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Part 2 of 3: A Guide to Managing a Remote Team

9 Tips to Increase Engagement with a Virtual Workforce

Keeping employees engaged in pre-COVID-19 times was a challenge within itself. Now that our daily business operations have become more virtual it is even more critical to focus on successfully engaging your employees.

The following tips will ensure you are engaging both current and new employees through the challenges, the depersonalization, and distractions created by remote work.

Virtual Onboarding

A strong onboarding process can improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70% according to Glassdoor. The following tips will enable you to provide a seamless transition for your new virtual employees.

Tip #1 Crystal Clear Communication

Establishing clear channels of communication is critical when training a new employee.

Tip #2 Have a Formal, Documented Onboarding Schedule for at least their first 3 weeks

Having an onboarding schedule for the trainee will help ease the candidate into their new position in your company. This will allow the trainee to know exactly what you expect from them and what they will be graded on in their performance reviews.

Tip #3 Schedule 30-day Performance Reviews

Having set 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day performance reviews will establish clear goals and guidelines for your new hire. Consistent and frequent communication allows a new hire to know what they need to work on, learn, and improve on at a fast rate. Focus on what they are doing right first! Everyone can improve, but it is important to praise your employees and let them know you appreciate the work they are doing for your company.

80% of Millennials prefer on-the-spot recognition rather than traditional performance reviews. We recommend structuring quarterly performance reviews, it may take more time, but keeps your managers accountable to having more touch points with their team. Why is this important? Millennials will be 75% of the workforce by 2025. That is less than 5 years from now!

Get more information about Millennials in our blog: What Millennials want and why you need to care

Virtual Meetings

Meetings can be daunting, and it is even more difficult to encourage engagement when you are not in person together, but instead on a little computer screen. The following tips can help with keeping your employees engaged during virtual meetings.

Tip #1 Have an Agenda

Take the time to outline what you want to accomplish in the meeting and make sure that everyone has a copy. This will ensure that the meeting stays on track, you cover everything, and it will allow your employees to formulate questions before you even start. Having a clear start and finish time will also make the meeting seem less daunting and ensure your employee can stay on track of their other job duties.

Tip#2 Keep it Short and Impactful

Have you ever come out of a meeting and thought, what was that meeting about? Keeping things short allows you to stick to the important information and make it impactful. Keeping a weekly meeting to 30 mins or less also communicates to your employees that you value their time, and they are much more likely to pay attention.

Tip #3 Start and End each Meeting with Something Fun

Do employees drag their feet into your meetings? A great way to grab their attention is to start the meeting with a small icebreaker! By grabbing their attention at the beginning of the meeting they are more likely to stand engaged throughout.

Do a short round of would you rather, round robin, or let your employees show off their pet or a special skill. These little icebreakers will relieve the initial tension of any meeting and you may learn something new along the way!

{Write a few sentences of how to end the meeting on a fun note, and why that is important, so people?s last feeling and memory is ?wow that meeting was really fun!?}

Virtual Engagement

Remote work separates you more from each other and this may mean it?s more challenging for you to pick up or notice the struggles that your employees may be facing to get their work done every day. The following tips will help you help keep your employees engaged and knowing you care.

Tip #1 Encourage Employees to Unplug After Work

Burn out can happen to the best of us. The physical boundaries of the workplace are no longer there to help maintain their work life balance. With work life and home life happening in the same space, it is important to encourage your employees to refrain from working during off hours. Take the time to talk with your employees about how this is possible for them. Suggest having a set space for their work and encourage them not to be in that space on their personal time. This will help your employees draw a clear line for work life balance and help prevent burn out.

Tip #2 Allow Flexibility and Focus on the Results

Working from home introduces a whole new level of distraction than in the workplace. Some of your employees could have kids, pets, live with their parents, or just have a really loud neighbor. Allowing your employees to have more flexibility with their schedule may allow them to take their dog for a walk so they do not run around the house, or simply allow for your employee to walk away from work when they are not being productive and come back at a time when they can focus.

To keep your employees accountable, we suggest setting clear expectations and sharing weekly progress updates. Hubstaff mentions that work from home policies are a great way to inform employees about your expectations and regulations regarding virtual work. Setting deadlines, defining scopes, and KPIs for each task or project in writing helps your team understand exactly how you measure success.

Tip #3 Ask for Feedback

Communication is key in this new world of COVID-19. You can implement as many tips and tricks as you want for improving engagement or productivity, but if it is not working for your employees it is not working for your company.

Making sure managers are doing weekly or every other week touch points with employees, just to let the employee give feedback, ask questions, or just catch up is essential to keep the relationship building healthy, which is essential to producing results in a business.

What has been working well for your company during these times of virtual work, where it?s not really a choice for most businesses, and now a new way of working?