One of the most challenging aspects of human capital management is finding a way to drive employee engagement. Engagement is at the heart of organizational success – employees who are engaged are far more likely than their counterparts to show up to work and be productive each day. An engaged workforce leads to a profitable business.
These days, unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder to keep the workforce engaged. A lot of factors contribute to this, but here’s a major one – with the emergence of new technology and the change in the way we all do work, people are remote now more than ever. Some work from home rather than showing up to an office, and others work in other cities or even other countries than their co-workers. Still others are on the road a lot, traveling from meeting to meeting.
How do you keep people engaged when you don’t even get a chance to speak to them in person?
According to Get Lighthouse, it requires getting a little creative. Jason Evanish, founder of software startup Lighthouse, noted that in this era, you can’t avoid the remote work trend – you’re forced to adapt to it.
“In today’s global economy, there are skilled people around the world that can help you build your company,” Evanish explained. “With the competitiveness in hiring talented people in tech epicenters, it becomes all the more enticing to hire people in other cities, states and countries to join your team. Adding these remote employees to your team present unique challenges to management that you may be overlooking.”
So how can we address these challenges? What strategies are necessary? The following are five ideas for managing people who might be across the country or around the world:
Keep in touch regularly
A large part of keeping employees engaged is staying communicative with them and showing an interest in their lives. Keeping in touch with your staff, even just to make small talk, can be really helpful.
Leverage modern technology
Communicating via long distances can be challenging, but fortunately new tech innovations are making it easier every day. Solutions such as mobile chat and videoconferencing are paving the way for smoother employee interactions everywhere.
Make compromises in scheduling
There will inevitably be scheduling conflicts when it comes to having calls and meetings with employees who are far away. Time zone differences and issues with work-life balance always get in the way. It’s important for both sides to make some concessions and meet in the middle when these differences arise.
Meet in person when possible
Even if it’s just once a year or so, the occasional in-person visit with your employees can go a long way. When people and their managers get to meet in the flesh, that makes it easier for them to empathize with one another and collaborate well.
Work on performance development
Remember: Just because your employee is remote, that doesn’t mean their work or their long-term career growth aren’t important. Work not only to engage, but to develop your employees with frequent conversations where you can each share feedback and make necessary adjustments to keep your remote workers engaged and happy.