We discuss how to keep employees engaged, no matter where they work
BLOG ARTICLE | By Debbie Mitchell
|BLOG ARTICLE|||||By Debbie Mitchell||11th September 2018|
In our previous articles, we have talked about what engagement is and why it matters, and some of the emerging trends, and have provided a few suggestions about how to engage people in your teams. However, engagement initiatives run the risk of missing a key part of today’s workforce - the remote or virtual worker.
It is estimated that by 2020, half of our workforce will be working remotely1. Let’s start by examining what we mean by remote and virtual - and why we are seeing this trend continuing.
We can attribute the rising trend for these flexible approaches to a few factors:
Traditional methods of engagement focus on bringing people together physically in one location - meetings, one to ones and social activities. However, when a workforce is dispersed, these approaches become impractical and ineffective - even counterproductive. If you fail to consider the changing needs of a more agile workforce, you risk actively disengaging those remote workers. While initially, they may become passive, ultimately, they could become disruptive, competitive and negative about your organisation. This will impact not just the employee experience, but potentially your business success.
Let’s remind ourselves about the different types of engagement, how virtual working can influence them, and how people managers can make a difference.
Intellectual engagement - thinking about the job or the organisation, and how to improve it
Virtual or remote workers may find this more challenging. They may be able to self-engage, but opportunities to collaborate on improvements, work across the functions of the organisation etc. could be more difficult, but not impossible. Here are a couple of ideas:
Affective engagement - feeling positive about the job or the organisation
In a virtual working scenario, it’s important to keep people connected to the organisation and its purpose. Disconnecting from these things can mean people lose interest and motivation and will work below their optimum levels or look for an employer that does provide that connection. You’ll need to:
Social engagement - the opportunity to interact and collaborate with others
Perhaps hardest to maintain in a virtual environment is social connectivity; finding friendships and meaningful relationships at work, collaborating on work projects or tasks, or just being able to talk about work. Remote working won’t make that easy, but it is important to factor it into working patterns, communication and task allocation. Why not:
Read about the challenges businesses face when engaging employees in a VUCA world. What can we do to develop and maintain employee engagement in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous working environment?