Employee Engagement: How to Engage Remote Workers

by Jo Dodds on May 17, 2016

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We are very lucky this month to share with you a great guest blog by Jo Dodds of Counterpoint matters. Here she writes about  the 4 pillars of employee engagement and how to engage remote workers with some great insight and ideas for you to think about.

In the Engage for Success movement we talk about the four enablers of employee engagement. They are pillars that exist in organisations where engagement levels are high. They are powerful pillars and can be used to inform ways of engaging people in many situations, not just in workplaces. 

So what are they?

1) Strategic Narrative

This is all about having a strong story for the organisation that makes clear where it has been, where it is going and, crucially, how each employee and what they do every day fits with this. Employees should have a direct line of sight between what they do on a daily basis and the strategic narrative, i.e how what they do fits with the goals of the organisation.

2) Engaging Managers

This sounds quite straightforward, but what does it actually mean? There are three main ways to ensure that you are an engaging leader. You need to treat each person in your team as an individual, coach them regularly and enable them to see the link between what they do and the strategic narrative of the organisation. 

3) Employee Voice

Here we mean giving employees the opportunity to have a say in how the organisation is run. It's not just about asking for opinions, perhaps via a survey, its about really involving your whole team and organisation in creating strategy and developing the 'how we do things around here' piece. 

4) Organisational Integrity

This final enabler is about ensuring that there is no 'say-do gap' in the organisation. We've all seen organisations with their company values plastered all over their walls or in their marketing literature that we know don't live them. Employees, and customers for that matter, always know if there is a problem with organisational integrity, don't they? 

How do the Four Enablers of Engagement Apply to Remote Workers?

Remote workers are those who are based outside of the main workplace of their employer either as a 'mobile' worker or based from home or an office other than the main office of the organisation. These workers can quite easily feel remote from the 'workings' of the organisation through the location of the job, because they aren't on the main site to see and hear what is happening, but that doesn't have to be the case. 

The importance of the four enablers of engagement doesn't vary depending on the type of workers, remote or otherwise. The enablers apply across all employee situations. However, how the manager engages with the individuals in their team, connects them with the strategic narrative and enables their voice, with integrity, may require some further thinking when those team members are based in other locations. 

It's clear that leaders need to work a bit harder to be in contact with their team if they are not based at the same location but there are various tools that can help to make that possible, including intranets, enterprise social networks, web based tools and even the common or garden phone! And clearly, an opportunity for face to face meetings is important too. Some questions that you might find useful when considering your interactions with your remote workers, to improve engagement are:

Strategic Narrative

  • how do you share company information and how do you make it accessible to remote workers?
  • What's your style, frequency, substance, method? Do you vary this to ensure remote workers are included?
  • Can your remote workers explain what the strategic narrative is and how what they do fits with it?

Engaging Managers

  • How engaging are your leaders with their team and especially their remote workers?
  • How well do your leaders know the individuals in their team, especially those they don't see often?
  • How much coaching is going on within teams, especially with those based elsewhere?

Employee Voice

  • How do you get feedback and ideas from your team? Do all employees get equal opportunity regardless of their location?
  • How do you implement those ideas as a team ensuring that remote workers are part of that too?
  • Are you using technology to enable employee voice across your entire team?

Organisational Integrity

  • What's the gap between what your leaders say and think about the organisation and what your employees think and say? And does that vary depending on the location of the employee?
  • What do you customers think about your employees, your organisation and how it's run?
  • Is there a difference between the experience your remote workers and non remote workers have as employees?

Leaders who are looking to better engage remote workers need to be looking at using technology and digital tools like video, online platforms and collaboration tools to help them to be more effective in engaging this type of employee but what they need to focus on, above all, are the enablers of engagement and finding tools to support them in those areas. All too often organisations look for tools to enable engagement with employees in isolation of the four pillars, ie they start with the tool rather than the enabler, which is a recipe for disaster in most cases!


I hope you found this blog useful when thinking about your employee engagement. Can you apply the 4 pillars Jo describes to your intranet to further engage your remote workforce? Let us know your thoughts and comments we'd love to hear from you.

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Jo Dodds of Counterpoint Matters works with organisations to improve employee engagement and wellbeing. She is also works with the Engage for Success movement leading on digital and speaking on the topic of employee engagement at events and conferences.

To find out more about the great work that Jo does visit her website : http://www.jododds.com

 

Topics: intranet engagement, employee engagement

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