Employee engagement is among the most crucial aspects of employee experience. It’s the degree of involvement an employee feels towards the organizational goals. Employees who care for the company’s goals and growth are engaged employees, they’re working for a greater cause and not just for salary, promotions, appraisals, and sponsored tours. Low employee engagement puts a major dent in the overall morale of the company and also makes goal achievement difficult.
Employee engagement was easier with physical offices. There used to casual conversations, office friends, team building activities, and much more. Even water cooler conversations or coffee machine giggles also played a vital role in improving employee engagement.
And then came the COVID pandemic, forcing companies to implement work from home policy. While it was necessary to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for the employees, HR managers now have a new challenge in front of them: how to improve employee engagement in WFH conditions?
Why is Employee Engagement Important?
Employee engagement plays a crucial role in improving the overall company culture. Highly engaged employees are less likely to leave their organization, leading to a higher employee retention rate. Additionally, employee engagement has a direct effect on the productivity of a company.
The benefits of high employee engagement don’t stop here. Highly engaged employees also like to come to work more and stay motivated to show up every day. Low absenteeism and high productivity lead to better results.
How to Improve Employee Engagement in Remote Employees?
Ensuring employee engagement stays high in normal work conditions was already a challenging task. While remote working conditions have made this challenge more severe, there are always few things that one can try.
- Change Onboarding Process
Employee onboarding must be streamlined to ensure all your post-hiring formalities happen smoothly. A good idea will be to create a digital locker where new employees can receive all the onboarding documents such as employee handbook, contact details of team members & admin, etc.
Orientation and walkthrough sessions must be scheduled with employees. The orientation session must include information on why remote working has proved beneficial for the company as well as all the workforce. All the informal introduction of a new employee with fellow team members can be done with a video call. Schedule a physical, in-office meeting once a month so employees can meet and discuss things with the leadership team.
- Host “Ask Me Anything” Sessions
Virtual AMA sessions help Hr managers bypass communication barriers and create new ways of communication with the team. Instead of creating never-ending emails, make sure new decisions are announced on the virtual all-hands meetings. And if you consider celebrating milestones, virtual meetings have proved to be very successful.
- Conduct Virtual Fun Activities
Organizations bring innovations to improve their productivity and enhance the client experience. They should also invest in innovative ideas to improve employee engagement. You can create a virtual talent show where employees get to showcase their hidden talents. You can also conduct virtual cooking/baking workshops.
You can also play quizzes and fun team games virtually. You just need to be creative; the options are galore in the fun segment.
- Focus on Employees’ Delight
Delighting employees means making them feel special. You don’t need to wait for birthdays and work anniversaries to appreciate them. You can make a habit of sending a box of chocolates, food coupons, flowers, or even a virtual note as a token of appreciation.
The key lies in making your employees feel valued. These small gestures make them feel that you are not just their manager, you are more than that.
- Provide a Family Feel When Needed
Many companies are giving a complimentary day off when employees get vaccinated for COVID-19. As much as it’s important to take a rest the next day, some companies are not offering a day off believing that work from home is a rest in itself. If that was true, their employees would be resting and no work would’ve been done.
Work from home doesn’t make the work easier. Your employees work as diligently as they always do. As a matter of fact, working from home is more challenging. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be here reading these tips, would you?
It’s one thing to say “we are a family,” but actually standing on your words when the need arises is a different story altogether.
- Equip Them with the Tools of the Trade
There are many platforms for virtual communication, which is an important part of remote work culture. When telling your employees what communication tools they need to install, ensure you help them get familiar with the tools too. Software onboarding is an essential part of a remote work environment. So, make sure all employees are able to use assigned and allocated software. Not assisting them can be detrimental to employee engagement, and that’s not a good thing.
- Acknowledge Health challenges
The office work environment involves getting up from a seat to talk to a teammate or go to another department for discussion. There are many reasons that keep employees on their feet as and when required. From washroom breaks to tea breaks to lunch hours, the mobility of employees is not compromised.
As much as it may come as a surprise, remote work, or working from home to be precise, is detrimental to health because it makes people more sedentary. Constant sitting, prolonged working hours can cause spinal, visionary as well as mental stress.
Now, we are not asking you to buy them a fancy orthopaedic chair, or pay for their medical appointments and bills. But you be aware that a little acknowledgment goes a long way. So, whenever an employee tells you about a condition, don’t start with suggestions or rebuttals, rather show empathy. You can also conduct virtual health workshops where a certified trainer tells employees how to stay active and stress-free in tough times.
- Take Feedback on a Regular Basis
Feedback plays a vital role in enhancing employee engagement in remote work conditions. Schedule routine one-on-one virtual meetings where you ask them about their well-being and things that they’d like to share on professional grounds.
Asking team managers’ feedback about their team is necessary, but at the same time, it’s also important for you to know what the team has to say about their immediate managers and fellow team members. Such feedback also imparts ownership, initiation, and other remarkable qualities in the employees.
- Create Room for Growth
Every employee wants to grow in their career and all organizations want their employees to be multi-talented. At the same time, the longer an employee stays with a company, the more versatile they should be.
A good idea would be to include a group learning program where members of one department and skillset can learn something that adds to their skill and also becomes prolific for the company. This will create room for their professional growth while you’ll have a highly engaged employee who is already familiar with your goals and work ethics.
- Knowledge Sharing
Knowledge is one treasurer that increases with sharing. Nobody knows everything. But we all know something that others don’t, and they know something that we don’t. Keeping one’s relevant knowledge to oneself is not a healthy practice, and corporate structure is no exception to this fact.
Engage top performers of respective teams and conduct online meetings where they share their knowledge and experience. This will help other team members to learn a thing or two about how to improve their performance.
Remote working has its own set of benefits and challenges. When we come to think of it, all the challenges that companies face, both from management and employee’s perspective, eventually hamper employee engagement. The ten tips to improve remote employee engagement that we shared above can help you keep employee morale high. If you can think of other tips, do share your view with us, we’ll be glad to mention them