The number of employees who prefer remote work has increased. Just look at the statistics. A survey by Slack found that 72% of employees prefer a remote-office model. Of the figure, 13% would like to work from home if given the choice. However, remote work comes with challenges for employers. 70% of remote workers feel left out in the company, while 19% stated “isolation” as their number one problem when working from home. The thing is, perceived workplace isolation can lead to a 21% drop in employee performance. The good news is there’s a way to address these challenges to ensure your remote employee’s well-being and, by extension, the success of your online business. Enter remote employee engagement.
Remote employee engagement is that sense of loyalty, commitment, and emotional connection a remote worker feels toward their workplace. With engagement strategies such as virtual get-togethers and employee feedback generation, companies implementing a remote-work model can increase their workers’ affinity for the company’s purpose and make them feel like they belong. You’re missing out if you’re not implementing strategies that engage your remote employees. Here are additional benefits you can reap with remote employee engagement:
1. It Helps Boost Your Employer Brand
Your employer brand is how people perceive you as an organization that hires. A strong employer brand is critical to attracting top talent. When you edge out your competitors and hire the best employees, you ultimately achieve your business goals. A staggering 81% of employees say that how employers support mental health is crucial when looking for work. One way to show your support is by implementing remote employee engagement strategies.
Research by the Society for Human Resource Management found that employees want their employers to offer the following engagement activities to ensure their mental well-being:
Mindfulness or yoga classes: 26%
Mental health apps: 21%
Support groups: 16%
In other words, if you highlight these engagement activities to remote employees as part of your recruitment marketing, expect all those talented candidates to come to you. Your current employees, who are satisfied with how you care for them, will be the first to promote your pro-employee stance to these potential new hires.
2. It Ensures Better Customer Experiences
According to Bain and Company, engaged employees will approach their jobs with more energy. They go the extra mile and develop creative and innovative solutions to work issues. They become proactive employees who anticipate challenges and implement the necessary measures to resolve problems.
The result is that they deliver better customer experiences. This is probably why 77% of business leaders also believe employee engagement positively impacts customer satisfaction. Is reasonable customer satisfaction a good thing? Of course, it is. The more customers are satisfied with your brand, the higher your customer retention. A staggering 77% of these satisfied customers will then promote your brand to their friends. The result is, of course, brand growth.
So, how do you ensure high levels of engagement? Here are a few remote employee engagement ideas that foster interactions among your remote workers:
Virtual workout sessions
Virtual water cooler conversations
Online clubs (e.g., book club, music club, pet owners club)
You can even host themed days. For instance, on your chosen day, ask your employees to wear funny hats like these remote workers did:
Although social activities are great for remote employee engagement, they’re not the only things you should focus on. Listening to employees’ concerns can do wonders as well. A whopping 74% feel they’re more engaged in the workplace when they think their voice is heard by management. The good news is you don’t have to be in the same physical space as your team members to listen to them. For instance, video conferencing tools such as Zoom allow you to communicate with your colleagues wherever they are. Schedule one-on-one meetings with each team member so you can ask them how they’re doing. If they raise a valid concern, make sure you attend to it as well.
3. It Improves Employee Retention
If you maximize employee engagement strategies, you can improve employee retention in your organization. Highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their employer. But why is employee retention necessary? You don’t want to incur the financial costs of hiring new employees. According to Spectraforce, only 13% of companies can retain top talent, costing them $11 million to replace them. The cost of losing an employee can range from 25% to 200% of that employee’s salary. These financial costs include customer service disruption, the loss of morale, and burnout the other employees feel after the employee leaves.
Plus, when employees leave, you lose the high level of experience those employees gained while working with you. You’ll have to train your new hire, and the cost of introducing a new employee is, again, relatively high. According to the Association for Talent Development, the average price to train a new employee is $1,252.
Go beyond your virtual social events to ensure remote employee engagement. Help your remote workforce see the structures you’ve established for their growth and professional development within the organization. Also, seek ways to ensure that an employee’s personal life is not negatively affected by their emotional commitment to work. You can emphasize these ideas in regular online meetings with remote employees.
4. It Enhances Employee Productivity
According to a study by Hanaysha Jalal, employee engagement significantly positively affects employee productivity. When you consistently seek feedback from employees, after all, you can create dynamic work structures and better processes that ultimately work for these employees. These processes allow them to work more efficiently. Don’t just focus on engaging your remote employees for the best productivity results. Hanaysha further states that this should be complemented with the necessary resources. Therefore, provide your remote employees with the technologies to help them perform their jobs more efficiently.
For instance, collaboration tools like Asana and Trello can help them determine what tasks must be prioritized to ensure the team meets its goals. Tools like Google Workspace, meanwhile, can help them share files even if they work in different parts of the world. You can avail of a free trial of the tools first (many offer one), then ask your remote employees for feedback on their ease of use. If you get positive feedback, you can invest.
5. It Creates a Workforce that Doesn’t Mind Investing More Time in Its Work
Employee engagement ensures employees have a strong sense of ownership toward their responsibilities. As such, employees become emotionally invested in achieving positive business outcomes and goals. High levels of employee engagement encourage workers to show up when needed and invest ample time in performing their tasks if they have to. You’ll see them do things like spending extra hours to complete a project in due time. You wouldn’t even have to ask them to work the extra hours.
Employees like these are also more likely to pay attention to details and make time to understand the needs of a project so that they can provide reasonable solutions. They’ll even be willing to spend time educating or learning from teammates when needed. On the other hand, disengaged employees take a more hasty approach to work. Such employees show high apathy and substandard work, which could cause you to lose money. According to McLean & Company, a disengaged employee can cost an organization an estimated $3400 for every $10,000 in annual salary. So, if a disengaged employee earns $55,000 per year, the company would lose a staggering $18,700 yearly.
If you have these types of employees in your remote team, one way you can address their lackadaisical attitude toward work is to monitor them with time-tracking tools, such as Clockify or Time Doctor. On the other hand, you should reward your employees who love what they do and show it with results. Your employees want to feel valued. Acknowledging employee efforts and recognizing their work goes a long way to ensuring employee satisfaction and even higher employee engagement within your organization.
As a business leader, take a comprehensive approach to ensure your remote employees are self-driven and inspired to get things done. However, ensure your remote employees still strike a balance between work time and playtime. This is also tied to employee engagement. A Stanford University study found that employee engagement and satisfaction levels rise by 11% when workers have a work-life balance.
Employee engagement fosters a work environment that helps employees become more committed to their business objectives. Highly engaged employees have a strong sense of value that drives them to provide stellar services and perform well at work. All these apply even when you’re managing remote employees. The benefits of remote employee engagement in your organization are many. When your remote workers are engaged, you can boost your employer brand and ensure your firm’s excellent customer service and productivity. Engagement efforts will also encourage employees to invest more time in their tasks. With better engagement, your employees are also more willing to stay.
In other words, when you prioritize remote employee engagement in your organization, you improve your business performance and, ultimately, achieve success.