One quarter of today's workforce is now virtual, recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows. In 2015, 24 percent of employed Americans did some or all of their work from home. The numbers are even higher in some professions, with 38 percent of workers in business, management and financial operations doing some of their work from home and 35 percent of workers in professional and related occupations working from home.
This trend presents companies with the challenge of keeping virtual workers engaged. Only 30 percent of fully remote employees are engaged with their jobs, compared to 33 percent of all employees, placing them among the least engaged of all workers, a Gallup poll reports. Here are three strategies business leaders and HR departments can use to help build a strong company culture that keeps virtual workers engaged.
Boosting Remote Workers' Emotional Investment
In a talk on how top companies are promoting emotional investment, Bonusly CEO Raphael Crawford-Marks identified three key components that contribute to making workers feel more invested in their employers. The first is an awareness of how their labor is used by others and appreciated by the company. The second is social interaction with other team members. The third is being challenged by work that provides an opportunity for personal and career growth.
To address these factors and promote emotional investment, companies can take several steps. One is periodically acknowledging workers contributions and how they help the company's growth. Another is promoting opportunities for social interaction among team members. A third is promoting worker growth through corrective feedback and training opportunities. High-performing workers want corrective feedback in order to improve themselves, Crawford-Marks emphasized.
Building Camaraderie among Remote Workers
With social interaction forming one cornerstone of Employee Emotional Investment, it's essential to take steps to promote camaraderie among virtual workers. Zapier, which employs an entirely remote workforce, promotes interaction among workers by randomly pairing two employees and giving them time to socialize. Pinterest implements a similar strategy by comparing workers boards and placing workers with common interests into groups. Having a company social media network can encourage employees to create their own groups.
It can strengthen online social bonds by providing opportunities for workers to meet face-to-face as well. Lunch meetings, company parties and annual retreats are all ways to help build camaraderie through face-to-face interaction.
Promoting Closer Collaboration through Technology
Another way to promote social interaction is by using technology such as video chat and instant messaging that allows workers to be present to each other at a distance. Lack of live interaction can discourage worker engagement, while strategic use of technology can help bridge this gap.
The most effective way to use technology to promote collaboration is to adopt a unified communications solution that incorporates video and instant messaging into your suite of collaboration tools. For instance, some of today's best-in-class cloud contact center solutions integrate unified communications including video with business phone and collaboration services.
Boosting employee emotional investment, building camaraderie and leveraging technology are three steps you can take to nourish a company culture that promotes remote worker engagement. By implementing these strategies, you can build a thriving company culture that makes your workers feel more emotionally engaged with your workplace, encourages them to be more involved with their team members and inspires them to achieve optimal performance.
Insightlink Communications is a leader in full service employee surveys and offers a range of employee survey products and services to fit their client's needs. With over 18 years of experience, Insightlink's reputation has been built on giving organizations the knowledge they need to create effective change using their acclaimed employee research, analytics, benchmarking and survey methodologies. Insightlink's expertise in data collection reporting and analytics takes the pressure off organizations that find data overwhelming and daunting creating reports that are digestible and understandable, simple and easy to understand for organizations of any size and experience level.
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