In today’s world, it’s very common to have remote employees as many companies start implementing flexible working situations. It can be easy to become disconnected - “out of sight, out of mind”, right?
Just like your in-house employees, they are an integral part of your team! Learning how to best build a relationship and strengthen the employee experience. Staying connected with your remote employees is just as important as doing so with employees you see in the office every morning.
Here are some helpful tips to keep your remote employees connected and engaged with your in-house team:
Here at ProSky, we are proud to say that even though we are based in the U.S, we have remote employees in South America and Asia! One of the best ways we keep in touch is digitally through collaboration apps such as Asana and Slack. Another great tool we use to collaborate with is ProSky’s very own our Desk tool!
With Asana, you can keep everyone’s tasks organized and know exactly what is going on at all times. We can not only keep track of the tasks we create for ourselves in a safe place, but we can see what everyone else is doing by creating various groups and inviting different members of the team to be included in those groups. This is a great organization tool!
With the ProSky platform's desk feature, everybody can log in over video and audio chats to work together on various projects. This handy feature also gives teams real-time interaction abilities such as draw/write things on the online whiteboard, take notes, and upload files. If you are an executive, you may be overseeing multiple groups at the same time. You can have separate groups for your tech, sales, or your marketing team.
There are a lot of other great Virtual Team Software out there that can assist with all your remote needs. Find the one that fits your company!
2) Training + Development
Meet routinely with remote employees to ensure they are meeting goals and on a pathway for growth. Management and HR leaders can think of their employees as students. As they strive to learn it can greatly increase retention rates. Companies should push to provide learning opportunities and expanded training for employee's professional growth. This will also contribute to the company's growth as well as your brand's reputation.
By implementing your own growth initiatives and learning opportunities you can help in-house and remote employees thrive. These learning opportunities could come in several forms: mentor programs, external or internal training to learn new skills, opportunities to work on projects across to expand knowledge.
Just like your in-house employees, make sure they have their own succession pathway to clearly define the necessary skills to progress within your company.
By keeping remote employees in the loop with meetings and ensuring they are progressing on their own path to promotion, you can help them feel connected and engaged. This will increase retention, productivity as well as decrease turnover.
A simple way for employers to effectively achieve this would be to upload their training materials onto ProSky’s portal and set up customized training for all their departments. Employees would be able to access anywhere. This provides flexibility and helps eliminate distance limitations.
It’s essential to reach out to remote employees and give them performance feedback! By implementing feedback with proper goals and milestones, you won't overlook your remote employees. You and your team will be able to see their contribution watching their progress.
Nick Galov, founder of hosting tribunal said,
"Freelance workers often get very little feedback on tasks they do which can make them feel detached and uninterested in the company. Make sure that you provide them with constructive feedback even for the smallest task. Also, let them know if you’re satisfied with their performance and show that all of their efforts are being noticed and appreciated."
It's vital for employers to have a routine feedback strategy in place. Whether it be a weekly video meeting, an update email, or a combination of different ways, keep it consistent and something they can look forward to.
Make your feedback sessions an opportunity for remote employees to focus on positive work trends they can share with their team on a weekly basis. To further engagement, you can implement meaningful questions to get a measure of their work. Questions like:
Tell me something good that happened
Did you have any problems or challenges?
What did/will you work on this week?
What did you accomplish?
What can the company do to help?
This is also a time for them to share goals they’re working to accomplish or ideas to incorporate and also a time to give feedback to the company such as changes they’d like to implement.
There's a big difference between busy and productive. You can’t really judge remote employee productivity based on hours, but you can track their progress based on task achievement. Studies have proven that people have different times of the day that are the most productive to them, so while they may have the freedom to work 3 am -7am and again from 6pm to 11pm (that’s when their creativity kicks in), you will see the same quality of work will be put out! So, learn to measure success according to the work that gets done, not necessarily the amount of time that gets put in.
The number one advice Max Chekalov a Content Developer at Appgeeks.org would give to employers is to know your freelance workers. He says,
"Spend time getting to know your freelancers and what makes them the most productive. Then find a middle ground between your company’s goals and your quirky freelancer's demands."
By understanding your remote employees you will know how to help them and keep them productive in their work.
On the ProSky platform, Companies can set up checkpoints and subtasks to visualize completion rates for certain projects and challenges. Tracking this progress is crucial to managing your remote employees. Having clearly defined milestones will help all employees, including your in-house ones, be more productive and efficient in team tasks.
Meeting over video and being in constant communication is important for the day to day, but at some point, remote employees are still humans who desire human interaction! Try to get them in the same room with everyone else in the company at least once a year.
Even if it’s only once a year, getting everyone together for an annual holiday party or retreat will do wonders with overall employee morale.
If this isn’t viable for your company, there are many cost-effective ways to keep remote employees connected and engaged. Here a few ideas to keep everyone learning about each other:
Monthly Topics - These can be fun engaging topics that ask questions like: What show are you currently binge-watching and why? This is an easy but meaningful way for people to be connected.
Weekly Discussions - Management teams can use this opportunity to share the direction of the company and positive achievements. This can also be a great way to get input on new features in your product, get everyone involved in a new interface design or ask opinions. Everyone likes to feel like an expert. and you can get some free feedback and spark new ideas on internal projects!
Contests - Design contests that award high performance. It could be a design challenge to see who can come up with the most creative product poster, or employees can compete to see who can make the funniest video for your company. Friendly competition is always a great way to not only keep employees engaged but to keep them focused as well. It’s also a good way to get remote employees to reach out to other members of the company on their own. It’s all in good fun and employees love it.
Having offices globally, we understand the importance of connectedness. A simple icebreaker can go a long way in getting to know your employees behind a screen. You can make it fun, educational and welcoming by going around and talking about something that can unite you all. Check out one of our recent company questions in our Slack #random channel:
Afterward, we each shared “something good” with everyone specific to our work and the progress that was had. Just hearing all the little, yet meaningful victories everyone was celebrating gave us all insight into each other’s work and made us feel like we are one step closer to reaching our goals!
Do it the ProSky way or create something that’s unique to your company’s culture and start getting everyone in the same room.
Learning how to deal with and manage remote employees will make your culture more whole, but it will also open the door for you to engage in remote interviews as well. Void of location limitations, interviewing from anywhere in the world can open your eyes to great talent.
Sign up for a demo with ProSky to learn more about how you can engage and drive growth among your teams.