The year 2020 changed life as we know it for most of the world, and left us scrambling to keep up with a whole new set of rules. As hybrid and remote work became the norm, managers and team leads struggled to keep team spirits up from a distance. Without the continuous support and team-building provided by an office environment, driving sustainable employee engagement is especially challenging.
Additionally, remote workers face challenges like getting used to a whole new work environment and learning to navigate new technology and software. All of this can seem daunting at first, but it’s possible to drive an engaging culture, no matter where your employees might be. Here’s some tips to help you navigate the new workplace in 2022 and beyond.
Find out how you can boost your remote team’s engagement with Cooleaf.
Provide support and guidance for your remote teams
One of the most important things you need to provide your employees with is moral support and the right training. Always be available to provide guidance if team members need it, encourage them to keep trying until they get used to things, and listen to their reservations or any issues they’re facing with the new workflow.
Another way to offer support is to provide your employees with video tutorials, training sessions, and in-depth guides to tell them how to manage working from home. Putting together these resources is going to take a little time on your part, but it will be a gift that keeps on giving when it comes to your remote workers.
Check in on new employees
The onboarding process for new hires is critical for keeping employee turnover down and engagement up, but it needs even more attention in the new remote work setup. It’s even more challenging to onboard new employees now – there’s still a pretty high chance employees are going to leave after a few months of a bad onboarding process.
What does that mean for you, a team leader or manager? You need to provide new employees with additional support, regular check-ins, and more attention than you gave to your in-office employees when they made the shift to working remotely.
Some forms the support can come in are regular check-ins or team-building activities to ensure the new employees get familiar with their new co-workers.
The right tools
Remote work is always easier when you’re equipped with the right tools to navigate the changes it brings and deliver what’s demanded of you. As team leads, managers, or business owners, it’s your job to provide your remote employees with all the tools and software they need in order to keep working from home.
At a minimum, this includes offering remote communication tools, video conferencing apps, direct messaging platforms, and a way for them to collaborate remotely.
To ensure that your team can get the full benefit from these tools, you’ll also need to offer training and support strategies to help your people navigate different platforms. And to keep technology from becoming overwhelming, look out for platforms that integrate with other tools to streamline your processes.
Learn more about Cooleaf’s all-in-one solution for employee engagement.
Positive reinforcement is one of the most powerful ways for keeping engagement up and encouraging your employees to perform at their best – even in the face of huge changes and struggles. Studies have shown that being recognized for hard work empowers employees to go the extra mile, creating a positive impact across the organization.
One simple way to recognize employee performance is through rewards and bonuses for great performance. Recognition platforms like Cooleaf can help you to keep employee engagement high and burnout levels low.
Develop an uncomplicated workflow
As employees struggle to get used to their new normal, you might want to revisit your workflow to make sure it’s as simple as possible for your team. Think about what steps in the process can be simplified for your team without negatively influencing performance and results.
This can involve empowering team members to make more decisions independently, or giving them more freedom to determine their own work hours. It can also involve automating certain tasks that were taking your employees too long to perform manually.
Employee feedback can help you understand what you can do to make work easier for your team, which is where employee surveys come in.
Virtual team building activities
Another struggle that employees might have is the lack of face-to-face contact or social life that is the result of working from home.
Without the ability to bond and connect with other team members, team collaboration can suffer. This is why effective team-building exercises are essential. From virtual coffee chats to Zoom parties, look for fun virtual team-building ideas to help foster those connections.
Not only are you making sure employee collaboration and teamwork aren’t distanced, but you’re also ensuring that team morale stays high.
New ways to measure the employee engagement
Now that you’re putting so much work into driving team engagement, you need to come up with effective ways to make sure your initiatives are giving results.
Factors you previously considered when coming up with employee engagement statistics –like employee absenteeism and the retention rate – are still important, but you might also benefit from considering additional factors relative to your unique situation.
Employee engagement metrics for remote teams might include keeping track of how many employees open your messages, engage with you through regular communication channels, or open the company newsletter.
Find the right balance in communication
While it’s important to remain easily reachable and available to your team if they need support, it’s also important to show faith in your employees while they perform their daily duties. There’s no doubt that you’ll want to keep morale up and to keep team communication consistent, but there’s a fine line between being supportive and being seen as controlling or a “micromanager” by your team.
Weekly check-ins with employees are fine, but maybe some employees would see daily one-on-one check-ins as too much. While cutting back on communication altogether is definitely not the best approach, you might want to make sure every bit of communication is meaningful, necessary, and important.
Today’s employees prefer remote work and enjoy the flexibility and improved work-life balance it provides them. When they feel listened to and are afforded the freedom and independence to work on their own terms, ensuring high levels of employee engagement will not be much of an issue.
It might feel like a challenge and adjustment at first – after all, your employees aren’t the only ones trying to get used to a big change – but with time and a little practice, you might realize that listening to your employees has made the job easier for everyone.
Derek Jones (VP Enterprise Strategy, Americas)
Derek spearheads key initiatives at Deputy, a global workforce management platform for employee scheduling, timesheets and communication. With a focus on Healthcare, Derek helps business owners and workforce leaders simplify employment law compliance, keep labor cost in line and build award-winning workplaces. Derek has over 16 years’ experience in delivering data-driven sales and marketing strategies to SaaS companies like MarketSource and Griswold Home Care.