Top Four Tips for Engaging Remote Employees

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Top Four Tips for Engaging Remote Employees

Are you grappling with the struggle of motivating and engaging remote employees? Well, you’re not alone. In today’s digital age, remote work has become the norm for many companies, even small businesses, bringing with it a unique set of challenges. The good news is that there are strategies you can implement today that will help you take advantage of the benefits of remote work. 

Remote workers, though happier and more productive, face unique challenges. Without the camaraderie of an office, they may feel disconnected. Engaging remote employees is important for small business owners. We believe all business is about people, and when you take care of your people, they take care of your customers. By prioritizing employee engagement, companies not only boost morale but also ensure long-term success. 

Here at BizMatchery, while we are really good at all the digital marketing skills that help businesses grow, we also love spending time with the leaders who carry the businesses forward. We believe in top-down leadership with a bottom-up mentality. That means we believe leaders should lead from the front lines, with a sound understanding of how each decision will impact the business as a whole. That’s why we’ve put together these tips to help you in your quest to engage remote employees. 

In this blog post, we explore strategies we’ve learned over the years for managing a remote team and engaging remote employees. You can build a sense of connection and camaraderie among your virtual team. Whether that includes contractors, consultants, or full-time staff, our tips can be applied to diverse work setups. So grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and let’s unlock the secrets to engaging remote employees like never before!

What Is Employee Engagement?

Why should you care about engaging remote employees? Gallup defines employee engagement as “the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace. Employee engagement helps you measure and manage employees’ perspectives on the crucial elements of your workplace culture.” Employee engagement goes beyond just job satisfaction. It’s about commitment and enthusiasm. 

When employees feel valued, heard, and connected to your mission and values, they become internally motivated to contribute to the success of the company. They treat customers better, they help their coworkers, and they produce better results. This engagement is so important for small business owners, especially in today’s climate of increased turnover. Keeping your employees engaged will save you money in the long run, help your reputation, and power up your recruiting. So, you can easily see that engaging remote employees is a smart business decision!

How Does Remote Work Impact Employee Engagement?

Now, we’re not here to tell you that remote work doesn’t have its benefits! In fact, at BizMatchery, our team works almost exclusively remotely. We embrace the challenge of engaging remote employees as an important investment in our business. 

The good news is, generally, remote workers are more engaged, and remote teams are more inclusive and of higher quality! This doesn’t mean you can just sit back and relax, though. Engaging remote employees can present a unique challenge and takes effort. While remote work offers benefits like reduced distractions, it can also hinder spontaneous interactions that foster engagement. In remote settings, simple things like praise or impromptu check-ins become less common, negatively impacting morale and connection. In our pursuit of efficiency, we forget that a great team is more than just a collection of individuals working on their individual projects. 

Without proactive effort, neglecting to engage remote employees can lead to isolation and turnover. To counteract this, invest in strategies that prioritize connection and feedback. Your employees will see right through quick fixes or gimmicks. It will take a little bit of effort and intentionality, but you can cultivate a team that is not just productive but also invested in your company’s future. Doesn’t that sound like a company you’d like to work for?

Four Practical Tips To Engage Remote Workers

So, how do you create a business that prioritizes engaging remote employees? At BizMatchery, we believe that all business is about people, and fostering meaningful connections with remote team members is at the core of our values. After all, we spend most of our waking hours working. 

In our changing employment environment, younger workers place a higher value on work that they enjoy and is meaningful to them. What inspires Gen Z to give extra effort? “Gen Z workers benefit enormously from working in a high-trust workplace, where leaders actively engage with them, and the company makes an effort to ensure their work has meaning. When Gen Z workers experience this, they are more likely to give extra effort — no matter what their peers are doing on TikTok.”

If you don’t take proactive steps to incorporate inclusive practices, your business risks losing valuable talent and suffering financial setbacks. To ensure your remote teams remain connected and committed, consider implementing some of the following best practices we’ve found to help us achieve our goal of engaging remote employees effectively.

#1 Improve Intra-Office Communication

One of the most important considerations when engaging remote employees is the question, “How do I ensure the members of my workforce don’t become isolated?” 

The answer is to communicate often and well! We’re lucky to live in a time when there are so many options to help improve workplace communication. Technology gives remote teams so many fabulous opportunities to connect, collaborate, and contribute. Frequent, effective communication can help bridge the gap between time zones and nontraditional work hours. This is a key to engaging remote employees. 

“At a time when remote and hybrid working models have necessitated new methods of communication, there’s rarely been a better time to reconsider the communication skills within your workplace. Ensuring that every employee has the necessary skills to ensure effective communication.” (10 Straightforward Ways to Improve Workplace Communication | Workday US)  

Some quick tips for improving communication on your remote team include: 

  • Establish standards for communication. For example, on our team, we use Slack channels for quick questions and emails for more long-term, ongoing conversations. We also expect employees to respond to messages within one business day.  
  • Create a safe space for workplace communication. You can’t have effective communication without trust and openness. Remote workers will be more likely to thrive when they feel comfortable sharing ideas and asking questions. 
  • Use best practices for online tools like Google Chat, Slack, Trello, Asana, and Zoom. Technology is pivotal in streamlining communication and project management, fostering collaboration among team members. 
  • Send out regular updates. Keep remote workers informed about projects, goals, and company news to prevent feelings of disconnection. 
  • Embrace real-time instant messaging over email for quick conversations, enhancing flexibility and relationship-building among remote workers. 

At the heart of it, prioritizing communication acknowledges our value that “all business is about people,” nurturing a supportive and connected work environment for remote employees.

#2 Make Teamwork As Seamless As Possible

Managing remote and hybrid teams offers an opportunity to get creative with your teamwork strategies. Making teamwork seamless may be easier than you might think. With tools like Trello, other task management apps, and video chat platforms, remote teams can stay connected and productive from anywhere. The trick is to use these tools in a way that helps your team work together. 

Another way to promote teamwork is to create a library with process documents and training modules. Imagine having everything your team needs right at their fingertips, from policies to process manuals. It’s like having a library of success! Make the creation process simple by using a tool like Loom to record training videos. If everyone knows how to complete their tasks and where those tasks fit in the larger picture of operations, then they can work together more effectively. This is especially important for remote teams, which may have work schedules that make synchronous collaboration difficult.

#3 Hold Effective Meetings

“Meetings are supposed to be an engine of collaboration and productivity, yet studies show that less than 50% of time spent in meetings is considered effective and useful. This rampant misuse of people’s time and energy can be prevented if we all learn how to better design, run, and participate in meetings.” (9 Ways To Make Your Meetings Matter

Thankfully, there are so many technology solutions to implement and easy changes you can make to help make meetings more effective! 

  • Reduce the need for unnecessary meetings. Leverage apps like chats or Slack to deliver quick company updates and ensure remote teams stay informed without sacrificing valuable time.
  • Have a clear purpose, goals, and objectives for the meeting and ensure those are communicated to attendees. 
  • Invite the right people. Not every employee needs to attend every meeting. 
  • Be mindful of meeting length. Remote workers already contend with a higher volume of meetings than their on-site counterparts. Long and frequent meetings can contribute to “Zoom Fatigue.” 
  • Prioritize concise agendas and limit discussions to relevant topics to optimize meeting efficiency. One topic at a time! 
  • Recap and follow up on action items. This can be as simple as sending out an email with a summary and listing items that need to be accomplished.

#4 Show Employees You Care

You know your employees are real people with real lives, and showing you care goes a long way. To make your remote team feel valued and connected, take the time to get to know your remote employees beyond their work tasks. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings and take time to chat with them about their families, hobbies, and well-being. Showing genuine interest in their lives helps build trust. Where appropriate, celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries. 

Remote workers often put in extra effort without feeling like part of the team. Make recognition a priority by celebrating their wins, big or small. This can be as simple as giving them a shout-out in your Slack channel. Effectively communicating appreciation to your remote colleagues can go a long way toward building a positive work culture.   

Here’s a quick list of ways to show employees you care: 

  • Regularly greet employees and check in with them on communication channels.
  • Implement Employee of the Month programs to highlight outstanding contributions.
  • Thank employees during web conferencing sessions for their hard work.
  • Acknowledge personal events like birthdays and anniversaries with thoughtful gestures.
  • Send personalized notes or signed cards from managers and peers to show appreciation.
  • Host virtual birthday celebrations and encourage peer-to-peer appreciation.
  • Give employees shoutouts on social media platforms to spotlight achievements.
  • Consider offering monetary rewards like bonuses or raises, as well as non-monetary perks such as flexible hours or extra days off.
  • Organize special experiences, such as virtual awards ceremonies, to recognize exceptional performance.

Implementing Strategies for Engaging Remote Employees

Managing remote workers is an exciting challenge. We invite you to engage with that challenge and implement some of the strategies in this blog post. Then let us know how it goes! We believe that as you improve communication, make teamwork easier, hold effective meetings, and show employees you care, you will not only foster a thriving virtual workplace but also empower your remote team to succeed. Remember, engaging remote employees isn’t just about productivity, it’s about building a supportive community where everyone thrives. All business is about people, after all!

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