The remote workforce has grown rapidly over the last few years—and it’s not likely to slow down anytime soon. In fact, it’s predicted that 73 percent of all departments will have remote workers in the next decade. This growth presents a new set of challenges for employers: figuring out how to manage remote employees and protect them from becoming unengaged.
That said, with the right strategy in place, you can build out an engaged, productive remote workforce. In this article, we’ll share tips to help you spot when remote employees are becoming unengaged, along with ways you can proactively address it—before they’re completely disengaged and ready to jump ship.
In an office environment, it’s easy to spot when employees are becoming unengaged. For employees who see one another on a daily basis, it’s obvious when a team member is checked out and unmotivated. However, because you can’t observe them in person, it’s typically much harder to spot when remote employees become unengaged.
However, while spotting decreased engagement may be challenging, it’s not impossible. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for that might indicate disengagement.
Lack of communication: If a remote employee’s communication has slowed or stopped completely, they might be unengaged.
Shifts in productivity: Changes to work habits, such as missed meetings and deadlines, are likely signs of disengagement.
Declining participation: Pay attention to a decline in a remote employee’s participation in group activities or chats, as this may be indicative of decreasing engagement.
You should also consider requesting feedback from remote employees so you can learn directly from the source. Send out an anonymous survey, offering remote workers the opportunity to share feedback on their experience working with the company.
Once you start spotting signs that remote employees are becoming unengaged, you should take proactive steps to address it—before they disengage completely. Some ways to improve remote engagement include:
A great way to improve engagement among your remote employees is to improve internal communication. Make it a point to touch base with remote employees often, checking in and offering opportunities for them to provide updates, ask questions, and share any concerns. While instant messaging is a great way to check in with your remote workers, you should also embrace video conferencing, which will give them a chance to have face-to-face interactions with the team.
Don’t forget to celebrate the wins of your remote employees—everybody likes to be recognized now and again. When a remote employee does a great job on a project, shout them out and recognize their hard work in front of the team. By recognizing their efforts and showing you appreciate them, you can motivate and inspire remote employees, ultimately boosting engagement and improving job satisfaction.
You can enhance remote employee engagement by arming them with helpful digital resources. For example, you can share an interactive employee directory and live org chart with remote employees to help them feel more connected to the organization. And with access to employee profiles, this naturally encourages networking opportunities and relationship building. (Did you know that employees who have best friends at work are more engaged and less likely to leave for another company?)
From Slack channels to personalized employee profiles, there are a number of ways you can build a digital company culture for your remote employees. Social media platforms, internal newsletters, and the intranet are all great ways in which you can build on that company culture, sharing relevant content to engage remote employees and help them feel like part of a team.
Today’s work environment is more collaborative than ever before—and with access to cloud-based collaboration and file-sharing tools, remote employees can be just as involved. Encourage and celebrate collaboration when possible, as this will give your remote team members a chance to work alongside others in your company.
Another highly effective way to engage remote employees is to offer an abundance of training opportunities to help them learn and grow. Employees today value training and continuing education opportunities more than former generations in the workplace. You should also make career growth a priority, providing a clear path remote employees can follow to grow with the organization.
Looking for more ways to engage remote employees at your organization? Download The Definitive Guide to Org Charts to learn more about the relationship between organizational charts and employee engagement.