Remote employee engagement is one of the hot topics of discussion among managers. With the increasing number of remote working employees, managers are trying hard to innovate employee engagement ideas for remote workers. Keep reading if you are looking for easy and fun ways of remote employee engagement!
Employee Engagement in the Age of Remote Work
According to reports, 4.3 million people work from home at least half the time in the US. It has changed the way companies engage with remote employees.
But what is employee engagement, and why is it so important?
Employee engagement is a critical factor when it comes to measuring satisfaction. There is a sense of belonging when employees are involved in their workplace. They are enthusiastic about contributing to the organization’s growth.
Employee engagement links to how an employee feels about their job and their level of dedication towards it. Thus, when employee engagement is higher, productivity and job satisfaction increase too.
Hence, employers are finding ways to stay connected through remote employee engagement initiatives to ensure inclusivity
Importance of Remote Employee Engagement
Employee engagement affects every aspect of a business’ growth. It becomes crucial to encourage quality work, commitment to culture and value system and brand advocacy. Owing to the async nature of virtual work, it is important to show that a company cares for its employees. According to research, 71% of executives say that employee engagement is crucial for their organization’s success. Thus, employee engagement must be a priority for employers and managers.
- Employees commit and work better when they feel involved in their work and work environment.
- Remote employee engagement helps in increasing employee productivity and job satisfaction.
While disengaged employees still do their job, they are more likely to perform the bare minimum. Higher engagement in a remote work setting ensures higher retention, keeping the turnover rates low.
No doubt, it is challenging to maintain remote employee engagement, but the results can be highly beneficial.
Remote Employee Engagement cannot be a top-down approach. To get employee engagement right, we need to employ a bottom- up approach. This means starting with the individual, understanding their unique needs, their motivations, their learning design and finally under what environments and conditions they bring out their best performance. Regular check-ins by managers and engagement surveys can help understand this at a deeper level to tailor remote employee engagement programs.
One way to ensure that the employee feels like a part of the company is to share a corporate video communicating the company’s mission and vision. Videos are ideal for triggering employee emotions. Thus, managers can use them instead of in-person meetings.
The Challenges of Remote Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is the sense of kinship employees have with their jobs, teams, and organizations. Long-term, this serves as the cornerstone for their morale and productivity. Many people experience detachment, disengagement, dissatisfaction, and higher attrition rates due to remote work. Working remotely also limits personal communication and collaboration among employees, teams, and management, making team development and trust building more difficult. Here are a few challenges we have elaborated regarding remote employee engagement.
The most common remote work challenge is communication.
Misunderstandings are more likely to happen in the virtual world over emails and messages.
Further, employees can walk up to their co-worker’s desks in physical offices, grab a coffee, and have conversations. These casual chit-chats help to keep employees engaged and boost their morale.
But in remote work, the main challenge is to maintain proper communication.
A few solutions to this challenge could be;
- Setting up communication channels like Slack or Skype,
- Regular check-ins and greetings,
- Frequent short meetings, etc.
Remote work can trigger feelings of isolation. As remote employees do not remain surrounded by co-workers, they feel lonely.
These feelings of isolation can affect employee well-being, adversely impacting engagement and productivity.
For employees, the feeling of involvement and participation increases loyalty and dedication. Hence, without it, employee turnover rates can increase significantly.
To overcome this challenge, consider;
- Giving employees the time to catch up with each other
- Recognize employee efforts with a thank you
- Conduct learning sessions
- Organize monthly team meets
Maintaining productivity is one of the biggest challenges for remote employees if they do not have a proper workspace.
Background noises and distractions from family members can hamper employee performance. Further, setting routines to remain focused on work also becomes challenging, and sticking to a solid work schedule.
Thus, gradually employee productivity drops.
To ensure maintaining employee productivity;
- Communicate regularly
- Conduct one-to-one virtual meetings to know your employees
- Provide support and resources to overcome work-related challenges
- Give constructive feedback and appreciate their good work
Lack of drive and motivation
Remote employees often feel directionless and lose their drive to achieve their goals and targets.
Employers and managers must set clear communication channels to convey goals and motivate remote employees. Alongside monitoring the employees’ performance, managers must support employee progress without micromanaging.
To motivate employees;
- Empathize with them
- Implement a rewards and recognition program
- Incentivize jobs, hold contests, etc.
Managers must beat each challenge mentioned to make remote employees feel guided, supported, and motivated. With the right solution to these challenges, they can help remote employees advance in their jobs and careers.
Employee Engagement Ideas for Remote Workers
If you are caught up thinking about how to engage remote employees, keep calm and explore these virtual employee engagement ideas.
Remote engagement ideas need not be complex. You must simply understand what your remote teams want. Find the right virtual engagement activities and deliver an amazing employee experience.
1. Encourage knowledge-sharing activities
Learning and gaining knowledge through natural conversations is an excellent way to engage employees. But remote employees do not get the opportunity to conduct casual conversations about business processes or personal goals.
Managers can invest in software to streamline the knowledge-sharing process for remote employees. They can consider:
- Knowledge base software that allows users to store information in a centralized base
- Digital adoption software to create walkthroughs and in-app tutorials for better employee understanding and navigation
- File storage tools to help employees easily find and access stuff from an organized database
- Documentation tools to capture technical instructions
Building a knowledge-sharing culture reduces knowledge gaps, promotes a learning culture, and improves the employee experience and engagement.
You can also conduct knowledge-sharing sessions or workshops, company culture workshops, hackathons for technical teams, online quizzes, etc. to promote the learning culture.
2. Theme days
Remote employees spend their days working from home. Hence, their life can be mundane with each day being the same as the next.
The ‘theme days’ idea for remote employee engagement can work as a superb distraction. Themed days add a little fun to the otherwise boring and long workdays.
You can be as creative as possible when deciding the themes for your remote teams. ‘Go as you like’ day, ‘show your pets’ day, ‘Say yes’ day, ‘dress up as your favorite fictional character’ day, etc.
With the theme day idea, possibilities are endless. Hence, you can experiment with what your remote employees like the best.
3. Create internal company newsletters
The answer to your how-to engage a remote team is to create newsletters to keep employees updated on events.
When employees work from the office, it is easier to know what happens around them. They get to know about their colleague’s birthday, their vacations, achieved milestones, etc., through casual conversations. However, in remote work, getting updates is not convenient.
To make it easier and to keep remote employees engaged, create an internal weekly newsletter for company-wide remote employees. You can include information like departmental wins, updates, customer feedback, internal job openings, employee achievement, etc. Further, you can also incorporate informal news like an employee’s recent vacation, their personal development story, newly attained skills, etc.
4. Virtual mystery solving
Being stuck at home with work can be stressful for your remote employees. So, try connecting the remote teams through virtual murder mystery challenges.
Virtual murder mysteries work well to get the remote employees out of their regular slumber into something fascinating. It enables remote employees to participate in challenges requiring decision-making, wit, and social skills.
Several virtual murder mystery games like Night of Mystery, My Mystery Party, and Prom Nightmare Murder Mystery. Get inspired and host your murder mystery night online.
5. Virtual recognition and awards
Virtual recognition and rewards make a significant difference in employee satisfaction. Even when employees work from home, they need to know their contribution to the company.
To ensure remote employee engagement, appreciate the extra efforts they put in. It will motivate them to perform better.
Hence, make sure that you never stop recognizing your employees’ efforts. Give them virtual recognition, email certificates, offer incentives, or say thank you over video calls.
You can also send gift cards, meals, or even hampers to your remote employees on the achievement of milestones.
6. Virtual clubs
An important activity in a 9-5 office is the water cooler conversations.
Over the water cooler, employees bond with one another through casual chitchats. It helps them empathize with each other and plays a vital role in a company’s culture. But remote work has caused a dramatic impact on this traditional office ritual.
However, managers can set up virtual clubs for remote employees to have their water cooler conversations. These virtual clubs can ensure that your employees talk to one another about anything they want amidst their regular work activities.
Use communication channels like Slack to let your remote employees talk about random things. Ask them to share pictures of their workstations, their last trip, memes, etc. to drive employee engagement.
7. Say no to unimportant meetings
Just for remote employee engagement, do not hold frequent meetings. It may cause frustration and disengage employees.
Virtual meetings are like an everyday thing for remote employees. It is because face-to-face interactions are no longer part of regular work life. However, an overload of meetings can make employees anxious and lead to a drop in their morale.
Instead, you can send emails (whenever feasible) while canceling the unwanted team meets. Also, keep a set time aside for virtual conferences and include only those employees whose presence would be necessary.
8. Take mental health initiatives
2020 created not only an impact on physical health but also mental health. Several people face challenges with their mental health due to remote work.
Remote work can be a challenge for any person. Anxiety and stress are a part of it. The anxiety to perform better or the stress of losing jobs can adversely impact mental health.
So, take care of your remote employees. While you focus on remote employee engagement, ensure that your employees are in a healthy frame of mind.
Conduct company-wide seminars on mental health awareness, and appoint counselors or advocates for employees to promote the importance of mental health.
You can also offer employees free subscriptions to meditation apps and allow day-offs for self-care.
9. Avoid Micromanagement
Micromanagement can often result in disengaged employees. Trust your remote employees with work. Like regular employees, give them the freedom to work and make decisions. Micromanaging remote employees will make them feel isolated, resulting in low morale and productivity.
However, you can always track the employees’ progress without micromanaging them. Set a few performance KPIs. Give the employees a few specific, measurable goals. It will help you maintain transparency and will eliminate the need to micromanage.
10. Give time off
Give your remote employees time off as gifts for their birthdays and work anniversaries to make them memorable. Also, you can give them a day off for their brilliant performance or perhaps to congratulate them on their promotion.
A day off with no meetings, responsibilities, or calls can relax your remote employees. They can go out with their families, get a day’s restful sleep, or even binge-watch their favorite shows. Every employee would love this virtual employee engagement idea. Try out and thank us later!
11. Organize online wellness programs
Remote work need not be synonymous with an unhealthy lifestyle or unwellness.
You can conduct virtual wellness sessions to ensure remote employee engagement and wellness. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Mental health workshops – To help employees balance their work and personal lives
- Book clubs – To enhance learning, build relationships, and maintain a healthy reading hobby outside work
- Virtual cooking classes promote healthy eating and teach employees a few healthy recipes.
Virtual yoga (read stretching) sessions, fitness classes, and stress management workshops can also help ensure employee well-being.
12. Conduct a show-and-tell video call
Does it look like your remote employees have something to show and share?
Conduct a video conference call to let your employees share their little joys. They can share something interesting like good news, a story, show their new cool gadget or even their cute little pet.
Let the remote employees share whatever they like. It will help each of the employees to bond with one another.
13. Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day
The first Friday of March is celebrated as Employee Appreciation Day. Celebrate this day virtually to convey the message that all your employees matter.
Hold a short video conferencing call, send gift cards, special treats, or care packages to celebrate this day for your regular and remote employees. You can also publicly shout out to your employees on social media to recognize their efforts.
14. Get feedback
As managers give feedback, they should take feedback from employees too. This can be about the company culture, workload, holidays, and current situations.
Such interactive feedback can help you increase employee engagement. It will also help you improve while boosting employee satisfaction and productivity.
15. Offer online training
Consider uploading different training courses for your employees. You can also offer additional skills training to help employees progress in their jobs and careers.
Online training courses are great for keeping remote employees engaged. Also, it helps to maintain a healthy mind.
Virtual Team Building Games
Besides remote employee engagement ideas, virtual team-building activities can be your answer to how to engage a remote team.
Through virtual team-building games, remote employees get a chance to collaborate and know more about each other. Further, the activities also help engage the employees more, resulting in a higher commitment to the company.
There are tons of virtual team-building activities that are easy to organize. You can do these activities with your remote teams. However, choose the best activities to build strong professional relationships among the remote team members.
Best Practice for Remote Employee Engagement
Going through the employee engagement ideas for remote workers, you will notice that everything boils down to making remote work easier.
Through remote engagement ideas, managers can give remote employees the same communication opportunities as regular office goers. Whether remote or office-based employees, the best practice is to give them a voice. Managers must successfully communicate that each employee is vital to the organization.
Making time for employees, providing feedback, and guiding them through their work strengthens the relationship between employers/ managers and employees. Implementing any remote engagement activity will be easier if you maintain this basic principle.
Here are some great practices for employee engagement with remote workers.
- Make time for regular greetings and frequent check-ins through shared communication channels
- Keep the meetings short and record everything important
- Build a resources library for the remote employees for easy access to files
- Acknowledge personal events like birthdays, accomplishments, and work anniversaries
- Send cards and thoughtful notes to employees
- Get feedback through company-wide polls and feed posts
- Express gratitude during calls and video conferences
Make the Most Out of Remote Employee Engagement Ideas
Remote employee engagement often keeps managers (and employers) up at night.
Employee engagement is vital for retention. However, it takes additional efforts to engage your remote teams.
But our virtual employee engagement ideas ensure keeping your remote teams engaged.
While you work on remote employee engagement, Multiplier can help you set up new remote teams globally. It offers a SaaS-based Employer of Record solution that can help you hire talent in different countries without subsidiaries.
Also, the platform’s global payroll solutions in 150+ countries can make payments in local currencies quickly and easily.