a people-first approach is crucial in the coming years. When your entire workforce is scattered across the state, the country, or even the world, ensuring that your remote team members feel cared for and respected by leadership and their own peers is a path that all organizations must take to stay competitive.
With the lines between home and office becoming blurred in a remote environment, organizations are becoming more cautious about setting boundaries and flexible policies around work-life balance. Employers will need to take on additional initiatives to encourage employees to log off when they need to, and set boundaries between their home office and their home life.
In order to stay on top of remote employee engagement trends, we expect to see more and more digital tools and cloud technology to support daily functions — from HR software for HR managers to online communication tools like ULTATEL, paper is becoming obsolete.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion have become an increasingly larger focus for HR. When remote employees feel included, regardless of their background or characteristics, they tend to be more engaged with the business, and in turn positively contribute to business profitability, team morale, and retention. Within DEIB initiatives, we expect to see a larger focus on gender equality and women empowerment in the remote sphere, including issues around how to stop women from leaving the workforce, and how to better support working parents.
Understanding and facilitating career growth among remote employees will be a major focus for businesses in years to come. Career progression is positively correlated with high employee engagement — businesses that listen, support, and offer a clear path for advancement are more likely to retain Millennials, Gen Xers and Gen Zers.
Now that you know some of the best practices for remote employee engagement, you may be wondering: Where do I begin? How can I manage all of these initiatives on my own? With an automated HRIS, you don’t have to take on all of the responsibilities on your own. From better feedback to leadership development, here’s how an HR software like GoCo can help automate employee engagement tasks.
In the end, it’s important to have a process in place for actually measuring how engaged your remote employees are.
What’s the point of implementing those employee engagement ideas for remote workers if they’re not working?
For those who’ve never done this before, the best way to measure employee engagement is to use surveys.
You can include as many questions as you want in your surveys (as long as they’re relevant).
Here are a few examples of employee engagement survey questions:
In the end, make sure you’re using the right metrics, such as:
If you’ve tried everything, maybe try revisiting your remote work policy and look for any potential flaws. The GoCo team is working hard to support HR pros through COVID-19. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center for more tools and tips 💚