Employee engagement is essential. As a measure of employee enthusiasm, genuine engagement aligns employee attitudes with company values. It also promotes a robust work culture, both of which are crucial when hiring international employees and managing remote teams. In turn, the evidence shows this leads to higher productivity, increased profitability, improved job satisfaction and bolsters talent acquisition and retention — two additional benefits that speak volumes in the era of high employee demand! So how exactly do you engage your remote employees?
Implement a robust remote communications strategy
Communication is crucial when pursuing high rates of employee engagement, and relies heavily on a two-way flow of information. Much of this responsibility lies with managers and should encourage feedback while actively ensuring messages are received and understood.
Allocate time for regular check-ins or set aside hours where you’re contactable. In doing so, you create space for your employees to feel heard and leave time for guidance and feedback, all while respecting your boundaries. Maintaining communication boundaries is good for your team to learn, too as it’s important to allow for focused and uninterrupted work time too.
Also, don’t forget to respect working hours. In other words, contacting your teams outside work hours is not okay.
Last but not least, use the right tools. If you’re just getting started, ask your employees for input. Once finalised, set everyone up correctly and ensure they know how to use them. Don’t forget to strike a balance between long and short-form communication, for example, chat versus email. It’s also a good idea to think about when it’s time to just pick up the phone (or not).
Whatever approach you take, devise a clear policy on the chosen strategy and remember to stick to your own rules.
Nurture employee autonomy
Employees who feel trusted and respected to get the job done are more engaged, it’s that simple. According to an Effectory report of over 23,000 employees, 79% of employees who enjoyed high levels of autonomy reported increased engagement. By tapping into intrinsic motivation, high levels of autonomy leave employees feeling trusted, responsible and valued, increasing their level of ownership of the work.
This is especially valuable in remote team environments. It’s important to remember that autonomy is more than just letting your employees work from home. Other ways to invite autonomy into the workplace include:
- Flexibility around start and finish times
- Input and negotiation around deadlines
- Allowing employees to choose their preferred benefits
- Providing flexibility around specific projects employees work on.
Yet, it’s not all about letting everyone do what they want when they want. Structure is important, especially in remote and distributed teams, and your team will thank you too! Ways to invite structure without micromanaging include:
- Hire the right people — have they worked remotely before? Do they demonstrate diligence and enthusiasm?
- Set clear and well-communicated expectations about the role and project deadlines
- Make sure everyone is well set up and has the tools they need
- Communicate regularly
In an environment where visibility can be low, nothing engages remote employees quite like asking them to participate in their own success. Adopt a shared growth mindset and ask your employees about their professional goals, then set a clear strategy to achieve them.
At the same time, we say ditch the annual performance review. Instead, create a culture of ongoing feedback and open communication. Hell, even make it two-way if you’re brave enough. By asking your team for feedback, you encourage participation in your teams success.
Include them as much as you can in company decision-making, too. After all, your business success (or failure!) starts with people. Engagement thrives in environments with high collective involvement and when people feel listened to.
In essence, employee engagement acts as the invisible backbone of your company. It might just be the silver bullet to some of your staffing problems too. Get employees involved and excited, and reap the benefits of an engaged workforce.
WorkMotion provides global employment solutions, helping businesses expand their staffing capabilities beyond borders. Our WorkGlobal and WorkDirect (Europe only) solutions not only make it possible to hire (and engage!) international employees, they make it easy. Contact one of our agents today to discuss your needs and let them help you find the tools that work best for you.