Category All, Best Practices 9 Ways to Recognize and Engage Your Remote Employees Find out what are the best ways to recognize and engage your remote employees while eliminating most common remote work challenges. October 29, 2021 By Sara Ana Cemazar Yes, you know it: remote work is here to stay. Although it was gaining traction on its own, the pandemic speeded up the process, and most people have the experience of working from home for at least a while. Companies are increasingly adopting remote and hybrid work policies. However, these policies are not enough to keep remote employees engaged in their work, which could lead to bigger problems. Read on to find out what are the best ways to recognize and engage remote workers and how to avoid common remote work challenges. Employee engagement and remote work In April 2020, Josh Bersin wrote that the pandemic may be the best thing that ever happened to employee engagement. This is because for the first couple of months, employee engagement was through the roof. Fueled by job insecurity, people were anxious to show their employers they should be the ones who stay in case of layoffs. However, engagement of remote employees dropped and continued to slowly decline or stagnate for a while after that. Just as the world was slowly coming back to normal, the great resignation movement happened in the first half of 2021, and companies were faced with huge voluntary turnover. What’s the lesson there? The lesson is that there is no magic formula when it comes to engaging remote employees. Remote work does not equal more happiness, job satisfaction, and productivity automatically. Just like in the office environment – if you want to eliminate employee disengagement, you need to have a continuous engagement strategy in place. 9 Ways to Recognize and Engage Remote Workers You probably know all the benefits of employee recognition in the workplace. It is one of the most effective tools to increase employee engagement and promote the culture of appreciation. However, remote work setting creates much less opportunities for spontaneous peer-to-peer recognition. Moreover, HRs need to make sure that they are utilizing the right approach to keep their employees engaged. Therefore, they often disperse and collect feedback from employees via employee surveys – not forgetting to act upon the issues raised in the surveys themselves. Here are the best ways to recognize and engage remote employees. Stay connected Ensuring that your employees are connected with each other and can communicate seamlessly is one of the prerequisites when it comes to keeping the optimal employee productivity levels. Moreover, keeping employee communication afloat with company-wide communication on goals, plans, and vision is highly encouraged. Pro tip: have an engaging employee newsletter to keep your remote employees aligned with the company’s mission and vision. Organize online social gatherings Virtual coffee breaks or monthly online social meetings can give your employees an opportunity to relax and meet each other better. It’s a good way to reinforce your company culture by simulating real-life moments of chatting by the watercooler. Therefore, have everybody grab their favourite drink and discuss the latest movies or another off-work topic. Encourage peer-to-peer recognition and feedback It’s clear that recognition and positive feedback significantly improve engagement and overall employee experience. However, it doesn’t always have to come from managers and superiors. There is probably plenty of vertical collaboration going on in your company. Encouraging peer-to-peer recognition and continuous employee feedback can help remote employees get a sense of how they’re doing and help them gain more confidence. Offer clear career guidance One thing is sure: employees will work for companies longer if they invest in their careers. It’s no different with remote workers. They want to know how they can learn more and develop their careers. This is why many HRs introduce employee development plans to their remote workers. Learn more about the best ways to drive your employees’ development and growth. Transparent leadership communication When you work remote, it is easier to feel removed from what is going on in the company. It is incredibly important that CEOs communicate with employees transparently and frequently. After all, research shows that 82% of employees believe that regular company-wide communication from the head of their company is important. Organize live company-wide gatherings Day-to-day tasks may be more easily and productively carried out when working remotely. However, team building activities are much better when you actually meet in person. Many companies have started introducing company-wide, once-per-year gatherings. They fly out everybody to the same location and organize fun activities so everybody connects better. Since Millennials and Gen Z love travelling, this is a great perk to engage your remote employees. Introduce remote work benefits There are several remote work benefits that companies often utilize to engage, recognize, and retain their remote employees. Here are some of them: Stock options. A great way to provide monetary employee incentive to your employees. Psychotherapy. Many employees found their mental wellbeing endangered in the last year. Help them help themselves by refunding their psychotherapy sessions. Gym reimbursement. Many remote workers move around much less than before. Encourage their healthy habits by covering their gym expenses. Ergonomic chairs. You sit on a chair for 8+ hours a day – it better be comfortable! Travel allowance. Some companies reimburse their employees for travel once or twice per year. Moreover, some give the “visit your colleague” budget so they can go and meet their coworkers! Smooth out the onboarding process Research shows that employee onboarding improves new hire’s productivity over 70%. With remote work, it is even more important to make the onboarding process as good as it can get. A good idea is to have an onboarding buddy that can help the new hire answer the most frequently asked questions. Use the right technology It is not only important to provide technology to your remote employees – but also for it to be the right technology. In other words, employees will not be engaged if their main communication app is not user friendly. Moreover, they will not recognize their peers if that takes too much time. Look for apps like recognition platform JobPts to help you engage your remote employees with social recognition features, gamification, and more. Eliminate Most Common Remote Work Challenges As you probably know, remote work has many upsides – but it does not come without its challenges. As you can probably tell if you ever worked remote, it is a significantly different experience than working in an office. However, it is good to know that by engaging and recognizing your remote employees, you can successfully diminish these challenges. Communication and collaboration 20% of remote workers say that their #1 struggle with remote work is collaboration and communication. This is no wonder since communicating in person and online is a profoundly different experience. However, if you use the right technology, this issue can be decreased. Isolation Many remote employees feel alone when working away from their colleagues. It can leave them feeling depressed and it can significantly affect employee motivation levels. This is why it’s advisable to include as many online social activities as you can – have gaming sessions or encourage employees who live nearby to meet in person sometimes. Difficulty to keep healthy work-life balance Ensuring healthy work-life balance for remote teams is not an easy task. For some, it’s really hard to plug off after work. For some, it’s hard to concentrate on work while working from home. Many companies started training their employees on stress relieving techniques and encourage them to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Lack of physical activity Employee engagement is very dependent upon employee wellbeing. When you work from home, you are in danger of moving around less than ever – you don’t even have to walk to your car or train station. That’s why employee health is more endangered than ever, and a good reason why employees should be actively reminded to be more physically active. Why It Is Important to Keep Your Remote Employees Engaged Here are the main reasons why engaging and recognizing your remote workers is important for your business. Improving retention If you just let your remote employees navigate their digital workplace alone, chances are they are going to leave. It’s important to engage your remote employees to improve your employee retention. Optimizing company culture Engaging remote employees in different activities helps you create a strong workplace culture. As an HR Pro, you know how important it is for creating a workplace where employees want to work and thrive. Hiring the best talent Referrals are the best source of hire according to experts – and bad news travels fast. Therefore, engage and recognize your remote workers and they will be more likely to recommend their contacts as your next hires. Staying competitive in the market All the benefits of engaging and recognizing your remote employees lead to a single outcome: staying competitive in the market and making your business more successful. Reach out to our team and find out how you can engage and recognize your remote employees with our employee experience platform.