Hiring remote workers gives you the flexibility to recruit top talent from around the globe and retain skilled professionals when they relocate or experience lifestyle changes. Yet a virtual workforce brings the challenge of motivating a scattered group of independent professionals to stay productive and committed to a distant team. Make employee engagement an ongoing priority by offering a balance of communication, support, career development and empowerment.
1. Communicate Regularly
To be effective, remote workers must be on the same page as the team, which requires accessibility and consideration on both sides. Schedule weekly or biweekly check-ins to keep everyone up to date on work goals, making sure problems and questions can be addressed quickly. Setting up routine meetings allows remote workers to maintain their flexible schedules while reminding them that support is available when they need it. Promote familiarity and respect between remote and in-house workers by using video chat at team meetings and conferences.
2. Provide Learning Opportunities
When remote workers are recruited for specific roles, it's easy to pigeonhole their functions and neglect professional development. No matter where or how they work, employees are motivated to continually improve their performance when employers take interest in their goals and provide resources for growth. Invite remote workers in your area to company seminars and retreats, and provide resource portals, webinars, online courses and educational stipends for independent study. Managing the skills of your workforce reaps long-term benefits, giving remote employees the opportunity to graduate to higher or more specialized jobs within your company.
3. Give Praise Generously
Working in isolation without recognition can make remote employees feel unappreciated and allow in-house workers to overlook their contributions. Show everyone that working from home doesn't decrease an employee's value by including locals in celebratory events and recognition ceremonies. Often, simple confirmation of good work is enough to keep remote workers committed, so design digital recognition programs with virtual badges, reward vouchers and bonuses.
4. Foster Two-Way Feedback
Get regular feedback from remote workers, taking their suggestions and ideas into consideration. Giving everyone a voice in the company inspires your entire workforce to be honest and upfront, fostering a productive environment where employees work together to resolve conflicts and create solutions. Provide constructive feedback and performance evaluations to encourage accountability while clearly outlining your criteria for success.
5. Focus on Results
As long as remote workers deliver results, respect their individual work styles, and give them freedom to decide how they allocate their time. Many employees work from home to accommodate their families, health limitations or passion projects, and micromanagement makes it difficult for workers to build their schedules around their personal productivity cycles. If backing off is hard for you, use activity-tracking apps to jointly monitor progress without nagging for constant updates.
Employee engagement is the product of strong, attentive leadership, making it essential to empower managers who understand the needs of remote workers. Keep your workforce energized by designing policies that demonstrate your investment in their well-being and career development.
Photo courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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