Employee engagement has also been corporate jargon for most businesses. Every organization realizes the fact that high remote employee engagement drives greater success and higher profitability. Given that, entrepreneurs and HR professionals brainstorm in a consistent way to evolve new strategies for achieving high employee engagement. However, still, a larger part of the global workforce remains disengaged from work. In its Global Workplace Report, Gallup presumes that not more than 15 percent of workers are actively engaged in their work. Hence, there is a need to bring paradigm shifts to the existing strategies that are proving to be little effective. Not to forget, a large part of employees across the globe are working from home in the current era.
The colossal rise in the culture of remote working brings new challenges for HR managers. No doubt, this style of working is a win-win situation for everyone. It has fascinating benefits to offer to both employees and employers. According to remote working trends from Forbes, 70 percent of the global workforce will be in remote working by 2025. Besides, a Gartner CFO survey suggests that two-thirds of employers may allow permanent work from home for their employees. Hence, in the coming years, there would be more hybrid offices and virtual meetings. Plus, there will be more virtual hiring which will see remote workers working from different time zones. However, engaging remote workers is going to be a greater challenge for organizations with the exponential rise in remote work.
It would only be prudent to say that remote working is the way forward. It may have emerged as a safe and viable alternative in the pandemic, but now it holds the key to the future of the corporate realms. Despite the astonishing benefits of its inculcation, the trend of remote work does pose challenges for HR managers to manage remote engagement. However, these challenges can be kept under check with some outside-the-box strategies. Creativity is the most important skill in the world, after all. With creativity and rationality, all challenges can be made to concede defeat. In this meticulous blog, we glance at some fabulous ideas for active remote employee engagement.
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Worthwhile ways to engage a virtual workforce
1. Give a bright start to everyone’s day
HR managers and employers often organize engagement activities in the workplace. Now when offices have gone virtual, it is time to take these activities virtual too. The levels of employee engagement depend on how positive employees feel. To engage remote workers and to start their day on a bright note, HR managers can organize online yoga, aerobic, or Zumba classes. These can prove to be highly rewarding employee engagement activities. Much before office time, employees can be engaged with online fitness classes via video conferencing. To cite an example, if the login time for work is 10 am, online fitness classes can be held at 8 am every morning. After a small session having begun on an energetic note, employees can then take a small break before they begin their work. This can be one of the most productive ways to help employees maintain a work-life balance.
Building such a coordinated morning routine for everyone will have multifarious merits. While it will give a fresh start to everyone’s day, it will also promote the idea of employee wellness. Mental and physical fitness are salient to employee engagement and their capability to perform with persistence. So, when they meet each other virtually in the morning and participate in fitness modules with zeal, it will keep their productivity and mood enhanced for the rest of their day. As per the findings of a recent survey by TELUS International, mental health is a prime concern for workers. More than 80 percent of workers will consider quitting their current positions for organizations that pay more heed to the mental wellness of employees. Employee wellness initiatives can help an organization create a vibrant, caring, and high-value company culture. Hence, by caring for their remote workers every day, companies can win their unconditional commitment.
2. Conduct virtual coffee breaks
A lot can happen over a cup of coffee indeed! When working at the office, employees feel happy to have some light-hearted conversations over a cup of coffee. But working from home in a relentless manner can lead to massive stress. So, everyone deserves a little break, after all. Given that, HR managers can create a space for virtual coffee breaks amid the routines of remote workers. Everyone can break for coffee at the same time, see each other on the screen, and have refreshing discussions. While this will keep employee relationships flourishing, it will also act as a channel for stress-busting. These synchronized breaks will give remote workers a window to relax and will help employees feel delighted. They will replicate the feeling of face-to-face communication among employees.
In fact, the scope for innovation around these coffee breaks is immense. Every day can be centered around a theme for discussions. Or one employee can play songs for other employees on a day when it is his turn to do so. These virtual team-building activities can be spiced up with as much creativity as possible. Employees can also endorse their talents in these little windows or introduce their pets to others. This for sure will have a positive impact on everyone’s enthusiasm and work dedication. Beginning afresh after a small and happy break is always a great idea! More ideas can be taken from some state-of-the-art employee engagement software.
3. Maintain transparency even in remote working
Transparency shown by organizations is a key determinant of the engagement of their employees. It is one of the paramount determinants of the company culture of an organization. A Harvard Business Review study concludes that employees give their best when senior management has transparent communications with them. But around 50 percent of workers feel that their organizations exhibit a lack of transparency. Given that, it is crucial for organizations to be at least selectively transparent. The idea of transparency, however, seems even more unrealistic in remote work and virtual meetings.
Having said that, HR managers need to identify the right channels for sharing information with remote workers. It can be done by sharing weekly email newsletters or holding virtual meetings like those held to discuss targets. Companies can share information with remote workers through conference calls, video calls, or other collaboration tools. Various strategies for the same can be brainstormed and refined. Otherwise, in the lack of transparency, workers will start to disengage from remote work.
4. Virtual mentorship programs for employees
The prospects of career advancement, learning, and development form an integral part of an employee’s allegiance to an organization. Employees are happy to serve organizations that offer meaningful opportunities to learn and develop. The retention rate and engagement levels in such organizations are high. This is the reason why some of the most successful companies invest in mentorship programs for employees. Caterpillar, Fidelity Investments, Google, and General Electric are some of the ventures that offer excellent mentorship programs. In fact, General Electric has leveraged a reverse mentoring program. In this program, subordinates mentor their superiors, and this is where GE scores so well on retention and active engagement.
The best part is, the vertical of online training and learning has risen parallel to remote working opportunities. So, curating online mentorship programs for employees will involve no hassle. Employees will love to learn new skills while working from home. Companies should offer free learning courses and mentoring programs to employees for higher engagement via collaboration tools. In the ultimate sense, it will lead to a more skilled workforce hence benefiting the company. It will be a smart investment that will serve multiple purposes for companies. For instance, companies can launch mentorship programs on sentiment analysis or social media analysis. Now that is something outside the box for sure! Programs on social media marketing and analysis can help companies dominate social media platforms. Needless to say, winning social media has now become indispensable for enterprises.
5. Virtual recognition
Recognition for most employees is of paramount importance. It is the basic human tendency to feel more motivated while being on the receiving end of well-deserved recognition and appreciation. Employees feel great in a usual workplace when they receive recognition in front of their peers, and everyone lauds their efforts. Well, this can even be recreated in a remote working setup. HR managers need to find some intriguing ways to celebrate employees and their tenacious efforts in the virtual office. They can include recognition in the normal day-to-day virtual meetings, or a certificate of appreciation can be mailed personally to employees. There are innumerable ways of extending appreciation and recognition. To cite a small example, companies can reward the best performers with gift cards or shopping vouchers.
Otherwise, the best way out is to ask employees. HR managers can ask employees during general meetings about the best ideas for recognition in a virtual workspace. HR can also make video calls to each employee and seek their suggestions. It is always better to learn from them how they want to be recognized for their valuable contributions. Sometimes, for the best levels of engagement, it is better to do things as they like.
To encapsulate, albeit, with some hurdles, remote work has greater room for innovation. As long as HR managers choose to be creative, they can promote high engagement. The key lies in understanding the challenges remote workers face and addressing them. Besides, there should be knowledge of the basic anticipations that employees may have from the organization. These anticipations can be different when employees are working from home. Also, keeping in mind that remote working is the way forward, the strategies have to be long-term. The idea should be to evolve dynamic virtual team-building activities and strategies. The dynamics of employee engagement will keep changing with every new trend. This is why HR professionals should incorporate flexibility and creativity into their ability to manage people.