12 Strategies to Create a Great Remote Employee Experience
Evolving Employee Engagement Strategy for the Evolution of Work
As we enter the post-pandemic era of work, remote working is here to stay. It certainly has benefits for both employer and employee, but it can be challenging, too. This is especially true for keeping employees engaged in their work.
The real issue is that employers risk delivering a remote worker employee experience that leaves their remote employees feeling very much home alone — whether those employees are working from home, full time, or part of the time.
This underlines that the way to foster higher employee engagement (and the benefits of this that include higher productivity, increased employee loyalty, and higher profits) has shifted from traditional employee engagement strategies.
Today’s employees are more self-aware. A boost in paycheck may give them a warm feeling inside, but it’s a fleeting sense of satisfaction. Today, it’s crucial to envelop employees with meaningful employee experiences:
- Employees are engaged by relationships with a manager who can coach them to reach their potential
- They want to satisfy their purpose in life
- They want ongoing conversations, to be recognised for their strengths, and to benefit from learning and development opportunities
- They desire to work for organizations that help them maximise their work/life balance
So why do so many employee engagement initiatives fail? Primarily because organisations view it as an HR practice. While HR may take a vital role in engagement initiatives, it is leaders, managers, and supervisors who deliver exceptional employee experiences that do so much to boost engagement.
How can organisations provide a great remote worker employee experience?
Here are 12 strategies that your organisation should be helping its leaders and managers to deliver.
1. Optimise your onboarding process
The first impression is always the best impression. A good onboarding process can set your company apart from others and make your employees feel welcome and valued. HR can streamline the onboarding process in several ways, such as having paperwork completed prior to day one, and ensuring that desktops are set up to start immediately.
Managers can arrange for meaningful introductions to new colleagues, and provide the new employee with an overview of the company’s culture and values so they can feel more connected with the company.
All these things can be achieved in the office and remotely. It simply takes a little planning.
2. Connect employees to your mission
Connecting employees to the company’s mission is a wonderful way to motivate them. It helps them to feel they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. We can do this by sharing our organisation’s vision and values with them in meetings, conferences, and other interactions. But we shouldn’t forget that it is not only about what we say, it is about what we do. Leaders and managers must lead by example.
3. Foster effective communication and listening
Effective communication is an important aspect of the workplace. It helps to build trust, respect, and understanding between colleagues. As managers, we must learn to listen more, understand our people, and use effective communication skills to solve problems.
Communication is the foundation of relationships and the key to good teamwork. When communicating virtually with remote employees, a different communication skill set is needed, and managers need to adapt skills such as active listening, reflective listening, paraphrasing, summarising, and clarifying for the virtual environment.
4. Regular check-ins: Go beyond work in conversations to build more meaningful relationships
Regular check-ins with employees are a terrific way to make sure that they feel appreciated, heard, and involved. It also helps with any problems that might be coming up. But these check-ins should not only be about work. Managers should take opportunities to learn more about their employees, and to check in on their well-being.
5. Provide a space for ideas to feel appreciated and acknowledged
It’s important that we show our appreciation for individuals by ensuring we provide the methods and space for them to share their ideas. This can be during team meetings, though technology also enables us to discuss ideas as teams even though we may be miles apart.
6. Keep open lines of communication
Being home alone removes us from a basic human instinct — socialising. There are no meetings at the water cooler. No after-work get-togethers. No opportunity to knock on the boss’s door for a quick chat.
We must find ways to make remote work more social. Keep our lines of communication open and deliver a ‘water cooler experience’ using technology. One company we know set up a separate slack channel for people to share recipes. This worked so well that they set up other channels, to enable people to join in social conversations as if they were at work. Crucially, the employees administer these channels themselves.
As we build out communication capabilities, we must take advantage of technology to:
- Develop a centralised communication tool across all teams
- Optimise your communication technology to better support your employees
- Go beyond work in our conversations to build more meaningful relationships
7. Create a customised inclusion experience and promote relationship building
Inclusion is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process that starts with an inclusive culture and continues with customised inclusion experiences and relationship building. We must seek to optimise the experience to match our employees’ needs, preferences, and personalities.
There are many ways to create a customised inclusion experience for employees. We can have our employees share their own stories, which will help them feel more included in the company. Managers should share their stories, too, and not be afraid of showing they are also vulnerable. Such conversations can immediately spur a sense of togetherness that promotes deeper collaboration through the sense of connected company culture, enabled by virtual connection outside of regular meetings that are like an office environment.
8. Provide a mentally safe environment for employees
Employee experience may be defined as the sum of all emotions that a person feels when they are working for an organisation. Positive work culture is key to improving employee experience. It is also crucial to provide an environment in which employees feel confident and secure to speak out about their mental health issues.
Employers that provide mental health support for their employees, deliver better work-life balance and make their employees feel more valued in the workplace.
9. Support work/life balance
The correlation between work-life balance and employee experience is undeniable.
Organisations that support work-life balance have employees who are more satisfied with their jobs and are more likely to be engaged in their work. To deliver meaningful work/life balance, we must know our employees as individuals — while we may all be rowing in the same direction, each of us is unique.
10. Provide professional development opportunities
Providing professional development opportunities is one of the best ways to improve the employee experience. These may be in the form of workshops, conferences, seminars, online courses, and more. As managers and leaders, we should be proactive in helping our employees to design their career paths, especially in today’s flatter organisations, in which career crafting rather than traditional lines of promotion will provide the most rewarding development potential.
In our white paper, we highlight how the development of employees should be a top priority for every organisation in order for them to engage their workforce and plan for the future.
11. Recognise and reward your remote employees’ effort
The importance of recognising employees’ efforts is not just limited to managers. We should develop a culture in which employees themselves should also take the time to appreciate the work of their colleagues. This will help remote employees feel connected to the organisation and its culture.
12. Instruct your leaders to rethink leadership and apply it to the remote environment
The Covid pandemic and the response to it did not alter the course of evolution in how we work, but it has accelerated the evolution of remote work. In a world in which businesses operate in flatter hierarchies, leaders and managers are faced with the challenge of shifting how they lead in new organisational structures and how they lead dispersed and remote teams.
Still, one thing certainly remains constant. It is leaders and managers, supported by HR, who set the tone for the organisation and its employees. Leaders need to be mindful of how they are treating their employees and how they are making them feel, and individualise employee experiences within the context of the team.
While organisations are more dependent upon technology than ever, it is evident that leadership must become more people-centric than ever — and apply strategies that deliver the highest-quality employee experiences to teams and individuals. If we can do this, we will all be winners from the shift to remote work.
Where do you start? Complete the Personal Values Assessment to get a comprehensive insight into your organisational culture.