A Guest Post by Roque Pospos
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in 2020, several companies are forced to operate from home. The pandemic changed how we perceive remote working, and some of their employees are having difficulty keeping motivated during the quarantine. Having work invading your home or safe space can be demanding for some people.
Despite many of these companies knowing how to engage employees, many do not ideally know how to keep remote team engagement. Some overstepped their boundaries which usually results in a lower company retention rate.
This article will help managers understand the most effective idea of keeping employees engaged while working virtually.
How to Keep Remote Employees Motivated?
With the sudden remote working arrangement, management usually has no idea how to keep employees engaged while working from home. There are a lot of available articles online on drivers of employee engagement. However, some of them may not be perfect for a remote team. Some may even be outdated and not effective. Thus, here are ten virtual team engagement ideas.
1. Provide the Right Tools and Equipment
An ill-equipped employee cannot do his work. More than that, an ill-equipped Remote Employee can not do any work. Lack of technical tools often causes an interruption in employee workflow. Often, not having the right tools to do their job may delay their output as they need to seek other ways to do it right. In addition, lack of tools in remote employees may hinder effective communication between the team, causing misunderstandings and resistance.
Giving your remote employees the right tools such as time-tracking, project management, and other technical tools can help them do their job effectively and efficiently. It’s also a great deal to invest in collaboration tools, like Kanban Board, to optimize the workflow and uplift your team member’s inspiration with the correct task assignment.
2. Establish Clear Goals and Expectations
Suppose your remote employees are not producing high-quality work or meeting your expectations. In that case, this might be due to not establishing clear goals and outlooks. It is easy just to give out tasks and responsibilities to your virtual team. However, guidelines and goals often slip through the cracks when giving out these tasks. It becomes more challenging to communicate these goals if you are managing a virtual team.
When this happens, remote employees are forced to guess what their managers need and sometimes give out the wrong output. Therefore, project managers should prioritize establishing clear goals and expectations and communicating these effectively.
You can adopt modern communication methods like conducting a virtual team meeting every week or, as mentioned earlier, using a collaboration tool.
3. Team Activities and Morale Booster
Team synchronization is an essential element in managing a remote team to communicate effectively and achieve goals. However, when you are not together in person, this harmony may get lost. As a project manager, you need to make sure to keep this alive even remotely.
Managers can build and maintain this vital relationship through engaging team activities and morale boosters. You can try many virtual team-building solutions such as playing video games, team lunches, or themed celebrations. These activities can help your employees get to know each other and foster better relationships.
4. Encourage Frequent Communication
Communication is one of the best methods of engaging remote employees. However, due to the pandemic, it is common for Remote Employees to feel left out. It can often affect their work quality as they often lose motivation when they feel like they are not part of the team. They may feel forgotten and unheard, which eventually may cause them to resign. As such, it’s imperative to drive strong communication between your virtual team.
To promote encouragement, managers can schedule weekly video call meetings with the virtual team. Aside from that, they can also create an “open-door” policy with subordinates. Remote employees appreciate having someone to consult when dealing with a blocker or an issue.
5. Offer Continuous Feedback
Feedback is vital for a business to thrive and succeed. Feedback can use it on ideas on how to improve the business and know what the customers want. Similarly, feedback is a superior technique on how to engage remote employees.
Employees require continuous feedback to grow and improve. Encouraging a culture of honest and open feedback for your virtual team will motivate them to achieve the team goals. Managers can organize a one-on-one session with remote employees and offer insights into their employee’s performance. However, you need to be careful when conveying feedback. Try to keep it constructive as much as possible and in an understanding tone of voice.
6. Recognize employee efforts and achievements
Recognition is one of the most effective methods in keeping employees engaged and appreciated. Managers can recognize their employees by applauding their work while having a team meeting. Aside from that, you may also introduce a recognition program like rewards, certificates, or even store promo to your entire team or even company.
When people recognize their efforts, it creates a sense of triumph and accomplishment, motivating them to do better. Employees who feel valued tend to say longer in the company as they are generally happy.
7. Foster Growth Mindset
Fostering a growth mindset is another way to engage employees virtually. A growth mindset is the thinking of leaving a space to progress and develop, no matter what your career is. This philosophy opens new training and career opportunities to remote employees. It is highly motivating as it allows them to improve their skills and strengthen the company culture.
In addition, mentoring or coaching in the workplace can significantly increase employee engagement. Mentors can help mentees to identify their points for improvement and set goals. It can help them boost confidence in dealing with issues on their own and deal with stressful situations. Aside from that, having a mentor you can trust and are comfortable with helps you combat the feeling of isolation.
8. Invest Your Time in Building Trust
Remote leadership is not an easy task. There are vital challenges present when managing a virtual team that is not faced onsite. Often, miscommunication can cause a lot of problems. As such, it is harder to establish trust when leading remote workers.
All employees hate micromanaging. It’s perhaps the worst way to kill motivation. One of the top work from home engagement ideas is by trusting them and understanding their work style. Managers can also show trust to their virtual team by allowing them to take ownership of their assigned tasks and help them in any blockers they might face.
Benefits of a Motivated Remote Employee?
Now that you know how to engage employees working from home. Let’s tackle why employee engagement is essential. Having motivated workers in your company is priceless. Motivated employees are the key to organizational success. Inspired workers correlate with the company’s success. They make sure that all goals, challenging or not, are achieved. Read on to understand the importance of motivation fully.
1. Effective Business Continuity
No effective business continuity plan can ignore the role that employees play in catastrophe. Organizations often forget that workers are a vital link in maintaining the continuity of the business. Employees are assets. They are the backbone of any company. They provide the skills and experience required to run the business.
Keeping your employees will not only keep their productivity up but also retain them.
2. Increased innovation
Motivation increases the ability of employees to innovate. Motivated employees will likely be heavily invested in the success of your company. Hence, they come up with great ideas that can help your company perform better and help your company in the long run. Therefore, nurturing creativity and motivation with a virtual team is the key.
3. Increased productivity
As mentioned earlier, employee motivation directly impacts productivity. If an employee feels engaged and motivated, they are more likely to work harder for the company. They make sure that they carry out and produce high-quality standard output.
In addition, motivation can be contagious. When an employee sees their coworker happy and motivated, their morale is affected. It can also affect their work quality.
4. Higher retention rate:
There are specific criteria as to why employees stay in a company. Either they find their role interesting, the benefits are great, or perhaps it provides better development opportunities. However, motivation could be one of the most critical factors why an employee retains in the company.
According to a Gallup Study, sustainable employee motivation increases workplace retention. Moreover, this study found that highly engaged teams experience 41% less absenteeism and a 17% rise in productivity.
Furthermore, motivation is an excellent catalyst for employees to grow. When they feel motivated, they tend to work harder and hit targets for promotions. If employees today try to avoid career stagnation as much as possible.
Due to the pandemic, it is more important than ever to focus on employee motivation. It might be more complicated due to physical distancing and remote work arrangements. Still, there are different ways to do it virtually, as mentioned earlier.
Learning how to keep remote employees engaged and motivated is only a tiny investment compared to hiring a new one. Learn what keeps employees engaged and continue to succeed in business.