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By: Krystal Freeman on May 16th, 2014

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4 Best Practices for Remote Employee Engagement

Business Management & Strategy | Employee Relations

Things are a bit different in the 21st century around the workplace with laptops, cellphones, and even tablets as the norm for technology issued when a new hire begins. Although employees are provided with different tools to communicate from any and everywhere, leaders sometimes fail to effectively engage their virtual workforce. While of course this is not on purpose, but we see it occur due to the old saying, "out of sight, out of mind".

To avoid this, let's discuss a few methods for remote employee engagement:

  1. An effective onboarding process is the first step to employee engagement.
    To show a new employee the organization cares about their growth and success, it's important for both HR and the employee's manager to check-in after the 30, 60, and 90 days of hire. In addition, it allows the organization an opportunity to receive first-hand feedback from a new hire's perspective. In turn, management and HR are shown what is working and what can be improved. The 30, 60, and 90 day check-in meetings also can highlight a new hire's strengths and weaknesses. The trick is to continue the regular meetings and conference calls beyond the 90 days in order to maintain and highly engaged workforce.
  2. Conference calls, team meetings, and regular one-to-one meetings between managers and employees are some of the most effective means to engage a remote workforce.
    For example, team meetings give management a chance to share company goals, projects, and future plans. Additionally, team meetings allow the organization an opportunity to share employee promotions, accomplishments, introduce new hires, and celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. By sharing these life and professional events, employees are given an opportunity to get to know each other. Should your organization have the financial capability, an off-site company retreat can be an excellent boost to employee morale by allowing employees to put faces with names and experience different team building exercises.
  3. Cross-training employees, new and tenured, can prove to be an effective method for engaging employees.
    Cross-trained employees have a better understanding of their colleague's duties and about the organization itself. Although your staff is remote, many times webinars or virtual team meetings could prove useful for learning about other departments. Simultaneously, an organization can have a have a tenured employee train and mentor a new employee on company processes and procedures for assimilation into the culture. 
  4. Informing employees of the organization's mission, vision, values and goals goes a long way.
    It happens, sometimes employees just "do" without an understanding of "how" their contributions effect the long-term strategy of the organization. Sharing goals, understanding core values, and what their overarching purpose is will assist in eliminating the just "do" mentality of an employee.

All of the methods mentioned will assist in engaging your employees. However, there is a theme with all of the methods: communication. Communication is the key to ensuring your employee's will remain with your organization and stay effectively engaged.