If you want to consider yourself a leader in this day and age then employee engagement is the name of the game. No matter what field your organization is in, having engaged employees is an absolute must. When you have a team of highly engaged and invested employees, what you really have in your hands is a picture perfect recipe for success. While everyone can agree that having engaged employees is one of the most important assets a leader can have, we can also agree on the fact that keeping your employees engaged is easier said than done. Especially in now!
Keeping employees engaged while in a regular workplace where you have control over all the different surrounding variables was already hard enough. Leaders today have the unenviable task of keeping employees who work from their homes engaged. Virtual employee engagement is one of the most difficult management challenges of our time. Why?
Because leaders aren’t competing with water cooler conversations and minesweeper anymore.
Difficulty of Virtual Employee Engagement
Instead they are competing with all the distractions of home such as TV, gaming consoles, the sudden urge to tidy up, the playful puppy of the house, and anything else that may distract an employee from giving their all. Not only that, this is happening at a time when our attention spans are at a historic low. Decades of constantly demanding to be entertained and holding small magic boxes that blast us with all sorts of intricate stimuli in our hands 24/7 has taken a toll on us after all!
Distractions aren’t the only things standing in the way of leaders trying to keep their remote employees engaged. Remote work brings with it a sense of isolation. When you can’t see the people you are in a team with, you are less likely to be invested in the success of that team. Out of sight, out of mind. When you can’t meet with your manger in person, you are less accountable for your responsibilities. All these leads to employees being disengaged.
In order to makes sure these difficulty situations don’t affect your organization horribly, here are some virtual employee engagement tips:
Establishing a Virtual Onboarding Process
Starting strong is always one of the best ways to keep remote employees engaged. Some might say: “It is not how you start, it is how you finish.”. But when it comes to keeping employees engaged, how you start has a tremendous effect on how you finish.
To set the right tone for a positive employee experience, organizations must invest in a robust virtual onboarding process. New hires should be introduced to the company culture, team members, and work processes through virtual orientation sessions. Assigning mentors or buddies to new employees can ease the transition and provide a support system as they adapt to their roles.
Encourage Social Interaction
Remote work can sometimes feel isolating. Encouraging virtual social interactions through non-work-related channels can foster a sense of community and help employees build connections. Virtual team-building activities, casual virtual coffee breaks, or virtual happy hours can create a more relaxed atmosphere and improve team dynamics. Using a virtual employee engagement tool can help with each and every one of these team building activities.
Emphasize Employee Recognition
Recognizing and appreciating employees’ efforts and accomplishments is crucial, even in virtual settings. Implementing a system for peer-to-peer recognition or establishing a virtual “wall of fame” where achievements are celebrated can boost morale and motivation among remote workers.
Flexible Work Schedules
One of the perks of remote work is flexibility. Allowing employees to have some control over their work schedules can improve work-life balance and job satisfaction. A flexible approach to work hours acknowledges the diverse needs of employees and promotes greater autonomy.
Employee Surveys and Feedback
Conducting regular surveys to gather feedback from virtual employees is an essential practice to gauge engagement levels and identify areas for improvement. Analyzing the feedback and taking appropriate action demonstrates the organization’s commitment to the well-being and satisfaction of its remote workforce.
Keeping remote employees engaged has never been more important, nor has it been any harder. While it is true that we are getting more and more used to being parts of remote teams, new challenges in keeping employees invested and engage keep popping up. If you stick to the virtual employee engagement tips we’ve listed above, you should have no trouble keeping your remote teams engaged.