With the seismic shift to remote work, employee engagement, which some organizations may have felt they were getting a handle on, has reemerged as a major challenge. A recent report shows that 71% of managers feel employee engagement has a direct impact on the overall success of an organization. With this number in mind, leaders need to understand and implement strategies that result in positive employee engagement, while also factoring in the remote work aspect. We have curated a list to help your organization reevaluate its remote strategy to improve employee engagement and see continued success.
Define Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is best defined by the level of motivation, energy, and commitment an employee feels towards their work and professional values. Their passion shines through their daily responsibilities and they feel motivated, not obligated, to complete tasks to reach their personal, team, and company-wide goals. Inspirational author, Simon Sinek states, “When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” When tackling employee engagement strategies, managers need to look closer at the four levels of engagement: highly engaged, actively engaged, somewhat disengaged, actively disengaged. This deeper understanding of the various levels helps managers to know how to measure engagement, create a more accurate picture of how to address it, and how it needs to evolve as the company grows.
Seek Input and Over Communicate
When employees feel heard and can offer viable solutions to issues at hand, they feel valued, trusted and are more likely to contribute to an organization’s long-term success. Gaining input while remote can seem challenging, but consider using surveys or chat tools to receive timely feedback and utilize virtual meetings to create an open forum for discussion. As a manager, you’ll need to make a conscious effort to listen to your team on a daily basis and be completely transparent when it comes to team-wide communication.
Authenticity is key as well, so ensure you are not hiding behind an email or virtual chat, but are fully engaged with your team both as a whole and on an individual level. This leads to improved communication, morale, and a stronger understanding of the expertise each team member brings to their role and how they can impact future solutions. Accepting input allows managers to take prospective strategies from a high-level concept to an actionable plan and create a more engaged and inclusive culture.
Support Work-Life Balance and Employee Wellness
Creating a barrier between work and personal time can be difficult for remote employees, leading to higher levels of burnout. The demand for work-life balance programs that offer support has become crucial, but it can be challenging to determine exactly what these programs should entail. Work-life balance and wellness programs cannot be designed with the one-size-fits-all approach. As entrepreneur Robert F. Smith states, “Take the extra time to think about what we call the ‘engineered solution,’ which is more harmonious, continuous in its operation, and the output has fewer errors, as opposed to just forcing it through and hoping it’ll be okay on the other end.” Take time to meet with each of your team members to determine what their daily schedule looks like, how they are feeling on a day-to-day basis in relation to their tasks, and what they feel would help balance their professional and personal priorities. This allows you as the manager to tailor a wellness program that is harmonious, continuous, and the best possible fit for your team members.
A few ways to implement employee wellness programs include offering flexible hours to help them prioritize important personal needs. Or, encourage wellness activities through monthly team-wide fitness challenges or discounted gym memberships. Be a resource for mental health support as well and always be open to what your employees are telling you, even if it may not be verbally. Non-verbal cues like lowered performance numbers, fatigue, or lack of engagement in meetings can also be telltale signs of burnout. Be on the lookout and be sure to make employee wellness and work-life balance a long-term priority.
Reanalyze and Evolve
As the organization grows and experiences change, so should your employee engagement strategy. Start by reanalyzing current strategies and how they are affecting overall engagement among your teams. This data can be sourced by looking at monthly production reports or just by connecting with employees in a monthly performance review. Quick pulse surveys are also a great way to get data to further improve employee engagement and can be done online and on a more routine basis. Understanding your team’s perspective on current programs, projects, values, and goals can help to build a framework for a better employee engagement strategy moving forward.
Employee engagement is a key element of a successful organization because it brings a focus to the people who make that success possible. Understanding, listening, and being people-focused can make a major difference not only in engagement, but also in motivation, productivity, efficiency, and overall employee happiness. We hope these tips will help you as a manager to design a suitable and effective employee engagement plan for your remote team and take your business to the next level!