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5 Remote Employee Engagement Strategies That Work

Picture of 5 Remote Employee Engagement Strategies That Work

3 min read//

In an increasingly remote and candidate-driven market, companies have been forced to revolutionize the way they work. While many companies are seamlessly embracing flexible remote and hybrid work arrangements, there are still a few challenges employers must grapple with moving forward.

How do companies give their remote workforce a sense of togetherness? How do organizations overcome remote work challenges and build a strong and inclusive culture?

Transitioning to a full-time remote work experience might come with a few perks, but it doesn’t outweigh the challenges. One quote I came across on Twitter perfectly sums up the work-from-home situation for many people, including myself:

“You’re not working from home. You are at home during a crisis trying to work”. 

In an environment where pandemics have led to a heightened level of stress and anxiety, focusing on one thing may be more difficult. Lack of face-to-face supervision, restricted access to information, social isolation, and distractions might seem like the new normal, but they don’t have to be. 

This is where employee engagement comes into play. 

Employee engagement is often used interchangeably with employee satisfaction, and while somewhat related, is not synonymous. Examples of employee engagement definitions include: 

Quantum Workplace — Employee engagement is the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward their places of work.

Gallup — Engaged employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace.

Willis Towers Watson — Engagement is employees’ willingness and ability to contribute to company success.

Aon Hewitt — Employee engagement is “the level of an employee’s psychological investment in their organization.”

All the definitions have an underlying theme — the psychological component of work. Employee engagement has less to do with job performance and more to do with an employee’s mental and emotional investment into their job and the overall organizational culture. Employee engagement is the direct result of strong company culture. 

Here are 5 proven strategies that can improve engagement and create a sense of belonging among a remote workforce. 

1. Be an empathetic leader. Showing genuine interest in others and their situations can help benefit both the employee and the company’s bottom line. You will be able to tailor work assignments to their individual situations, improving employee satisfaction and productivity.

2. Work together on rules of “engagement”. Defining the rules of engagement can help your team focus on what is most important — performance. These may address how to share information, consider ideas for improvement, and make decisions. Rules of engagement don’t have to be elaborate, but they must fit your team and be embraced by them. 

3. Establish individual and team check-ins. Regular check-ins allow you to understand those unique challenges so you can support the needs of employees that are most valuable to them. Check-ins are not only important to keep employees engaged but to also provide a space where they feel heard and valued.

4. Prioritize group work and team-building exercises. Planning non-work-related virtual meetings or hangouts is important. There is always something important or stressful to discuss, but you don’t want every conversation to feel tense and dreaded. Prioritizing group activities can reduce stress and build a sense of togetherness.

5. Rewarded behavior gets repeated. In Chester Elton's book, The Carrot Principle, he illustrates that the relationship between recognition and improved business results is highly predictable — it’s proven to work. Managers who are strong in four basic categories — goal-setting, communication, trust, and accountability — invariably have happier employees. Ultimately, employee recognition motivates staff by creating actionable goals and desirable rewards for employees who can alter their behavior and performance. 

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