Engaging remote employees is easier said than done. Without regular in-person events and causal interactions, remote employees can feel disconnected from your organization and their daily work. Although these moments of connection might seem insignificant, unengaged employees can seriously impact your organization as a result of:
decreased morale; and
higher employee turnover.
If this is your employees' first time going remote, the effects are compounded; a sudden lack of structure and looming uncertainty can easily alienate your employees.
To overcome these challenges, you need to show employees that you’re there for them during these difficult, unprecedented times. Reaching out to identify and address problems and opportunities is critical. To help you get started, we've put together 3 tips for engaging remote employees.
Start the conversation
This is the most important step. You probably have a lot on your plate right now, but making sure your employees feel supported and valued as we navigate these difficult circumstances should be a top priority. You don't need anything elaborate to make this connection — even just an email check-in will do.
Ask them how they're doing and assure them it's OK — and normal — to be experiencing unprecedented challenges both at work and at home right now. Starting this conversation shows your employees that you care about them, and you’re willing to consider and deliver creative ways to support them.
Demonstrating that you’re invested in your employees' well-being will increase mutual trust and confidence and build resiliency during these and other times of transformation. The mutual trust you can establish now will be invaluable for employee engagement and buy-in during other problem-solving challenges you might tackle later.
While it's important to start the conversation, you must follow through if you want to succeed in engaging remote employees. If your employees don't see any tangible results or changes from the ideas they've proposed, trust will be eroded by apathy.
This does not mean that every solution should be tested or implemented. Instead, be transparent about which ideas will be moving forward and why. Explain why some ideas have been eliminated or pushed to a later date. This will assure your employees that their voices are truly being heard and that you value their input — leading to increased engagement later on.
Enable a culture of change
If your organization has been resistant to change before, now is the time to embrace it. In these uncertain times, you’ll need to evolve to keep your business moving forward. This agile mentality (while potentially foreign or uncomfortable at first) will serve you well as you continue to problem solve and adapt.
For now, be systematic and measure what works and what doesn't as you collaborate with your employees. For example, keep an eye out for which communication methods yield the most responses, or which stakeholders need to be involved to get the best results. You can leverage these insights to keep improving your process as you tackle other efforts collaboratively moving forward.
Collaborating in times of uncertainty
As we navigate these confusing and unsettling times together, it helps to lean on each other. By engaging remote employees with problem-solving challenges, you can build trust and demonstrate your commitment to their well-being — no matter where they are.
Going forward, this trust can help you maintain agility as it promotes engagement to address challenges and opportunities as soon as they arise. For more information on generating employee buy-in for your problem-solving challenges, check out our free guide Generating Employee Buy-In for Your Challenges.