How to increase remote employee engagement

Performance Management

Employee work satisfaction is just as important now as ever. With businesses needing to keep operations running as smoothly as possible in this extended period of remote working, employers must take action to ensure their people maintain engagement with the company, its values and their roles.

But if you’re starting to feel that your employees aren’t aligned with your company ethos, ways of working or management style, this is a red flag for a disengaged workforce. Following are five tips to help you reconnect with your team and to keep them engaged.

Reinforce the vision

It’s easy for a team to lose sight of what they are trying to achieve and why when working remotely. HR can support the business by driving messages about the bigger corporate picture — why we do what we do — to remind people about why the work they are doing matters. If people can see the impact of their work on the organisation, it will help them feel more ‘connected’ with the task in hand.

Touch base regularly

The feeling of isolation and loneliness caused by social distancing is only worsened by the absence of everyday interactions experienced at work. This can be demotivating to some and cause a fall in their energy and enthusiasm for work. HR can drive initiatives to encourage ‘remote’ colleague catch ups, as teams and one-on-one, to see how everyone is going and to maintain social interaction.

Keep everyone involved and informed

When it comes to communication, the content is just as important as the frequency. Encourage line managers to find more opportunities to involve their teams in decision-making processes. With teams spread out, it can be challenging for people to get a sense of what’s going on in the wider organisation. This makes it difficult for people to feel enthused about their work, being solely a passive recipient of instructions. People who have been involved in discussions about the strategic direction of their team and its work are more likely to feel invested in its success.

Help teams bond

How well do your teams know each other? When teams are first formed, HR and line managers are likely to have put some effort into helping people bond, but it’s important to maintain this cohesion long term, on a more informal basis. This might seem a little challenging to do remotely, but it’s not impossible.

HR can take the lead or encourage managers to organise social events. An online pub quiz or team challenges for some friendly competition can help boost engagement, for example, a ‘Who can grow the tallest sunflower?’ challenge. Reminding the business to make time for fun together can be just what teams needs to re-engage.

Make progression milestones obvious

Employee career development may not be as high on your company’s priority list, while having to manage the pressures of COVID-19. But recognition and continuous learning should be greatly encouraged for people working during such a stressful period. Feeling like they are at a standstill and unappreciated, even after working very hard, can lead to people thinking ‘what’s the point?’ and disengaging.

Even if promotions and salary increases aren’t currently available, your employees’ progress should still be acknowledged, and they should be made aware of how valuable their contributions are to the company. This can be done by giving them more autonomy or responsibility on projects, sharing their achievements in internal news bulletins, or by investing in their training and development.

What impacts engagement differs for every individual. Open conversations with your team are essential in checking that your people have what they need to remain engaged at work.

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