The number of remote workers all over the world is ever increasing. Companies’ attention has been drawn to outsourcing and with it comes hiring people to work for them remotely, possibly even half way around the world, in another time zone. It gives forward-thinking companies HR leverage and many other benefits. Hesitations come in the form of engagement concerns.
We believe that out-of-house teams can be just as productive as in-house ones provided the employer makes a concerted effort when it comes to communicating the company's goals, the department's targets and their individual roles and how their role makes the team whole. Let us discuss some key points.
- Real Time Communication
Technology facilitates communication for team members wherever they are. It is easy and convenient to reach out to a colleague on Hangouts, Skype or wireless phones. Those willing to take the next step invest in a real-time communication platform to have virtual meetings, interviews, etc. Employees you do not frequently see in person will definitely feel appreciated and benefit from these interactions.
- Engagement should be a Priority
By definition, employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. Basically, your employees should care about their work and their company. The sentiments go above the paycheck where they identify with the company’s goals and work to accomplish them. However, engagement does not happen on its own and it is easy to make remote workers feel left out or out of the loop. So, read the next few points of this article to prevent this from happening.
- Meet the Team
As costly as it may be, bringing the entire team together a few times per year is an excellent idea. They help the work environment, colleagues get to know each other in person and what they do better, as well boost motivation and engagement. Research shows that there is always an increase in productivity levels after such meetings.
- Implement Employee Recognition Programs
As much as you would like to focus on real-time communication, sometimes it is easy to forget about remote employees. You probably ask for their contributions when a deadline is looming. Make sure you recognize their efforts by implementing an employee recognition program. It can be social recognition from their employees and peers, extra payment or any other perks you come up with.
- Get to Know your Remote Workers
Remote workers are a challenge for traditional managers. Daily interactions in the office space do not occur, communication is likely on an online platform where they cannot really discuss their weekend plans. The above-mentioned meetings and interactions would be a good place to start to get to know your remote workers better. Here are a few questions to guide you: What are their ideas about a certain topic? What are their career aspirations? Do they identify with your company’s goals? Ask them about their family, the sports they play, their hobbies etc. Get to know the whole person, not just the remote worker.
Now that you have an idea about how to engage remote workers, get to work on creating and implementing your own plan. It's worth the effort.