Excite and engage your workers — wherever they are. Workers who have a clear sense of their company’s goals — including how they are contributing to them — are generally more engaged.
A Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report of more than 550 executives, in fact, found communicating the organization’s goals to the entire company was one of the top ways to drive employee engagement.
We know employee engagement can have a positive effect on operations: Companies in the top employee engagement quartile in a recent Gallup poll experienced less turnover, absenteeism, safety incidents and quality defects. High employee engagement levels can also positively affect profitability.
However, for organizations with hundreds, or even thousands, of employees, potentially in dozens of locations, accurately conveying goals — and infusing each remote office employee with a sense of purpose — can be challenging.
Global disengagement is clearly an issue at some organizations. Sixty-three percent of worldwide workers don't feel engaged, according to Gallup research; 24 percent say they’re actively disengaged.
If your organization has been struggling to keep employee engagement levels high, the following tips can help you motivate your workforce — regardless of its size, location or other potential constraints.
- Keep all employees in the loop: To encourage a sense of pride, workers — whether they’re down the hall, or in a remote office in another country — should know about their company’s successes. Sharing any seemingly negative issues can also help prevent gossip and the perception a situation is worse that it actually is. Regular, detailed and widespread communication, originating from leadership, can help assure employees their company is committed to transparency — and feels they’re valuable.
- Encourage employees to motivate each other: Leadership should certainly drive some of your organization’s employee engagement efforts. However, as Monster notes, establishing a company culture that heavily relies on peer motivation can provide far-reaching effects, particularly in remote offices that may not have frequent contact with leadership or many management members.
- Learn local preferences: To ensure all employees feel they are a respected part of the team, you may need to factor in certain cultural differences, including how you acknowledge and thank employees, according to the Harvard Business Review. In regions where some remote offices are located, verbal praise, for example, may be considered unusual. In others, a lack of it may cause employees to leave. The same principle applies to employee salary and benefit policies. A global survey Linda Herkenhoff, Ph.D., CCP, CBP, a School of Economics and Business Administration professor at Saint Mary's College of California, conducted several years ago found employees favor compensation that echoes the standard practices in their country. To boost employee engagement and overall satisfaction, organizations may want to consider customizing remuneration offerings to reflect local cultural values — such as providing weekly, instead of biweekly pay, or compensating workers for a completed amount of product, instead of paying hourly wages.
- Respect remote offices’ time constraints: According to the Society for Human Resource Management, studies have found remote workers require more frequent discussion than in-office employees to feel accepted and process new information. Offices located far from your headquarters may feel particularly left out of planning sessions and opportunities to provide input. Time zones can be an issue, of course. However, Inc. suggests setting a regular time when remote offices will be available to participate in committee and other meetings — and trying to schedule them during that period, instead of inviting remote workers to call in to meetings planned to accommodate your office’s schedule.
For additional tips on increasing employee engagement from your organization’s home base to its most remote office, check out our thoughts on ways to reach out to distant locations, how to manage employees anytime — and anywhere — and how to create the ideal employee recognition program to help keep workers happy.