How to Keep Remote Employees Engaged

According to Gallup’s most recent data, 43% of American employees work remotely at least part of the time. That’s up from 39% in 2012. With work-from-anywhere policies becoming more and more common and the remote workforce continuing to grow, companies need to make a concerted, consistent effort to keep their remote employees engaged.

What do we mean when we say employee engagement? We’re defining employee engagement as an individual employee’s commitment to their organization’s goals.

Unfortunately, the majority of American workers, 67%, say that they are “not engaged” in their work. Click To Tweet

In order to sustain success at the organizational and individual levels, employees need to connect with and work towards clearly defined goals—goals that tie into the company’s larger mission. And the company needs to reward those individual efforts and help their employees continue to grow and flourish professionally.

Unfortunately, the majority of American workers, 67%, say that they are “not engaged” in their work, according to Gallup surveys. And remote employees are in the most danger of becoming disengaged, because they’re removed from day-to-day office life. Managers need to ensure that their remote team members have the same opportunities to contribute as the rest of the team. How?

Here are five strategies for how to manage remote employees.

Make Sure They’re Part of the Team

Remote employees don’t want to feel remote. A sense of isolation or feeling disconnected from the rest of the team kills employee engagement. Make remote employees an integral part of the team by always keeping them in the loop. Include them in all team meetings, even impromptu ones. Give remote employees an opportunity to contribute during brainstorming sessions. Solicit their feedback and recognize their success.

With a plethora of instant messaging and video conferencing apps available, there’s no reason that a remote employee should be left out in the cold.

Schedule Regular Check-Ins

The key to managing remote employees is communication. Managers should check-in with their remote employees on a weekly, if not daily, basis. This is vital for building a strong professional relationship in lieu of daily face-to-face encounters that the manager and employee would have in the office.

Schedule days for the remote employee to come into the office—ideally once per quarter—to check in and spend time with their teammates in person.

Set Clear Expectations

Follow the same goal-setting and performance management procedures with your remote employees as you do with your in-house team.

Managers need to collaborate with remote employees to establish a schedule that works for both sides, taking geographic differences, time zones, etc. into account.

Focus on Development

Providing continuous feedback and coaching is one of the best ways to communicate to remote employees that your company is invested in their long-term growth.

Again, regular check-ins and agile performance management techniques will help managers develop a relationship with and deeper understanding of their remote workers—their goals, their strengths and weaknesses—and allow for a more personalized management approach.

Focus on the Big Picture

Executives and managers need to clearly articulate how remote employees contribute to the company’s big-picture goals. Fostering this sense of purpose will inspire employees to work for something bigger than themselves, which is crucial when remote employees spend most work days alone.

Be transparent about the organization’s long-term goals; quarterly or biannual all-company meetings are a great way to align the entire organization.

Be transparent about the organization’s long-term goals. Click To Tweet

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