12 Employee Engagement Strategies That Work For Remote Teams

Most company executives (71%) claim employee engagement is important to them. Yet, only around 15% of employees feel engaged in their workplace, according to a Gallup study.

This discrepancy might be due to company leadership not being equipped with the right tools to put their wishes into practice. If you’ve been struggling to come up with an effective employee engagement strategy, we’re sharing 12 ideas you can implement right away and make sure your remote team feels connected and engaged.

What is an employee engagement strategy?

An employee engagement strategy is a set of activities companies conduct to ensure their employees feel enthusiastic and devoted to their job while providing the best possible performance. Employee engagement strategies ensure employees have a positive employee experience, feel valued and heard, and are able to learn and grow within the organization.

Define and promote your company culture

Define your company culture and promote it internally and externally to create a positive employee experience for your team.

Great employee compensation packages and flexible working hours aren’t enough to make your team members feel engaged at work. Employees need to feel heard and know they’re valued for their hard work. They should have opportunities to grow and learn new skills and be encouraged to ask for and provide frequent feedback.

Such a workplace culture will contribute to higher job satisfaction in your workers, positively affecting their engagement levels.

Learn more about what a healthy company culture looks like.

Promote work-life balance

Ensure your remote employees have a healthy work-life balance by offering enough flexibility in work organization and monitoring the team’s workload and time off.

For 95% of millennials, a generation reshaping the workplace, work-life balance is considered important. Most of today’s workforce appreciates their time off work and the ability to focus on their hobbies, friends, and family while still having a successful career.

A healthy work-life balance means:

  • Clear boundaries between working hours and time off work (discouraging the “always on” mode)
  • Your team members take enough time off to recharge
  • A workload that’s not too overwhelming for the worker (not setting impossible deadlines or rewarding good work with more work)
  • Offering flexibility (in working hours and places to work from)

Design a top-notch onboarding process

Make sure your new hires are set up for success during their first few weeks at work: provide them with all the resources and training materials and a buddy for support.

Settling into a new work environment takes time, so your onboarding process should last at least a few weeks. Your new hire will need to learn how your processes work, who they can and need to talk to regularly, and how they need to organize themselves to meet the deadlines and your expectations.

Make sure all onboarding materials are available to the employees on-demand, so they don’t need to run through them or ask for access multiple times. If possible, match the new team member with a “buddy.” A buddy is an experienced employee who’s been with the company for a long time and can walk the new person through different processes and be there to support them when necessary.

Take employee feedback regularly

Promote frequent and honest feedback to build a culture of open communication where hierarchy won’t get in the way of sharing ideas and criticism, as long as it’s done thoughtfully and with good intentions.

Once you start implementing employee engagement initiatives, you need to occasionally take their pulse and see if your strategies are working well.

Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Have your human resources team use pulse survey tools to collect employee feedback (the questions should be short and targeted)
  • Organize regular one-on-one check-ins between managers and direct reports
  • Organize skip-level meetings between department heads and direct reports to team managers
  • Create virtual suggestion boxes where employees can drop their ideas or remarks throughout the year

Note that virtual suggestion boxes and employee surveys can be anonymous.

Embrace workplace flexibility

Consider a hybrid work model and flexible office spaces to enable your team members to get enough in-person interaction and collaboration.

Several studies show that not all people enjoy working from home, or at least miss socializing with colleagues and collaborating face-to-face. This is a clear signal to companies to think about enabling workplace flexibility for their teams in the same way they allow flexible working hours.

The perks of combining work from home with flexible workspaces and regular meetups with the team are numerous: employee disengagement rates will drop, and your remote team will feel more connected.

Remote work made it harder for distributed companies to create and maintain a company culture across borders and time zones, but if you offer, for instance, a co-working space membership to your employees, it can help them overcome the loneliness that inevitably comes with working from a home office for a long time.

Learn how you can use workplace flexibility to build an engaged workforce with Gable.

Organize in-person events for your distributed teams

Offer team-building activities and networking events to help your team members build relationships and improve collaboration.

Of course, people can connect, work well together, and even become friends online, but an in-person event helps employees bond faster, boosts company morale, and provides a change in their work setting, which can positively affect creativity.

If your remote team is too distributed or big to organize an event where you’ll all meet, you can set up several smaller meetups based on everyone’s locations so that everyone has an opportunity to meet their team members in person.

Before the event, think of an agenda with team-building and engagement activities, but keep it flexible, so no one feels forced to do something they don’t enjoy.

Prevent burnout

Create an action plan to help employees avoid burnout: implement wellness strategies and equip them with the proper tools and techniques to set boundaries, learn how to prioritize work, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Employee burnout poses a huge risk for the modern workforce: almost a third of participants in a survey said it was difficult for them to unplug and make a clear boundary between working hours and free time when working from home.

Many companies have already started implementing different worker wellness strategies to show employees that health should come first. Such strategies will help create a healthy work culture and contribute to higher employee satisfaction and engagement. Employees who feel well at work and outside of it are able to provide their best performance, especially if they know their employer genuinely cares about their well-being.

Here are a few steps to take to help your team prevent burnout:

  • Encourage your workers to take a mental health day off
  • Hold mindful meetings with a clear agenda
  • Prompt workers to communicate their challenges
  • Offer a flexible work schedule
  • Lead by example

Analyze and adapt your benefits packages

Analyze your compensation package to discover what your workers enjoy the most and tailor the benefits package to their needs and interests.

Base salary isn’t the only factor that influences an employee’s decision to choose you as an employer or stay with your company—perks play a significant role here, too. If workers feel they’re adequately rewarded for their effort, they will be more engaged. An engaged employee is more likely to be loyal to an employer and stay with the company for a longer time.

One of the steps you should take to achieve a high level of employee retention and satisfaction is to analyze your benefits package.

Which benefits are the most popular among your workforce? Which perk doesn’t get used a lot? For instance, your employees might be using their co-working space discounts every month, but they rarely use the gym membership card. Modify your offering based on what you discover in the analysis.

Help employees build an emotional connection

Leaders should set aside enough time to show employees how what they do makes an impact by enabling other teams, directly increasing revenue, building company reputation, or any other way.

For an employee to feel engaged at work, there needs to be an emotional connection between the worker and the company’s core values and mission. Today’s workforce seeks purpose in their jobs and wants to know how they’re making a difference, both within the organization and in the world.

When an employee feels their job isn’t aligned with what they consider their purpose, or they don’t know how their work contributes to overall business goals, they will feel disengaged. A disengaged workforce leads to high employee turnover, which hurts your company’s productivity and profitability.

Sharing the top results an individual or a team achieved should be a regular part of your weekly team meetings or 1:1 check-ins.

Provide career development opportunities

Create an engaged workforce by offering training programs and learning opportunities so they don’t need to leave your company to advance in their career.

For more than half of millennials, opportunities for career progress are a top priority when considering an employer. If their needs for development aren’t met, workers are ready to quit and find a new job. These statistics are a strong indicator that priorities in the workplace have shifted over the past decade and that companies need to keep up with employee requirements to retain top talent.

Offering courses, professional development training, and internal promotions in your remote team will create an excellent incentive for your workers not only to stay with you but also to perform at their best and exceed your expectations.

Implement employee recognition programs

Set up employee recognition activities ranging from celebrating work anniversaries and weekly shoutouts to sending gift cards or giving special awards to employees who demonstrate extraordinary devotion to their job or achieve amazing results.

A PwC study found that the new wave of graduates just entering the active workforce wants to feel valued and recognized for their effort.

You can easily build a culture where teammates are praised for their work and given an opportunity to present them in front of their colleagues by taking small steps because every action in the right direction counts.

For example, you could set up a Notion document where you’ll drop positive reviews from your customers, praise from other departments, or top weekly results and progress toward your goals. Or create a praise Slack channel where you’ll encourage people to congratulate each other on their successes.

Focus on effective communication

Promote open and effective communication in the entire organization and set some ground rules regarding async collaboration to minimize issues and enhance efficiency.

Online communication, especially across distributed teams where people come from different backgrounds, is flawed—misunderstandings can happen daily if you don’t put conscious effort into mindful and open interaction with your team members.

The leadership team should come up with ground rules regarding what is communicated through which channel, who employees should contact in case of an issue or if they have an idea to bounce, the expected timelines for requests to be resolved, and more. Encourage async communication and remind team members to overcommunicate because nothing goes without saying in remote teams.

FAQ: Employee Engagement

In this section, we’re answering a few more employee engagement questions you might have.

What are the four pillars of employee engagement?

All the best employee engagement strategies are based on these four pillars:

  • Connection (employees want to feel connected to each other and their leadership)
  • Meaning (employees want to do meaningful work)
  • Impact (employees want to see how their work impacts the company)
  • Appreciation (employees want to be appreciated for their work)

What is an employee engagement survey?

Employee engagement surveys are sets of questions sent to employees through different channels (in physical form, through Slack, and different workforce management tools) with the goal to determine how engaged the employees are.

These surveys can be done anonymously and help HR specialists and company leadership discover issues that may be preventing employees from feeling more engaged.

How do I measure employee engagement?

Companies use different metrics to measure their employee engagement rates, including the Net Promoter Score. You can collect data to calculate this metric by asking a simple question: _On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our company as a great place to work? You can conduct this survey annually and follow up if the score falls below 6. A high score would indicate your employee engagement strategies are successful.

Build an engaged remote team with Gable

Coming up with effective employee engagement ideas to ensure your team is devoted and enthusiastic about their work requires a lot of experimenting.

However, a few aspects of a healthy workplace are universal. No matter who you hire, chances are they’ll want to see their ideas and efforts appreciated, their boundaries respected, knowing how their work fits into the big picture of your business growth.

Test the 12 ideas we’ve shared in this article and learn more about building a great place to work:

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Andrea Rajic