Improving virtual staff engagement has become all the more important as we settle into a new world of work. A year on, and the novelty of remote working has truly worn off. It is undoubtedly set to become deeply ingrained in the future of work and therefore it is vital that business leaders adapt to new ways of engaging remote staff.
Keeping staff engaged can be tricky enough without every member of your team working from an entirely different location in a variety of circumstances. Gone are the days when you could pull everyone into the conference room for a catch up. Now, with some employees managing home-schooling and others working in a cramped flat not everyone is on the same page.
Whilst online games, zoom quizzes and virtual happy hours can be a fun way to reconnect with colleagues, virtual staff engagement often relies on meeting deeper human needs.
So how can you balance employee engagement in a virtual working environment?
Celebrate the contributions of your employees
The impact of social isolation during Covid-19 has been vast, with 30.9% of adults in the UK reporting that their wellbeing had been affected by feelings of loneliness in 2020. Giving employees some of the same social opportunities as they would have in the office is a valuable way to ensure staff feel connected.
Organising a team huddle to celebrate the achievements of the week, an employee birthday or a work anniversary is a nice excuse to boost virtual staff engagement. Gratitude in the workplace can be a powerful motivator, and has been shown to reduce stress hormones like cortisol by as much as 23%.
Put aside some time once a week to hop on Zoom and just talk about the good stuff. You’ll find your staff walks away feeling more engaged, motivated and happier.
Embrace social action initiatives
Do your employees have a voice in your company? Workers are increasingly concerned about their social and political beliefs aligning with that of their employer and fellow colleagues, and this trend hasn’t shown any signs of letting up under remote working conditions.
Companies are learning that sitting on the fence is no longer an option in 2021. Embracing the workplace’s role in political and social movements is an excellent way to foster a happier company culture and can create a strong sense of purpose for employees.
However, external company messaging must reflect the reality for employees, and including staff voices in the development of new strategies is critical. Giving employees the platform to meet and discuss social action initiatives provides an authentic perspective from within your organisation. An employee-based social action group can contribute towards building a more inclusive, diverse and equitable company culture whilst simultaneously improving virtual staff engagement.
Learning and development opportunities
Most employees want to broaden their skillset. Finding a suitable eLearning course or encouraging an online skill-sharing day could quickly improve virtual staff engagement and connection to your organisation. The value of eLearning cannot be understated, and up-skilling your workforce is a great way to increase retention rates and productivity.
Like employees, many managers have undergone a significant confidence crisis since transitioning to remote working. For example, more than a third of the time spent at work managers don’t feel they have the knowledge they need to be successful, as revealed in our Covid-19 working landscape survey.
But luckily there are learning and development opportunities on hand for managers, too. WeThrive’s eLearning course for new or experienced managers helps enable line managers to develop into aspiring leaders who deliver results. This is the ideal tool for boosting both virtual manager engagement, and in turn virtual staff engagement levels.
Be transparent with employees
2020 was a year filled with sudden changes, furloughed colleagues and new processes. Staff have quickly adapted, but in many cases this has raised questions about what exactly is happening at the top level of the organisation.
Getting the company together every few weeks to discuss the latest updates or to run a remote CEO AMA (ask me anything) is a great way to ease some of the anxieties your employees might be feeling. Giving clarity on specific issues or common questions could go a long way towards improving virtual staff engagement – even among managers, who feel unprepared for certain situations 43% of the time at work.
Try opening honest communication channels where staff can ask questions, raise concerns and give valuable feedback on their experiences working away from the office.
How WeThrive can help
WeThrive’s free employee engagement and wellbeing survival kit provides you with a full engagement survey analysis of your organisation. Designed to help you dig deeper into the conscious and subconscious areas that impact your employee’s engagement and wellbeing, our ready-made employee engagement survey analyses the 4 key areas that influence our feelings at work.
The survival kit takes just 7 days to uncover the specific vulnerabilities among your people, and it doesn’t stop there. We’ll break down the data for you and tell you precisely what actions you should take to see quick engagement and wellbeing improvements across your organisation.
Four simple steps to get your Engagement and Wellbeing Survival Kit
- Create your free WeThrive account by signing up here (no credit card info required)
- Send out your survey in a few clicks – sit back and relax for 7 days
- We’ll send you the analysis for your organisation (and a few extra goodies)
- Work through our recommendations to help your people thrive!
Employee Engagement, Evolved
WeThrive is the agile employee engagement platform that uncovers how your people truly feel, enabling managers to create highly effective teams, increase employee retention and employee wellbeing and deliver better business results.