At Michael C. Fina we’re always looking for new motivational tools, but the best tools are useless if your managers can’t regularly connect and engage with employees face-to-face. Such is the case in many multinational organizations with business units spread out across the globe, or organizations with large remote workforces.
While email and social media have made communication across physical distances much easier, they sometimes lack the human touch that is sorely needed for genuine manager-to-employee engagement. Listed below are three best practices that will help you effectively engage a remote workforce:
Show your face
When face-to-face interactions are not possible in person, don’t rely too heavily on email or the telephone. Putting a face to a name creates a stronger psychological bond for employees, so meet them face-to-face as much as possible. Regular group meetings through Skype, WebX, FaceTime, or any other platform that allows for video conferencing can accomplish this.
Get them involved with the culture
According to a 2012 study by Kontiki Inc. and Melcrum, over 50% of organizations surveyed report increased employee engagement from providing video communications on their corporate web portal/intranet. Internally produced videos that showcase personal messages from the CEO, subject matter expertise, department/contract wins, and employee achievements are a great way for remote employees to access the recognition culture directly and vividly.
Stay in touch
In his book Employee Engagement 2.0, noted engagement guru Kevin Kruse describes how he connects with his staff once a week through Google Hangouts to increase engagement and the sense of camaraderie among everyone. IM sessions through applications such as Pidgin and Hangouts allow for real-time conversations no matter where anyone is located, and operating an IM program is far less distracting than sending emails or playing phone tag.
Not too long ago, video chats and instant messaging were considered taboo at work. Today they help keep remote employees in the loop and engaged—a win for everyone.