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Guest post by Joshua James, Foundcopy
When remote employees know exactly what they’re supposed to do and how their daily tasks contribute to organizational goals, they will be engaged by the clear picture of success that lies in front of them. Regardless of their location, keeping remote employees engaged and motivated is the key to ensuring a successful and efficient remote/hybrid work arrangement.
Here are three ways you can keep your team of remote employees engaged:
- Keep Expectations Clear and Measure Successes
- Ensure Your Team Understands How They Contribute To The Organization’s Goals
- Create Opportunities For Employees To Network
74% of professionals expect remote work to become the standard in most industries. When remote employees understand how their role contributes to the entire organization and have clear expectations and opportunities available, they’ll become engaged and enthusiastic about their work. This bodes well for organizations as engaged employees significantly outperform their non-engaged peers. Read ahead to discover how you can ensure your remote employees stay engaged.
How to Successfully Manage Remote Employees
When people are assigned well-defined goals and understand how their role contributes to the organization’s mission, they’ll feel that their work is valued. Having periodic Sync-Ups provides an opportunity for managers to ask about any issues that need resolving in order to ensure their remote employees stay engaged and are happy in their role.
Whether they’re outsourced writers, sales team, or members of your agency, remote contributors present unique challenges for managers. When you have remote employees it’s important to provide them with all of the tools they need to succeed, including clear goals, measured expectations, and constructive feedback.
Keeping remote team members on track is one thing, but enthusiasm and engagement are another. Here are three ways to keep them enthusiastic and engaged.
1. Keep expectations clear for remote employees and measure success
Remote employees rely on having clearly communicated expectations. Since they are not working in the office, there may be some things that are harder to see, hear and pick up on. It’s up to managers to make sure they are balancing productivity with quality. They should also keep in mind that remote employees do better when they have quantifiable milestones instead of abstract goals.
When remote team members feel like their work is appreciated and measured by specific successes, it creates a transparent method of evaluation. That motivates people to keep working towards their goals.
Meet with remote employees to communicate expectations
One way to set clear expectations is to have regular one-on-one Sync-Up meetings with each remote employee. During Sync-Ups, managers can review what was accomplished in the past, what results were achieved, and what plans consist of for the future. Regularly scheduled Zoom meetings or phone calls are an excellent tool for this.
Communicating your expectations to employees involves supporting them by keeping the lines of communication lines open throughout their workday. Remote individuals are often more productive when they have a quiet work environment away from distractions, so it’s important to give them space while still being available for questions or concerns.
Give them autonomy
When you set specific goals with milestones, remote employees will have opportunities to show off their own unique skills and abilities in achieving them. Give them autonomy by allowing them the freedom to complete the task in a way they feel is most productive.
By allowing your remote team members uninterrupted time each day, you are setting up boundaries for them while also encouraging and motivating them to be productive and creative– without micromanaging every little step they take.
Manage remote employee success through feedback
To ensure remote employees are staying engaged, managers can also use surveys to collect feedback and sentiment. This will encourage employees to stay productive. At the same time, it provides data on what they need to do their best work, how work is going, and other feedback initiatives.
To measure the success of remote employees, managers should ask them what would help them be most effective. This might include:
- Special equipment, such as a standing desk or ergonomic keyboard, or even an employee assistance plan (EAP).
- New challenges/ their interests; or
- Opportunities to work more closely/shadow peers.
Though you may not be able to provide everything, in some cases, you may be able to assist and offer advice. When people feel like their contribution matters, that they are making an impact and are being listened to, it boosts engagement and productivity. If you’re able to set clear expectations and regularly track the success of your remote employees, you can determine if they need additional support or if their remote work arrangements are working for them, and for you.
2. Ensure your remote team understands how they contribute to the organization’s goals
As a remote or in-person employee, understanding your contribution and being recognized for it is vital to feeling successful.
Consider how you communicate the vision of the organization to employees. You should be able to explain how their individual role contributes to larger goals or the wider vision, so they have a clear understanding of what it is they are working toward. When employees are on board with where your organization is headed, they’re more likely to feel engaged and connected with the work because they know exactly how they contribute to the wider vision.
Remote work can present challenges that traditional workplaces don’t face. Employees may need additional support or have questions on how best to complete certain tasks. If this proves difficult for them, it could result in poor performance or avoidance of these kinds of issues, making it harder for everyone involved.
Provide feedback on work
Remote team members may feel like they’re out of sight and out of mind. They may miss opportunities for promotions or salary raises if their contributions aren’t clearly visible to key stakeholders. Giving people meaningful feedback not only makes them more engaged but also improves overall morale.
Convey appreciation any way you can in personal and public settings (and calls), so your remote team feels appreciated for what they do each day – even if it’s just catching up on the organization’s goals over coffee. This is especially important if your remote workers live in different parts of the world. Lively video calls can convey the message that every team member plays a key role in organization’s growth and success – especially important for those abroad that may feel more distant from their colleagues.
Give remote employees flexibility to do their best work
Work-life balance is important for employees at all levels. If your remote team members feel burnt out, like they have no life outside of work, you could be killing their productivity and engagement. It’s perfectly fine for employees to come and go as needed so long as their deadlines are met, and the quality of work is not compromised. So give your people the flexibility to work in a way that works for them, you’ll see results and engagement climb.
3. Create opportunities for remote employees to network
Creating opportunities for your remote people to network with each other only strengthens the culture built at your organization. Whether it’s a weekly remote lunch-and-learn or an annual retreat, aim for time spent together to be focused on sharing knowledge and learning about colleagues.
Networking is crucial for team members to feel like they are part of the organization’s culture. Giving your employees opportunities to network with each other will help them to get to know each other, help with engagement, and help them feel like their contributions are valued. The last point can’t be emphasized enough in these remote times when personal connections are harder to come by.
Brainstorm ideas with your remote team
Not every good idea comes from management, so try brainstorming sessions where ideas are shared among employees. Not just for big decisions either – small ones matter too. Acknowledge great work or ideas in front of peers whenever you can because that kind of positive reinforcement makes people feel more engaged in their work and appreciated by not just managers but everyone in the company.
Working with remote employees to brainstorm ideas, whether it is through a Zoom meeting, conference call or even better, through a pulse survey, will help them feel more connected and valued.
WorkTango can help you engage your team for any feedback initiative to drive engagement, connection and appreciation. Schedule a demo today to speak to an expert and see WorkTango’s Employee Experience Platform for yourself.
Treat employees as if they are present in the office
Obviously, there are times when this is impossible, no matter how hard you try. Still, it’s critical that managers do their best to show remote employees that they are valued team members even if they’re not physically present.
Since remote employees do not receive visual cues from other team members, it’s all the more important to make sure they feel included through regular communication.
Be approachable and available for remote employees
You don’t have to hold people’s hands when they’re remote, but there is nothing wrong with dropping in for a quick Sync-Up about their work or going out for lunch with them. It will make them feel more like a part of the company culture and is another example of a connection that can make employees feel appreciated.
Being available for your remote employees (or having someone who is directly available for them) is a great way to keep employees engaged. If they have a question about the tasks they need to complete, it will be much easier for them to ask someone in person than by sending an email.
Remote employees may require more effort than those who come into an office every day, but it is worthwhile because many organizations are adopting a remote-friendly work arrangement moving forward, so remote working is here to stay. Plus, it’s in the company’s best interest since remote contributors outperform their in-person colleagues anyway. With just a little bit of effort from managers and creativity from employees, there is no reason why a business cannot have a successful remote working experience.
Remote team members can provide many advantages to an organization, but it requires effort from both employees and employers. With proper communication and a structure that makes them feel involved, remote working is a great way to boost morale and performance for all involved.
To keep remote employees engaged, employers should try to make them feel like a part of the team. In addition, employers should plan regular meetings, events and opportunities to network (if possible) to make sure all employees are aligned and invested in the organization’s goals and strategies.
At WorkTango, we’re revolutionizing how the world’s most forward-thinking companies engage and inspire their people. We offer the only holistic Employee Experience Platform built for the modern workplace that enables meaningful recognition and rewards, offers actionable insights through employee surveys, and supports alignment through goal setting and feedback.
WorkTango is built for the workplace we all want to be a part of – where priorities become clear, achievements are celebrated, and employees have a voice. To learn more, check out our platform overview video, or schedule a demo.
Author Bio: Josh T. James is a freelance writer with FoundCopy and has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Arizona State University.