Employee engagement is a top priority of HR professionals, according to the most recent State of HR survey. But staying connected with remote employees, who may be in different geographies and time zones can be even more challenging. So, HR Exchange Network posted a question on Terkel.io asking for solutions to this problem. Here are the responses:
Check in with Each Other
“An innovative solution for engaging remote employees is implementing a ‘check-in’ system. This system requires everyone to check in on certain specified days, such as the first day of the month or the fifteenth. Employees must answer a quick survey or complete a simple task before marking their attendance. This approach allows employers to easily track employee engagement and ensure that all colleagues remain connected, regardless of their location.
Additionally, the check-in system helps maximize efficiency since the time spent doing the check-in is incorporated into work hours instead of being seen as an additional task.”-Grace He, People and Culture Director, teambuilding.com
Recreate In-Office Experience
“When making important decisions, always take remote workers into account. Sharing feedback can be more challenging for remote employees compared to their in-office counterparts. Regularly check in with employees to ensure they have the necessary resources and software to perform their roles successfully. Additionally, utilizing group chats, virtual meetings, and promoting mental or physical health goals can help engage remote employees and recreate an in-office environment.”-Benjamin Farber, President, Bristol Associates, Inc.
Include Remote Workers in Creative Ways
“Focusing on inclusion is crucial to avoid alienating people who may feel left out when a company celebrates something without their participation. In a hybrid and remote-friendly organization like Interact, it is essential to ensure that large collective events are open to remote-first workers. The approach may vary depending on the event.
For instance, if there is an all-company meeting where many people will have lunch together in the offices, it would be a good idea to send dinner vouchers to remote workers. This way, they can also order food and arrange to spend lunch with other remote team members or join the offices live on a call. Such communal actions are important for maintaining a strong company culture.”-Scott Hitchins, CMO, Interact Software
Host an In-Person Event
“Every year, a digital marketing agency hosts Thrive Camp, a company-wide retreat that brings staff from different regions of the world to the headquarters in North Texas.
The annual get-together serves as the pinnacle of numerous initiatives aimed at fostering close collaboration in a widely-distributed setup. It also contributes to the company’s ongoing efforts to maintain a thriving ecosystem characterized by collaboration, accountability, and care for one another.
At Thrive Camp, participants have the opportunity to better understand each other’s personal backgrounds, cultures, and wider interests both in and out of work. Most importantly, it provides a chance for everyone to celebrate their collective successes.”-Tristan Harris, Demand Generation Senior Marketing Manager, Thrive Agency
Show You Care
“Genuinely caring about people cannot be replaced by any ‘innovative solution.’ Regardless of the systems in place, taking the time to ask individuals how they are and what’s happening in their lives is crucial. Demonstrating a genuine interest can help build stronger relationships. The benefits of enhanced engagement, improved well-being, and increased performance are well worth investing a little bit of time.”-Jay Unwin, Stress Management Strategist, Jay Unwin Ltd
Break the Ice
“Working remotely can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection from the team. To combat this, virtual icebreakers are a creative and effective solution. These activities encourage team members to interact and bond in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
There are endless options for virtual icebreakers, such as playing games, joining a cooking or fitness challenge, or participating in a virtual scavenger hunt. The aim is to create a sense of community, build relationships, and foster a positive team culture. Not only are these activities enjoyable, but they also improve productivity by leading to better communication and collaboration.
By implementing this approach, a meaningful impact can be made on employee engagement, job satisfaction, and overall well-being.”-Tarun Saha, Co-founder and CEO, StallionZo
Organize Quick Catch Ups
“One effective method for engaging remote employees is to organize a monthly speed catch-up session. This concept is similar to speed dating, where participants have a few minutes to converse before moving on to the next person. Many companies utilize meeting platforms that offer breakout room capabilities.
To implement this idea, create a meeting with the staff members. For small teams, rotate two people in a group every six minutes, while larger teams can rotate three people. Each person has about two to three minutes to discuss non-work related topics, such as recent streaming shows, upcoming events, or even best practices. The goal is to keep the conversation light and enjoyable.
By participating in these speed catch-up sessions, employees will feel more connected to one another. This sense of connection can make it easier to work through problems or workplace challenges with colleagues they feel closer to.”-Aleasa Word, CEO and Executive Coach, A. Word & Company
Meet and Greet
“Working with remote teams highlights the importance of consistent communication. Ensuring that every team member feels included and engaged at work is crucial, regardless of team size.
One effective way to achieve this is by holding daily meetings and additional meetings as needed. These gatherings can be used to share plans, discuss progress, and address any challenges team members may encounter. Encouraging open and honest communication in these meetings helps build trust and confidence among team members, ultimately leading to stronger teamwork and better results.
However, regular meetings and communication alone are not sufficient. It’s essential to encourage team members to reach out to each other and seek support in project deliveries without hesitation. This fosters a sense of unity, where everyone works together toward a common goal. Technology plays a significant role in remote work, with tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom facilitating camaraderie and collaboration for success.”-Shruti Nayak, Principal Associate and Head – Assessment Practice, Naman Integrated Management Services Pvt. Ltd
Creating Connection through L&D
“Utilizing learning technology and digital adoption platforms is an effective solution for engaging remote employees. This technology can provide the necessary training for employees to succeed in their roles while also helping them stay connected with colleagues and the company culture.
Social learning is a powerful tool for engaging employees and driving competition. When employees feel like they are part of a community and that their work is valued, motivation is more likely to be high. Incorporating gamification can create a fun and engaging experience, with leaderboards used to track progress and encourage competition.
Establishing a learning community where employees can share ideas, ask questions, and provide feedback is one way to implement social learning. This can be achieved through a forum, chat room, or social media. Alternatively, creating a challenge in which staff competes to see who learns the most or completes the most tasks is another effective method for engagement.”-Ricci Masero, Marketing Manager, Intellek
“An innovative solution for engaging remote employees involves creating a sense of community by encouraging social interactions. Remote work can be isolating, so fostering a sense of connection among team members is crucial.
Creating virtual ‘watercooler’ moments allows team members to chat informally about non-work-related topics. For instance, using an instant messaging platform enables team members to share pictures of their pets, discuss TV shows they’re watching, or exchange recipes they’ve tried.
Encouraging these social interactions helps create a more relaxed and enjoyable work environment. Ultimately, this leads to a more engaged and productive team.”-Ryan Flannagan, CEO and Founder, Nuanced Media
By Francesca Di Meglio
Originally posted on HR Exchange Network