How to engage and retain remote teams
Get the guidance you need to boost loyalty and keep your employees engaged.
With more people working from home than ever before, it's increasingly important to learn how to manage remote teams. Before we dive into our top tips, let's start with a few definitions.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is a measurement of how committed employees are to their company and work.
How is employee engagement linked to retention?
It’s simple: when employees are highly engaged and satisfied at work, they’re less likely to leave.
Tips for boosting remote employee retention
The option to work from home can be a great retention tool. But, in order to be successful, managers must understand how to help virtual teams thrive.
Create a seamless remote onboarding process.
Help new employees thrive by ensuring they feel welcome and have all the tech and info they need before their start date.
Set clear performance goals and ensure alignment.
Provide structure, motivation, and direction by working with your remote employees to set firm goals.
Touch base with remote team members often.
Schedule regular check-ins and keep a line of communication open throughout the day using a messaging platform.
Provide equal access to training materials and resources.
Become an advocate for career growth by giving your employees access to online courses or by bringing them on-site for training.
Recognize the achievements of remote workers.
Give public shout-outs for great work on your internal messaging platform and consider building an online recognition wall.
Don’t overlook remote employees for promotions.
Standardize performance reviews across your team to ensure fairness — remote work shouldn’t pause career development.
Tips for common remote work challenges
Remote work offers many benefits to both employees and companies, but it also comes with challenges that on-site employees may not face. It’s up to managers to proactively monitor and address these issues to keep their remote teams engaged.
Tone and intention can be hard to gauge over email and messaging platforms.
Prioritize face-to-face communication, but set boundaries.
Use video calls for important conversations to avoid communication breakdowns and build a personal connection. But keep in mind that video fatigue can set in if employees feel pressured to be on camera too often.
Remote team members may worry that they’re not seen to be productive.
Boost transparency and collaboration.
Use productivity and collaboration tools to keep everyone accountable, increase transparency, and break down silos. But avoid the urge to micromanage, as this can have a negative effect on employee engagement and productivity.
Some people may lack a dedicated at-home workspace or reliable internet connection.
Help to optimize remote employees’ workspaces.
Make sure remote team members are set up with everything they need to be productive. This might include providing a desk, ergonomic chair, and a laptop with company systems installed.
Remote employees can feel disconnected from the company culture.
Create a remote-inclusive culture.
Lean on technology to help remote employees feel included, from holding virtual happy hours to creating a virtual watercooler. This will also go a long way toward helping dispersed team members build strong bonds with their peers.
Remote employees may not be privy to details their on-site peers receive.
Ensure key updates are shared equitably.
Determine the best way to distribute updates to all — whether that’s a team-wide email or all-hands meeting. This will help you avoid repeating yourself, while keeping everyone in the loop.
Working from home can make it harder to unplug at the end of the workday.
Promote a healthy work-life balance.
Flexibility is important, but so are boundaries. Encourage remote employees to stick to a routine as much as possible, and avoid messaging your team outside of work hours.
Measure remote employee engagement
Now that you’ve picked up some best practices, let’s talk about measuring employee engagement. Remember, just because you can’t see your employees working doesn’t mean you can’t keep an eye on how they’re feeling.
Hold frequent virtual one-on-ones to discuss remote employees’ progress.
Have open and honest conversations about key performance objectives and any challenges remote employees might be facing.
Distribute weekly, monthly, or quarterly surveys and act on the results.
Gather anonymous feedback and use it to guide improvements that show you’re listening.
Have regular check-ins with the whole team to fill in any blanks.
Encourage team members to bounce ideas off one another, share strategies, and discuss their communal experiences.