Engaging remote employees

Employee engagement has become a major focus for many organizations. According to Wikipedia “Employee engagement is a property of the relationship between an organization and its employees. An “engaged employee” is defined as one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests.”

Large companies that sometimes get described as “name-less” or “face-less” have tried to craft a better image. They have instructed their leaders to read about employee engagement and go through training for it.

Get involved

Remote employees can feel isolated at times. Leading remote employees we must take some time to develop engagement. We need to encourage them to be part of the process and share their ideas.

People from all personality types work as remote employees. Some are very talkative and are more than willing to share. Other introverts might need some prompting to share their opinion.

As a leader in organizations myself, I have realized that the forum may have some impact on this. One of my teammates would work mostly from home and didn’t really ever share too much. I noticed this was in larger meetings. He would share more in smaller groups or one-on-one. So make sure to vary the format.

Mentor meeting

I went to a forum on mentoring awhile back. I was amazed how some of the successful people in the panel have really used mentors. Rick was a CEO of a local architecture firm. He had the retired CEO mentor him on the decisions he had to make.

Try to find mentors for your remote employees. It is more valuable if they are people not on their team. This helps build ties to other parts of the company.

Team Building

There are many activities you can do to build team confidence when you have remote employees. Of course bringing them together for a short period of time can be a big step. Making that personal connection can help bridge those gaps that remote employees may face.

Take things you might do in person and think of ways to make them shared across distances. One company I worked with gave teams of remote employees a list for a scavenger hunt. They started with a video conference and then completed the event with another video conference. It helped bring everyone together even though they were in the same place the competed against another team.

Outline goals

When we bring in a new teammate we need to outline their goals and objectives. Companies that really move the needle have clear goals and track them. Many companies fail to do this or do a mediocre job. These organizations get average results.

People who understand what they are working for feel more engaged. Don’t leave it to chance that your new employees will figure out what you want from them. Give them something to shoot for. It reminds of a famous Zig Ziglar quote. “If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time!”

Expectations

Along with goals comes expectations. Once you make the goals clear you can set expectations and help your remote employees see their role. Doing this can save a lot of time later when things are not clear. Too many times leaders assume people know what the expectations are, don’t do it!

Workflow

Outline how things work at the company. Make sure people know who to expect to get things from. A few years ago I worked at a company where I was responsible for three separate products. Ideally, they would all work the same. Well as you can imagine they did not. There was a lot of confusion for me and many other new people as each one operated with its own process.

Training assessment

What kind of training does the new person need? People come in with different experience. Take some time to personalize things for them. Perhaps they need more or less training do to their experience. Doing the same thing for everyone rarely makes sense. Yes, it can be more work but, will serve the team better.

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