Keeping remote employees engaged: 3 effective ideas

By Kayleigh Tanner

Now many of us have had a full year of remote working, it’s safe to say that most of us have a good handle on what we’re doing. 

In fact, before the pandemic, just 6% of the workforce worked remotely more than 75% of the time, whereas now it’s more than 51%. After the pandemic, most organizations plan to move towards a blended working environment, with just 13% of workers intending to return to the office for most of the week.

If you’re wondering how to keep your remote workforce engaged in the months (and, in many cases, years) to come, read on to discover some of the key points from our new guide written in collaboration with Brandon Hall Group.

Man on a Zoom call talking to four colleagues

1. Emphasize a supportive leadership culture

Your organization always needs inclusive leaders, but when everyone is working remotely, it’s even more vital. Your managers will be an employee’s first port of call for everything from work challenges to prioritization to personal challenges, making them essential in your engagement efforts.

Among the top inclusive behaviors demonstrated by leaders are:

  • Kindness, patience and a genuine interest in the wellbeing of others (66%)
  • Adapting and perseverance in the face of challenges (64%)
  • Empathy, listening and understanding others (62%)

As this shows, “people skills” are hugely valued by organizations and employees alike. Employees want managers who will offer genuine support, check in to find out how they are and take the time to help them through challenging times. The more inclusive behaviors your managers can demonstrate, the more engaged your employees will be.

2. Enhance teamwork (without virtual meetings and casual hangouts)

Not being physically together shouldn’t be a barrier to working as a team. In fact, 64% of respondents in Brandon Hall Group’s Team Development study say that they expect teamwork to increase in the next two years. To handle this, 78% of organizations had to implement new technologies to keep their team connected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

But increasing teamwork doesn’t mean replacing independent work with endless virtual meetings and hangouts. One way to support increased teamwork is by supplementing your formal learning with a learning experience platform (LXP). Opting for an LXP like Totara Engage means your employees can congregate and work together in collaborative workspaces no matter where they’re based. For instance, at Totara, we work across multiple timezones (our New Zealand and UK offices are on opposite sides of the world), so we often work asynchronously on our own instance of Totara Engage to share ideas and solve problems together.

3. Reassess the employee experience

Employees now have a more holistic overview of how work fits into their lives; especially now that the lines between work and free time are blurred.

The critical elements of the employee experience today include interaction with peers, interaction with your manager and company communication. It is now crucial for organizations to communicate clearly and regularly with their employees to keep them in the loop. The physical work environment is also important to consider - while the company doesn’t have direct control over the working environment of remote employees, they should ensure that employees are comfortable and have the right equipment wherever they’re working.

Organizations must also consider what “meaningful work” looks like. Striking a reasonable work-life balance is now extremely important, as is being empowered to work productively and cultivating a team mindset, allowing people to work together no matter where they’re based. Driving your social learning efforts will help you realize the benefits of a collaborative, engaged workforce.

Keep your remote employees happy and engaged

Ready to learn more? Download our guide to keeping remote employees engaged with Brandon Hall Group for more eye-opening statistics, fascinating research and practical tips to ensure your remote employees stay engaged and productive - no matter where they are.