Many organizations now include remote workers as part of their overall workforce, seeing the benefits of flexible working to the employer as well as the employee. Some might say it's even more important to have a policy for employee engagement when it comes to remote workers because the old adage 'out of sight, out of mind' could apply in cases where a remote worker feels undervalued.
Some of the more traditional methods of boosting employee engagement, like having a physical 'open door' policy or sitting down together as a team, don't always seem like the obvious choice when it comes to engaging remote employees. With that in mind, how do you ensure that they feel motivated, engaged with the business, and appreciated as a valued member of the team?
Utilize employee engagement surveys
Employee engagement surveys are an easy and effective way to measure employee satisfaction, as well as keeping everyone engaged and motivated, and they're equally important for remote workers. If you don't see employees every day, it can sometimes be easy to 'forget' they're out there, but you really need to keep on top of their feelings and opinions. Otherwise, resentments may brew, and you could struggle to make the right decisions when it comes to motivating every employee, wherever they're based.
Use technology for virtual face time
While you can't necessarily physically sit down together, either as a team or one-to-one basis, the wonders of technology makes keeping in touch easy. Applications like Skype and HipChat mean you can have video chats at the touch of a button, and even if there's nothing work-related to discuss, getting everyone together to chat virtually can make remote workers feel less, well, remote! Phone calls aren't necessarily the best way to ensure open communication, because without being able to see the other person's face, it's easier for misunderstandings to occur.
Include remote workers in office traditions
Whatever your company culture, there are bound to be some traditions that everyone likes to be involved in, like the birthday boy or girl buying cakes, team building days, or leaving early on a Friday. Try wherever you can to include remote workers in whatever traditions your organization holds dear - sending a card/gift on their birthday, planning team-building/treat days around the times they're visiting the office, or making sure they down tools for the day at the same time as everyone else.
Keep everyone in the loop
Remote workers might not often get the opportunity to come into the office for meetings to get that social interaction, so it's up to their management to make that opportunity. Once a month would be ideal, but quarterly or bi-annually would work if that makes more sense in your circumstances. Whether it's an official meeting, team lunch, brainstorming session, or just a day working in the office, as long as workers aren't too remote (a different continent might make it tricky!), it really helps. It's also easy to forget remote workers when work issues crop up, news is shared, or a last minute project needs to be discussed - but it's so important to make sure they're contacted as and when it happens.
Strong relationships with remote workers equal strong employee engagement, so honesty, communication, and the ability for every employee to share their feelings are all crucial.
Primalogik 360 offers the Employee Surveys tool to help out in knowing how your employees are feeling. Give it a try for free today. Just sign up for a Free Trial to get full access for 30 days.