Has your organization switched to remote working this year? Consider these employee engagement best practices to keep your team motivated, productive, and inspired while working from home.
2020 will go down in history. Six feet of distance, social bubbles, and zero travel—this became the new normal for many people across the world. But there’s one aspect of 2020 that has left many organizations in a lurch: remote working.
According to McKinsey, “early this April (2020), 62% of employed Americans worked at home during the crisis, compared with about 25% a couple of years ago.” Gallagher’s annual survey shows that 86% of organizations will continue to work remotely after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
The transition to remote working has brought new challenges for employees: boundary-setting difficulties, reduced motivation, social isolation, and communication barriers.
Learn how ContactMonkey can boost employee engagement with remote workers by booking a free demo with one of our friendly experts:
1. Establish Guidelines for Remote Work
2020 made one thing clear: Remote work is here to stay.
Remote teams are more likely to succeed if you set clear expectations. The goal is to provide them with structure and help create boundaries so work doesn’t creep into personal time.
Establish guidelines for remote work that instill an empowering corporate culture. Aim to build your employees’ confidence by demonstrating the organization’s trust in them. Empowering employees will likely boost productivity.
Many remote-first companies already have a “remote working policy” in place. So what should these guidelines look like? To start, we recommend the following:
- Work hours: Let your employees know when you expect them to be working. If you’re offering flexible scheduling, specify the window of time that employees must be available, whether to collaborate or communicate.
- Communication: Specify the type of communication that needs documentation versus what’s acceptable for phone calls, meetings, and IM.
- Results: Explain how you will evaluate productivity. Is it by meeting deadlines, quality of the project, or responsiveness? This might vary, based on an employee’s role.
The list above is a starting point. Expand your company’s remote-work guidelines to include any and all information that clarifies employees’ expectations.
2. Develop a Mindful Internal Communications Strategy
Slack’s recent survey found that workers’ “sense of belonging” to their organization had decreased since going remote in 2020. Interestingly, employees who received emails with status updates reported a “higher” sense of belonging than those who attended status meetings. This trend makes sense because 42% of remote workers believed they were more productive when working uninterrupted for a long time.
To give employees time and space to complete their tasks, use email to communicate nonurgent matters. Since transitioning to remote work due to COVID-19, 67% of workers in North America and Europe use email and Zoom to communicate with colleagues.
At the same time, give your employees flexibility when it comes to communication modes. Lack of accessibility is a huge obstacle to remote teams, but having a variety of communication tools to interact with can help overcome these challenges.
Consider employees’ communication preferences, and make it easier for them to collaborate with different tools: email, video, instant messaging, or voice calls. Put guidelines in place to explain which method of communication is appropriate, depending on the content.
While you don’t want to overwhelm employees, it’s best to overcommunicate when times are tough. This new transition to remote work can leave many people feeling disconnected. Frequent, meaningful contact with employees can help alleviate this isolation.
Keep your workers informed about company developments. Monthly all-hands meetings are ideal for updating team members. Company-wide memo emails are another efficient way to share information with everyone. For example, set up a COVID-19 newsletter to inform employees about changes on a regular basis. With an internal communications tool like ContactMonkey, you can also measure engagement and pivot your communications accordingly.
One way to increase employee engagement in an email is to personalize your subject lines. This personal touch makes all the difference to the recipient. Moreover, personalized subject lines are 37% more likely to be opened.
With ContactMonkey’s “Merge Tags” feature, you can create personalized subject lines (and body copy) for every employee on your contact list, all through Outlook or Gmail.
When employees feel information is tailored just for them, they’re likely to pay more attention to it. When it comes to employee engagement, it’s all in the details.
3. Collect Employee Feedback
For a company to keep its team members invested, employee input is critical. Use employee feedback to measure employee engagement, set a benchmark, and find areas for improvement.
Employee feedback is especially important for understanding how your remote workers are doing. Without the opportunity to meet face-to-face or gauge nonverbal cues, surveys are an ideal way to measure employee engagement when working remotely. With team members’ responses, you can refine your company’s employee engagement best practices and take the organization in the right direction.
Surveys are the go-to tool in human resources for collecting employee feedback.
4. Recognize Employee Wins
When remote, employees’ hard work might be overlooked (out of sight, out of mind). It’s more challenging, but not impossible, to identify high-performing employees when your team is remote.
Find opportunities to appreciate your remote workers at a time when they need it most. After all, recognition is a driving force behind employee engagement.
According to Gartner, “employee performance improves when organizations foster a culture of peer feedback and capture how employees add value to others’ work.” Peer-to-peer employee recognition also improves the bottom line. Compared with manager-only recognition, peer-to-peer feedback is “35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results,” according to 6Q.
Hilton Hospitality ranked number one on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2019 and again in 2020—at a time when the hospitality industry was hugely affected by the pandemic. Part of what makes Hilton a positive workplace are its employee recognition programs, such as “Email High Fives” and “Catch Me at My Best,” through which employees are appreciated for their exceptional work.
To motivate your team while everyone is working from home, consider sending out email roundups to recognize outstanding work and highlight wins. Send these celebratory messages regularly as a part of your internal communication strategy.
Encourage employees to express appreciation by nominating a team member. With ContactMonkey’s embedded surveys, you can easily and quickly collect these nominations to choose your next employee of the month (or week).
5. Schedule Face Time (As Needed)
Effective communication depends on nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice. In remote settings, virtual meetings can help clarify messages and avoid misunderstandings.
But with Zoom fatigue on the rise, one of the most critical employee engagement best practices for remote workers is to avoid unnecessary meetings. Too many meetings negatively affect productivity, so you have to find the middle ground:
- Consider the importance of the meeting. If the communication is something that requires a simple response, other modes of communication may work just as well, if not better.
- Set a meeting agenda so everyone’s prepared and the meeting doesn’t run past the scheduled end time.
- Schedule “virtual water coolers” to mitigate social isolation. Allow employees to opt-in so those who are up for it can attend. Alternatively, set aside a few minutes before team meetings for employees, particularly those who can’t participate in the virtual water-cooler chats, to catch up.
If a meeting is necessary, it needs to be easy to schedule and confirm. ContactMonkey’s event management feature lets you seamlessly include invites in emails, manage RSVPs, and more.
Continue to engage with your remote workers as you would in the office. Schedule and manage registrations for your company’s all-hands meetings or webinars efficiently with ContactMonkey. Book a free demo to learn how solid event management can boost employee engagement:
6. Bolster Employee Engagement with a Communications Tool
As you try these best practices, consider using an all-in-one internal communications tool that lets you easily communicate, obtain feedback, and analyze employee engagement. Armed with workforce analytics, you can gain insights into your employees’ communication—such as who’s reading your emails—and improve processes across the board.
ContactMonkey takes employee email analytics one step further with segmented email stats, which let you filter campaign statistics by job title, office location, and department.
Compare performances for different campaigns side by side to identify what works and what doesn’t. Then, adjust your communications accordingly.
Evaluate and improve employee engagement with deep insight into the behavior of your remote workers.
Engage with Your Remote Teams Through ContactMonkey
With employees working remotely, it’s more essential than ever to use an all-in-one internal communications tool. Create visually attractive emails with ContactMonkey’s easy-to-use newsletter builder. Assess and boost employee engagement through ContactMonkey’s features: survey builder, event management, email analytics, and more.
Schedule a ContactMonkey demo and learn how our software can help you engage with your remote teams and improve internal communications.