Boost Remote Employee Engagement With These Tips

Many employees love the flexibility of working from home but some find it isolating. Remote work can bring communication, collaboration, and cultural challenges. A survey of remote workers from Cigna found that 61% of respondents felt lonely while working out of the office. With remote workers often working in different time zones, it’s difficult to check in with their teammates when they’re unsure of something. 

Remote work is quickly becoming a norm, rather than an exception. As a result, managers need new strategies for boosting remote employee engagement and ensuring that remote workers are engaged with and included in the company culture. These tips can help you improve remote employee engagement and benefit from the business results that come from a fully engaged workforce. 

What is employee engagement?

Forbes defines employee engagement as, “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” 

Employee engagement is not the same thing as employee satisfaction or happiness. This key performance indicator is better expressed as the difference between someone who is working for a paycheck and someone who genuinely works to help the company achieve its goals

Engaged employees care about their work, and as a result, are more productive, produce better quality work, and, inevitably, achieve higher levels of profit. At one point, Gallup estimated that actively disengaged employees cost the US somewhere between $450 billion – $550 billion in lost productivity each year. 

Gallup’s research has also found that transparency is key to building employee engagement. Employees who are clear on the goals of the organization, are included in key decisions, and have a degree of autonomy can be more invested in their work. 

“Unfortunately, many organizations’ leaders aren’t doing enough to make employees feel informed: 55% of business owners believe they’re “very transparent,” but only 18% of their employees agree,” wrote Slack.

If companies were already struggling with transparency when everyone worked in an office, the problem is compounded by the rise of remote work. Communication gaps can prevent a sense of inclusivity, community, and working toward a common goal — leaving remote workers to feel undervalued and disengaged. 

How to engage remote employees

It’s important to create a sense of community and team culture among remote employees. These best practices prioritize open communication and ensure that your efforts translate into real business results. Try some of these fun ways to engage remote employees and experiment with your team to see what works. 

Start with open communication

Communicate flexibly and often. This means adding instant messaging tools like Slack, Teams, and Google Chat, setting clear expectations around video etiquette for remote meetings, and making time for regular check-ins between managers and direct reports. Project management tools, too, add transparency to workflows and approval processes. Bring all teams together on one system so everyone can have a clear picture of what work is going on across the company. 

“Remember that keeping in touch with remote workers takes a little more work. That’s why it’s important to go the extra mile, add more opportunities, and make communication with remote employees an organizational priority,” wrote BambooHR

Learn more: Staffing Using Social Media: Winning on Recruitment and Retention

Create new rituals

Small talk can have a big impact on your employee engagement. One of the highlights of working in an office environment is the little moments that bond coworkers during the course of the day. For instance, one PR team used to take a mid-afternoon break over a cold soda every Thursday. These rituals may seem minor, but they can help your team feel more connected. 

Fortunately, these moments can be replicated virtually; or, create new ones that help your team stay connected. Try starting a dedicated Slack channel for fun social messages, trivia games, or memes. Or, schedule voluntary group participation activities and invite all your employees to join these every month. Test different activities to see which ones hook the most employees. It also helps to ask employees what times they prefer. Usually, Friday afternoons work well, as employees transition to the weekend and can be more easily encouraged to socialize with the rest of the team.

Gamify remote employee engagement

A formal employee advocacy program can help improve remote employee engagement. Employee advocacy programs encourage employees to share company content or spread the word about your brand. 

Clearview Social can help remote employees share more about their experience with your company. The Clearview Social employee advocacy program allows companies to use gamification features to get employees engaged on social media. We measure shares, clicks, earned media value, and SocialScore to see who the top participants are in your program. Leaderboards and contests empower and reward employees for participation. It’s a fun way to engage remote employees in a little friendly competition that simultaneously builds your brand. 

How to measure remote employee engagement

Before you launch an employee engagement strategy, complete a baseline measurement to see how your remote employees are feeling. Send a questionnaire to take the temperature of your remote employees’ stress levels, find out how they feel about your company, and ways in which you could improve the employee experience. An anonymous questionnaire would be ideal, as it encourages employees to be more honest.

This survey can help you understand some of the unique ways to engage remote employees at your workplace. It will also help you to highlight areas of the employee experience that stand out. Many employees already have great things to say about working remotely. Use that feedback to fuel your social media strategy. 

Learn more: Creating a B2B Content Strategy for LinkedIn

As you continue to work on your employee engagement, pay attention to these key metrics: 

  • Absenteeism
  • Employee turnover rate
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Employee advocacy on social media
  • Offer acceptance rates

These indicators can help you track how well your remote employee engagement strategies are working. 

Learn more about remote employee engagement and employee advocacy. Sign up for a free demo of the Clearview Social platform.