Employee engagement has become a challenging for many industries as they shift towards virtual workspace. Remote work has become common, and as more and more employees are going virtual, the importance of remote employee engagement has become an important issue to keep employees productive. While remote work may have its fair share of advantages for employees but it also has its disadvantages. Some remote employees may experience the lack of accessibility to human activity which causes loneliness and feeling of isolation.
Still, many organisations consider that it is impossible to engage with remote employees and, worse, they also think remote employees aren’t getting work done. Read on to know more about the importance of employee engagement in a virtual workplace and how remote collaborative tools can help remote employees stay engaged.
Before we jump to how to keep employees engaged, we must first understand what employee engagement is and how it works. As per SHRM.org, employee engagement is the level of dedication of employee commitment and connection to the company, and sincerity towards the company, colleagues, and company culture.
We all know employee’s are the most integral part of any business and employee engagement has emerged as a major part of success in today’s fierce marketplace. The level of employee engagement directly impacts a company’s sales and status. A Gallup survey says that engaged employees are 21% more functioning than those less engaged. A company with a high growth means that employees are highly engaged. Which is why the company focuses on creating a work culture where employees can give their best for the company.
The expansion of technology refuelled virtual work, and the number of work from home practices are increasing across many industries. However with the rise of hybrid work, businesses need to work hard to keep their alignment synchronised with virtual teams to ensure productivity. Employee engagement is equally important in a virtual workplace and hence businesses must organise team building activities to leverage virtual team empowerment and retain employee engagement. These practices increase employee engagement, strengthen team connections and maximise productivity. Let’s look at more reasons why employee engagement is vital in a virtual workplace.
- Remote employees need empathy- Remote employees face multiple challenges while working from home. When a team supervisor can not see them face-to-face, it also becomes difficult for them to understand what an employee is going through. A proper communication with a virtual team can help supervisors to come closer to remote team members and support them whenever they need support. Remote employees also need considerate management to understand how remote work works and a seamless support to help employees unlock their true potentiality.
- Employee engagement ensures high retention: Employees look for a workplace which will help them to grow and also let them balance their personal life. They leave mainly due to inconsiderate and unsuccessful leadership. When the turnover rate increases in any organisation, it increases the hiring cost. During this crisis situation HR’s can focus on improving employee retention through employee engagement. Because not only are happy employees going to stay for longer, but also perform productively.
- Engaged employees are more productive: Employees who are engaged are likely to perform better and more efficiently than those less engaged. Engaged employees are more connected to their team, are accountable, more connected to the company and are productive. Various studies also support the fact that increasing employee engagement leads to an increased profit for any company and it helps companies to turn customers into loyal customers.
- It increases customer satisfaction: Fostering a good work culture can boost employee and team’s morale. The more employees feel involved, the more they put effort into serving their customers to bring out fruitful results. When employees put their highest effort into making customers happy, the company will receive better customer satisfaction.
- It enhances company culture: Employees feel truly attached when they know the company values their effort, even though they work remotely. Employees like it when other employees check in with them and work together to adhere to the company’s values when they are engaged.
- It impacts company’s success: Employees work hard when they know their work matters to their company. Engaged employees are often the hard working employees, who are willing to contribute their skills and talent to the company which ultimately helps the company to grow and bring a profitable result.
Best Practices For Virtual Team engagement
Here are some ways in which team leaders can take the initiative to build a culture appropriate work environment to promote virtual team bonding:
- Regular follow up and feedback with virtual teammates: It is easy to know who is working on what in a traditional workspace. However, it gets challenging when the team works from a distributed location, it becomes important for managers to conduct regular check-ins with employees to better manage them. Regular followup with teammates will help managers and employees to know what work to prioritize the most. They can work together, provide clear deliverables, support and get a clear picture of the work process and identify scope of improvement from their perspective. Being in touch with teammates will help managers understand how best to support employee’s work, productivity, growth, and success.
- Use productivity monitoring software: To keep a tab on your virtual workers and to eliminate the guessing game, implement a tracking and monitoring software. The software will give you valuable data to know your employee better. Monitoring work from home employees is made easy and effective with the use of such software which tracks time, captures screenshots and provides productivity metrics of individual employees.
- Arrange a virtual get together: In a hybrid environment employees work together without seeing and knowing each other. Getting the opportunity to know each other can help them to work better as a team. As a manager of a virtual team, you can schedule a weekly or bi-weekly discussion session where team members will only indulge in a casual conversation. This is an easy yet effective initiative that brings the team members closer, helps employees feel less isolated and increases employee engagement.
- Conduct employee wellness program: As your employees are working from home, taking wellbeing initiatives can help you better understand their mental, physical and social well being. There are various corporate social apps available that help remote teams to connect together and help managers to know more about health activities that employees perform. The apps are designed in such a way that helps teams to better practice healthier habits.
- Provide Acknowledgment and Awards: when employees receive praise and recognition from managers for their performance it boosts employee morale and motivates other employees to perform better to achieve the same acknowledgement. You can offer financial incentives, training opportunities, a wellness package or any other award to motivate your employees and make them more engaged in their work.
In a fast paced world, most companies are considering remote work as a permanent option. If the work activities are well-coordinated, remote work can be a win-win situation for both parties. If you are managing a remote team, try to build a fun, transparent and collaborative virtual environment where transparent communications is encouraged. Remote employee monitoring software and many other tools can keep the workflow seamless and improve the performance of individuals. In a nutshell, employee engagement is an essential to build a stable remote workforce for any business.