5 Tips for Engaging Your Remote or Hybrid Workforce

5 Tips for Engaging Your Remote or Hybrid Workforce

If you have recently moved to a remote or hybrid work model, your employees are probably grateful for the flexibility. (A recent Gallup study found that 91% of employees prefer to work remotely at least some of the time.) But keeping team members engaged when they are working from different locations can be challenging. Knowing how to keep people connected and motivated to excel is important to your company’s ongoing success.

These tips may help you keep the members of your team engaged, no matter where they work:

1. Prioritize effective communication

Employees who feel isolated or out of the loop are likely to become disengaged. Regular, meaningful communication is vital to maintaining and elevating their morale. Keep team members up to date on matters involving not only their particular assignments or work groups, but also the company as a whole:

  • Managers should hold regularly scheduled individual and team check-ins that include setting clear expectations, celebrating achievements, and talking through new opportunities and challenges.
  • Project leads should hold periodic meetings to share progress reports, encourage a collaborative exchange of ideas and give employees the opportunity to ask questions.
  • Company leaders should share new initiatives as they emerge and explain the role employees can play in their success.

In addition, employees should always feel free to initiate scheduled or impromptu conversations with their managers and coworkers to discuss any matters of concern.

Note: Effective communication also means not overcommunicating. While daily check-ins may be right for some individuals or teams, others may prefer weekly meetings. You know your people best. Find the sweet spot at which you are connecting meaningfully and not hovering over them, or getting in the way of their productivity. Getting your communication style and frequency right can help you nurture a culture of trust that fuels morale and productivity.

2. Invest in the development of your leaders

One of the silver linings of the pandemic was that it reminded us that our coworkers are, first and foremost, people, whose daily experiences are shaped by much more than what may be happening at work. Over the past couple of years, “How are you?” has evolved from a superficial greeting to an actual question of concern awaiting a genuine reply. Managers focused on fully supporting their teams understand this and are fine-tuning, among other leadership skills, their emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence — the ability of a manager to understand and navigate their own emotions as well as those of their team members — enables connection on a more authentic and empathetic level. It is particularly valued today, as leaders manage teams that have been through a lot of stress and change.

But you can’t expect managers to just flip a switch and become empathetic leaders, nor should you expect them to master managing a remote or hybrid team simply through trial and error. Invest in online or in-person leadership development courses, reading materials or other tools to help your managers lead confidently and competently.

3. Make teambuilding and learning activities a regular part of the work schedule

In the spirit of the age-old “work hard, play hard” theme, give employees opportunities to unwind together through teambuilding exercises they can participate in remotely. These sessions might be focused strictly on fun (e.g., playing a fast-paced game of virtual trivia) or they may center around a business or philanthropic cause (e.g., brainstorming new-product ideas or organizing a fundraiser for one of the corporation’s favorite nonprofits).

Similarly, set up opportunities for team members to learn together, developing new skills in collaborative settings and supporting one another along the way. The more people get to know their coworkers, through a variety of experiences, the more likely they are to feel connected and engaged. It is empowering to know you are part of a team with a broad range of talents and the potential to do great things together.

4. Recognize excellence

Celebrating and rewarding notable achievements by an employee or a team can go a long way in boosting engagement. Don’t limit this to over-the-top accomplishments; remember that day-to-day hard work and dedication deserve recognition, too. Steady performance drives success!

Let your employees know that what they do makes a difference by recognizing their achievements through team- or company-wide e-mails highlighting the exceptional performance; tangible rewards such as gift cards, bonuses or an afternoon off; or a personal thank-you note that expresses your appreciation.

5. Give employees a voice

The best way to find out how you can build a more engaging work environment for employees is to simply ask them what would make their work experience more meaningful and rewarding. You can do this in casual team conversations or formalize the effort by sending out quarterly or semiannual surveys. Solicit this type of feedback regularly and then build it into your plans and culture as you deem appropriate. Remember that employee engagement is a two-way street.

This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. Any reliance on the information herein is solely and exclusively at your own risk and you are urged to do your own independent research. To the extent information herein references an outside resource or Internet site, Dollar Bank is not responsible for information, products or services obtained from outside sources and Dollar Bank will not be liable for any damages that may result from your access to outside resources. As always, please consult your own counsel, accountant, or other advisor regarding your specific situation.

Posted: August 10, 2022