How to Maintain Remote Employee Engagement

July 26, 2023 – Studies show that the last three years have brought the biggest workplace shift since the industrial revolution, as pandemic lockdowns put hybrid and remote work options in place for many. With some corporate leaders wanting staff back in the office while others are convinced of the benefits of working from home (WFH, also referred to as WFM), both sides presented reasonable arguments to a jury of their global peers.

The headline on a recent article in the tech publication IT-OnlineSA reads: “The verdict is in – and hybrid working wins,” noting the findings of research that, overall, employees prefer and perform best where they are offered hybrid, flexible work solutions.

“This has prompted the creation of guidelines for all aspects of WFM, ensuring an engaged and productive workforce within the parameters of a fair and legal business infrastructure,” said Joana Proença de Carvalho, senior partner at Signium Portugal and leadership consulting practice group leader for Signium, author of a new report by Signium.

In her study, Ms. Proença de Carvalho offered five key ways to maintain remote employee engagement:

1.Set clear expectations upfront: Ensure that your team understands what you expect in terms of communication, especially with regard to daily and/or weekly video or email check-ins and status reports.

2. Make sure employees feel heard and valued: Respond to e-mails promptly; connect by phone or video call if an employee seems confused or distressed.

3. Check in regularly with employees: And not just about work progress. Ask about challenges or obstacles they may be experiencing, as well as their general well-being.

4. Avoid micro-managing: It looks very much like you don’t trust your team and could result in an environment of fear and even dishonesty. The reports you request upfront should be easily noted in the employee’s actual productivity to negate the need for micro-managing.

5. Small gestures go a long way: Make part of your video communications fun; send employees a voucher for a coffee or a pizza; unexpected “good news” mails sharing company achievements ensure WFM individuals still feel valued as team members.

Cybersecurity: As at Work, So at Home

“Technology advancement has become so huge and rapid that the rest of the legacy infrastructure has difficulty catching up,” said Sunny Yi, managing partner at Arthur D. Little, Korea. “Policies, rules, and regulations, for example, tax legislation, are outdated. There is also a lack of coordination and uniformity between and across countries. Artificial intelligence and ChatGPT is the best example right now: how do we regulate its usage; or self-driving cars – in case of an accident, who is at fault?”

Related: 7 Sourcing Stage Recruiting Inefficiencies to Rethink

Whether remote staff members are using their own devices or those of the company, cybersecurity must be part of the hybrid/WFM policies your company creates to ensure clarity between management and staff, says the Signium report.

“Not only will hybrid work policies help to foster better employee retention and engagement, when they incorporate legal and ethical expectations, all parties are able to adapt more easily to their new framework which often enhances performance and productivity,” said the study.

Top Ways to Mitigate Equipment and Cyber Risk

All employees will need their systems and anti-virus software updated regularly and data backups created, along with encryption of sensitive information, says Signium. Unless this can be undertaken remotely, this may require remote workers to bring their devices into the office.

Engagement Strategies to Source Stronger Candidates
In a new report, IQTalent Partners discusses the value of creating a sourcing strategy that focuses on building out a strong candidate engagement process. Modern recruitment strategies, it contends, must concentrate on building a relationship with candidates rather than simply pushing them through your hiring process.

“The CTO or IT department should be communicating any potential issues with all staff, and ensuring they are aware of ever-more sophisticated tactics employed by cybercriminals, especially with regards to phishing, which can often convince a hybrid worker the mail they’re asked to click or download from is legitimate,” said the study.

Purpose and Values Matter to Performance Culture

“We are looking into company culture in a way that has never been done before. Companies are emphasizing their corporate culture, values, and how they want to be perceived in the market,” said Giovana Cervi, global head of the financial services practice, managing partner, Signium Brazil.

Employees deliver better results and adapt faster to change if they feel that their values converge with those of their organization, says the Signium report. A performance-based culture is not only about the company’s bottom line, but also employee progression. It promotes experimentation and innovation that can increase organizational agility and encourage the adoption of change.

“Input  (and buy-in)  from the entire C-suite is vital to the success of any company’s culture shift to one that values ethics and efforts at every level, said Signium. “A positive work culture embedded in the company ethos promotes productivity, engagement and improved employee experience, leading to increased overall work output and a higher staff retention rate.”

By implementing the suggestions listed above and changing tack as required, companies attract a workforce – remote or in office – that wants to be a part of some bigger purpose and its success. “This is the best any firm can do, for their employees and their own reputation,” said the Signium report.

Signium has 38 offices in 30 countries serving clients in the Americas, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific regions. The firm delivers talent acquisition and management solutions for global companies across industry sectors, including consumer goods, financial services, technology, industrial, life sciences, and professional services.

Related: 10 Tips for Networking with an Executive Recruiter

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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