5 ways businesses can keep their remote workers engaged
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If we would have said a few years ago that the future of the corporate world is remote, the argument would not have seemed as convincing. However, today times have changed and it has become obvious that remote work cultures will dictate the future. In fact, remote working arrangements pose a win-win situation for both employers and employees.
This explains why more and more organizations are making the strategic shift to remote working cultures. However, organizations also need to be mindful of the fact that cultivating high employee engagement in a virtual workplace takes a lot more than usual. When it comes to remote workers, you will need a new bandwagon of employee engagement strategies.
If we look at the general scenario, employee engagement levels are already dismal at the global level. If we go by Gallup, not more than 20 percent of the global workforce is engaged in work. Now, in such a scenario, when we talk about remote workers, the concerns about employee engagement become much bigger.
In remote working arrangements, you do not have direct supervision over your employees. Nor are your employees in front of you through the entire course of the work day. Hence, it is fair to imagine that for remote workers, their distractions may get the better of their engagement. What is also true is that most of the future jobs are going to be remote. This is where you need some actionable and conclusive strategies to sustain high engagement in a virtual workplace.
This blog highlights the best approaches that you can take to enable high employee engagement in a virtual workplace. So, let us get started without further ado.
- Enhancing virtual onboarding experiences
It is fair to say that businesses want to engage their employees from the word go. When you have new employees on board, you certainly want to give them the time and space to blend into the environment. At the same time, you want the new recruits to be engaged in the process of blending into the workplace culture.
For that, it makes great sense that you enhance the virtual onboarding experiences of your new recruits. The onboarding experiences should be so positive and immersive that your new recruits feel elated and excited from the word go.
For instance, as a leader, you can send a personalized welcome mail to your new employees. Besides, you can also arrange for virtual team introductions on the very first day to break the ice. The bottom line is that when you engage your employees from a very early stage, you may not have to invest much effort later.
It is a well-known fact that a large number of organizations do not have impressive onboarding programs. Besides, when it comes to remote onboarding, the state of virtual onboarding seems far more dismal. However, what organizations do not realize is that ineffective onboarding can have a direct impact on engagement levels. If the onboarding experiences are not positive, employees will not feel accepted and valued.
Hence, it is time that you rethink your company’s onboarding policies with a fresh perspective. If you actually want to enhance workplace motivation for the greater good, onboarding experiences need to be accounted for as well
- Promoting a greater sense of inclusion
Irrespective of whether your employees work remotely or on-site, promoting inclusion in the workplace is the key to high engagement. Besides, inclusion becomes far more important when you have a diverse workforce. If you wish to embrace the trend of diversity, you got to make inclusion work at all costs.
To explain, an inclusive workplace promotes a greater sense of belonging among employees. Further, a strong sense of workplace belonging among employees adds to employee engagement. To substantiate, as per Deloitte, a strong sense of workplace belonging can help organizations boost employee performance by 56 percent. Besides, a strong sense of belonging among employees can also help organizations pull down the absenteeism rate by 75 percent.
Having said that, it is important that you look for ways to encourage greater inclusion among your remote employees. For sure, facilitating inclusion and workplace belonging in a virtual work environment can be far more complicated. However, given below are some suggestions that you can put to effective use for creating an inclusive remote work culture.
- Bringing virtual D&I activities to the virtual work environment
- Making the decision-making more transparent and inclusive
- Offering virtual employee recognition through social media
- Introducing virtual mentoring programs
- Creating continuous feedback mechanisms
- Fostering empathy in the organization
The stronger the sense of inclusion you create among your employees the higher will be the engagement. When employees carry the confidence that they belong in the workplace, they are even happy to go the extra mile for the success of their organizations.
- Introducing a culture of virtual breaks
The feeling of social isolation could be the major reason why your remote employees are disengaged in their work. In a traditional office setup, employees get to spend time with their co-workers, and if the working relationships are positive then it does take a lot of pressure off them. Having said that, given the consistent social contact with their co-workers, employees are more enthusiastic in on-side working arrangements.
On the contrary, in remote working arrangements, employees tend to feel lonely in the absence of physical social contact with their co-workers. To substantiate, as per Gallup, around 20 percent of remote workers feel vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness. Needless to say, such negative emotional influences do take a toll on your employees’ engagement.
Therefore, introducing a culture of virtual coffee breaks can be a great way to help your employees overcome the feeling of social isolation. To explain, when your remote employees take coordinated virtual breaks on workdays, they can find a great way to flourish interpersonal connections.
Moreover, during these virtual breaks, they can have interactions outside of work and can share some candid moments with each other. In this way, they can manage their feeling of social isolation as well as their work stress in a more worthwhile way. In both cases, they can keep their work enthusiasm going and can sustain their engagement in a better way.
In fact, even on weekends, you can host virtual movie nights or virtual diversity and inclusion events to promote better team-building and engagement. In this way, you can foster a positive working environment that can effectively facilitate high engagement
- Hosting mental health webinars
It is true that even remote workers are susceptible to high stress because of work. What is also true is that high employee engagement and employee burnout cannot go hand in hand. For employee engagement to be high at all times, it is important that you look after your employees’ mental wellness.
To elucidate, as per Zippia, more than 30 percent of remote workers report high levels of persistent stress. It further reveals that 86 percent of work-from-home employees reel under constant pressure and experience symptoms of burnout. These alarming rates of burnout may soon translate into high employee attrition rates for your organization.
If you have to avert this in a decisive way, it is important that you offer mental health assistance to your employees. When you offer effective assistance as a leader, not only will it promote employee wellness but also inspire greater allegiance among your employees. Why would they not care about the organization’s goals when you care for their mental health after all?
For offering support virtually, you can conduct virtual mental wellness webinars for your employees. To explain, you can invite mental health counselors to hold effective discussions on stress management, mental wellness practices, and so on. Besides, through these webinars, you should also offer your employees the opportunities to discuss their issues one-to-one with the counselor.
With a more sorted and positive state of mental and emotional wellness, employees can focus on their professional commitments with greater zeal. Moreover, once they deal with the burden of stress, they can set attainable goals for themselves to give their best in every task. All in all, the employee engagement scenarios will be much better when you support your employees’ mental health
- Encouraging gamified learning
Employee engagement has a direct correlation with the feeling of satisfaction among employees. When employees are satisfied with their organizations and leaders, they respond with greater engagement. Speaking of the key determinants of employee satisfaction, workplace learning and development are among the basic expectations that employees have.
Especially if we talk about millennials and Gen Z workers, they associate a high priority with workplace learning opportunities. As per Gallup, 87 percent of millennial workers believe that it is important that their organizations offer learning and career advancement prospects without any bias. For them, every opportunity for professional development is a catalyst for enhanced job satisfaction.
In the virtual workplace, you can further enhance their learning experiences via gamification. With gamified learning solutions, you can provide indulging learning experiences to your employees that will further have a positive impact on employee engagement. Not only can you deliver on your employees’ expectations of professional development but also create an indulgent learning environment with gamified solutions.
To substantiate, organizations using gamified employee training solutions have been able to enhance employee engagement by 60 percent as per Finances Online. Moreover, conversion rates in companies using gamified solutions for employee training have gone up by a staggering 700 percent. Do you still have doubts about the potential of gamified learning in the workplace? With gamified learning solutions, you can boost both engagement and employee retention.
To conclude, fostering high employee engagement in remote teams can be a lot more complicated than traditional working arrangements. However, since the future of the corporate world is remote, it is time every organization develops specific strategies to engage remote employees. When it comes to remote employees, you need a different approach to boost engagement. The above ideas and tactics will surely be of great help.