Today, remote work is a common practice in many industries.
According to Global Workplace Analytics , offering remote opportunities is an attractive way to gain productive workers.
While it has its fair share of benefits such as saving time, saving money and encouraging work-life balance, it also has its downsides.
Because they're not always in the office with other team members, remote workers often feel less engaged and less connected to the company's mission. They feel lonely, unhappy and unappreciated. The disconnect hurts productivity and performance.
It’s a huge problem.
When you start running your own business, employee engagement is a powerful factor in your business success.
But, first, what is employee engagement and why is it important? According to Custom Insight , employee engagement is the extent to which your employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work. However, it’s not the same as employee satisfaction.
Employee engagement drives performance. They understand your company’s mission, how they fit in to it. Engagement leads to better decision-making, drives revenue, creates quality products and services, and positive customer interactions.
A company with an effective employee engagement strategy and a highly engaged workforce is more likely to retain top performers and attract new talent.
Today more than ever, organizations rely on the energy, commitment, and engagement of their workforce to survive and thrive in the twenty-first century.
So, what’s behind building employee engagement?
Here are some ways to make your remote team feel like they're indeed part of the team.
Build trust as a cornerstone of employee engagement
Trust is the bedrock of any successful, healthy, thriving relationship and it's essential to your business success.
And, the ability to build and sustain high levels of trust between employees and management is critical.
Without it, your leadership is doomed. Lack of trust stifles creativity, halts innovation, and abandons reasoned risk-taking. Lack of trust leaves you with a staff that has the quit mentality but stay on the payroll, sucking your precious resources.
Trust is the "magic" ingredient on your organization's life. It acts as a bonding agent that holds everything together and a lubricant that keeps things moving smoothly.
However, trust doesn't just happen.
Key elements to build trust in remote teams are;
Dependability – Construct your team based on skill sets, communication style, and personality traits. If your team is dependable, you can anticipate how people will perform and trust them to meet deadlines and deliver.
Consistency – Treat your team members with the respect they deserve. Apply consistent workflows and protocols to everyone without exceptions.
Demonstrate confidence in your team – Praise and reward achievements for individual team members. Focus on how each milestone plays a critical role in your business success. Also, give feedback on areas of improvement and provide coaching where possible.
Transparency – Share information openly with your remote team. Such as work schedules, progress, and status at any time.
Interpersonal relationships – Create a channel where your team can share personal updates, such as how they spent their weekends. Such an investment will lead to an enduring relationship and exceeding goals.
Commitment – Committed team members meet deadlines because they have an understanding of how their individual input contributes to the overall strategy.
Trust built and sustained through behaviors that align with competence, integrity, care, and dependability.
Such behaviors cultivate an environment where employees feel safe and want to invest their discretionary, contrary behavior foster distrust, fear; people withdraw and give minimal effort.
Use Technology to bring remote teams together
According to Fast Company survey, getting up close and personal in traditional ways such as mentoring and face to face interactions is still relevant in these current times of social media.
However, such traditional ways have become a challenge with remote teams. Even more difficult if your team members work from different parts of the globe.
Earl White, Vice President of House Heroes LLC, a Florida cash home buyer working with a remote team, says company culture changed once they introduced ways of bringing remote employees together.
To manage the new challenge, Earl said they got a Slack Account and created a dedicated "General" channel for employees across all teams where employees could share successes, ask questions and even tell jokes.
Earl said once they found the general Slack channel was so successful, House Heroes LLC started using Ring Central, which is self-described as "The leading all-in-one phone, team messaging, and video conferencing solution."
It enables team members across the globe to engage with each other through video conference calls in a convenient way.
Determining the best tools for your remote team depends on your company’s business model, its culture, and employees’ needs and attributes.
Build transparency in the workplace
According to Gallup’s survey , 87% of employees worldwide are no engaged, yet many companies are not aware of it.
Without transparency, employees will lack direction and emotional commitment.
It doesn't have to be this way.
“Engaged employees are in the game for the sake of the game; they believe in the cause of the organization.” – Paul Marciano
How can we achieve transparency?
By being honest with them, answering their queries, letting them know what is happening and what are the reasons behind the set objectives. Put simply; you need to be transparent.
This kind of transparency stimulates trust within your organization . It makes them feel involved when you ask them what's working for them and what isn't. Your transparency demonstrates your commitment to act on any uncovered issues and willingness to respond to their needs.
How do we bring transparency in the workplace?
Encourage open communication – Ensure all your remote team members can quickly and efficiently communicate with you or one another. You can use real-time video chat for global teams
Fortunately, we have tons of helpful apps that keep track of all team members' contributions and comments or questions. Encourage them to make it a habit to check in daily; then you will address ideas or issues seamlessly.
Ensure accountability- Track their progress and increase transparency by making them accountable for their work output. It helps keep the team morale high and productivity levels high.
Honor your commitments – Make sure you honor your obligations whether implied or written. Reward them accordingly, no matter how small or big. Ensure the process is transparent without favoritism.
Make sure everyone is on board
Create a culture that is conducive for them to make choices that are good for your business. And, engaged employees are right for your business. Top- down management destroys creativity, team ownership, and passion.
Everyone on board is more likely to buy-into changes that they influenced, You will also have a team which is engaged in their jobs works harder, treats customers better, knowing that you support them and care about their opinions.
How do you achieve this?
Solicit their feedback – Ask for their input with your new idea. Some may bring ideas you never thought about. You also get to know who is ready for change and ready to embrace your new vision. This way you only work with a team that shares your vision.
Engage their emotions – Let's say your idea saves money, go ahead and explain how saving money will help them. Will the savings lead to better pay? Is the new system or idea increase their productivity, make them more efficient? Whatever the case, it puts a personal face on the argument.
Prepare to compromise – Don't be too much in love with your idea or business. If your team hates it, allow them to brainstorm options as long as they achieve the same objective. You may end up with a workable solution that isn't yours but still accomplishes your desired outcome.
You'll have better productivity if you and your remote team work together.
They need to know they can speak up if needed. It may not change the outcome but listening solves a lot of problems.
Whether your team is remote or not, the time, generating employee engagement in your business can have a huge pay off. What measures are you taking to generate employee engagement in your remote team?