Written by Allie Delos Santos
Partnering with an offshoring provider in the Philippines means employing a remote team. But not being in the same location as the in-house department makes offshore workers feel less engaged and disconnected from your organization. These feelings of isolation become a major problem once they start affecting performance, productivity, and your company’s bottom line.
So how do you guarantee the success of your remote staff? Keep them engaged no matter where they are.
Make your offshore team feel valued and motivated by implementing the techniques we share below.
12 Ways To Keep Your Remote Team Engaged
Individuals who prefer to work remotely increased by 24% last year. The number of hybrid workers also increased by 16%, and interest in on-site work dropped by 24%.
As more people choose to work from home, keeping remote teams engaged is vital to ensuring they are as productive and efficient as they should be in the office. Moreover, businesses that outsource their processes should monitor their contractors’ motivations to guarantee success.
Working from home involves many distractions such as housemates, chores, TV, and social media. It can be challenging to determine and assess what remote employee engagement looks like for your organization.
Below are some ways to keep staff motivated and engaged and make them feel like they are part of the team.
1. Celebrate Their Accomplishments
You can recognize your remote team’s achievements in many ways, but distance makes it difficult to implement them. Hence, you must exert more effort to celebrate your achievements and contributions.
A staff recognition program can improve their performance, productivity, and engagement. Consider these techniques to appreciate and acknowledge offshore teams and remote workers for their contributions:
- Thank employees on team meetings
- Implement an “employee of the month” incentive program
- Regularly check in and greet them on shared messaging channels
- Acknowledge personal events such as anniversaries and birthdays
- Give signed cards or thoughtful notes from managers and coworkers
Such activities maintain employee engagement by making remote and offshore workers feel valued. It also helps everyone understand what is happening in different departments and teams.
2. Conduct Casual Meetings and Virtual Hangouts
Most remote employees communicate openly through instant messaging, email, video calls, or web conferencing apps. Conference calls go a long way toward promoting group collaboration when the entire team is working. You can also use collaboration and communication apps such as Teams, Slack, and Google Hangouts.
When you outsource tech solutions and other functions, organize a virtual gathering for non-work-related discussions. You can always discuss important subjects at work, but not all interactions should be stressful or intense. Set aside time for casual video calls and work outings to keep staff engaged and happy to be part of the team.
3. Encourage Remote Team To Prioritize Health and Wellness
The health and wellness of your team members should be a priority. Your workers cannot perform at their maximum level or at all if they get sick.
Consider incentivizing your team to cook a healthy meal, exercise, go outside, or build good habits. You can even create a wellness program for your employees with 30 days of daily walks or one month of yoga. Doing so supports your staff’s well-being, brings them closer, and shows them that you care about their health.
When employing business process outsourcing (BPO) solutions, find ways to make it easier for remote workers to follow good habits. Allow them to take longer midday breaks to squeeze in a workout or let them off early to give them time to take a stroll outside and enjoy the sunshine.
4. Keep Communication Lines Open
Remote employees, especially those outside the office’s time zone or who work a nontraditional schedule, might feel that their colleagues are unavailable when they are and vice versa.
Staff members are not available 24/7. Still, offshore workers feel more connected if they know they can contact a coworker when in need or keep in touch through digital communications.
Consider everyone’s time zone when scheduling meetings or sending an email. For example, you can state that you do not expect a reply until the next workday when sending a message to someone who has already clocked out for the evening.
Social collaboration tools, chat clients, and online communities also bring remote teams into the conversation. Not all interactions should be serious—part of what brings employees together is shared banter.
Recognizing and respecting shift differences go a long way toward fostering trust and camaraderie among team members.
5. Promote Personal Connections
Although you want your team to be professional, remember that remote employees are still humans. They have families, loved ones, personal events, and bad days like everyone else. As their employer, you must understand their interests, strengths, and weaknesses to make better connections.
Know what your team members love to do and incorporate it into their tasks by giving them relevant assignments or awarding promotions based on their passions. Remote workers feel more committed to and engaged in the company and their role if they see that you genuinely care about them as team members and people.
Engagement is not merely about “checking in” but building personal connections. The remote team appreciates even an action as simple as giving bonuses or benefits and talking with the members about their interests.
Some companies struggle with one-size-fits-all collaboration because, most of the time, it does not work. Giving someone information based on their circumstances is a great way to get their attention.
Most importantly, businesses should remember that honesty and transparency are the keys to fostering strong employee engagement, in or out of the office. To create strong relationships with remote workers, direct, short, personal, and honest communication is vital.
6. Make Employees Feel Valued and Heard
Your remote staff deserves to feel valued and appreciated. With back-office outsourcing, for example, you cannot take your remote team out to lunch to celebrate work anniversaries or extend a quick appreciation. Hence, you should look for simple ways to celebrate them as often as possible.
Did an employee celebrate their birthday? Give them a virtual gift card. Did a team member go above and beyond with their task? Set up a team meeting to congratulate them for their efforts. Find small acts to show your staff you care about them.
Lastly, keep your virtual door open. Misunderstandings are more common among offshore and remote employees. The last thing you need is to make these workers feel they cannot reach out to you, ask questions, or voice their concerns. Make sure they know you are available for one-on-ones and that you actively listen and take relevant action when a staff member confides in you.
7. Gamify Your Work
Gamification is the application of game-playing elements to nongame domains. It is a popular technique for businesses to promote loyalty and improve employee engagement in a fun way. The same strategy for stirring up competition and rewarding daily tasks is an effective employee engagement tactic.
Workers want to feel included. Team-based competition and goals create a sense of cooperation and collaboration. Form your teams based on location or function, and they strive toward a common goal as their primary objective.
For example, a game-based performance tracking system can standardize evaluation criteria and work metrics when outsourcing data entry services. This is crucial for remote employees, who might feel overlooked for important promotion opportunities due to the distance.
8. Set Clear Expectations
Connecting with remote workers is easier when expectations are clear for everyone. Find the optimal time and method for members to reach out to their coworkers. After all, nobody wants to get urgent emails and messages a few minutes before their shift ends.
Moreover, you can establish clear expectations about their deadlines and workloads. Also, ask for employee feedback. Employers should not assume that everyone on the team fully understands the work given to them.
9. Avoid Micromanagement and Trust Your Employees
Flexibility is one of the most appealing aspects of remote work. Give your staff autonomy regarding when and how they work as long as they deliver on time and produce quality results.
Do not micromanage their work hours; trust that they can accomplish the job on time. Trust is crucial in building genuine relationships with your remote team. Furthermore, allowing your offshore team to manage their shift helps them develop a healthy work-life balance.
You can look at trust from two angles:
- Trusting a manager to handle the remote team however they feel is best
- Trusting remote team members to finish their job
- Avoid micromanaging: Give managers the freedom to act as they see fit. You would do exactly the same if you worked with each other at the office every day, so use the same strategy for your remote team.
- Accept creativity: Leave room for your manager to embrace risk when trying new things or implementing a new strategy.
- Flexibility: Trust your remote team’s work schedule. If they work in shifts, trust that they clock in on time. If they have a flexible schedule, trust that they get their job done.
- Inform employees: Trust goes both ways. Workers trust you more when they are well informed. Update them on goals met, positive reviews, team progress, new hires, and new policies.
Trust should be part of your company’s culture. For example, with your contact center as a service (CCaaS) team, ensure you are always available, no matter where they are. Fostering trust among remote employees keeps them engaged, increasing their productivity and satisfaction.
A good tip is to immediately address issues as they arise to strengthen trust on either side of the party.
10. Set Opportunities for Career Growth
Opportunities to learn and grow are important for most employees. So it should be important to you as well.
Workers who want to learn more and grow professionally are a great asset to your organization. Businesses that give staff members a chance to develop their careers retain employees longer and differentiate themselves from the competition.
You can promote these growth opportunities to your team by:
- Designing courses to help with continued learning
- Encouraging job shadowing and mentoring to help new staff learn from experienced members
- Making career maps for interested employees to understand their expectations and aspirations and help visualize their future in your organization
Work with employees who want to learn to determine the optimal way to teach them. Workers who express their eagerness to learn are worth more than the ones who think they know everything.
11. Ask Employees for Feedback
Feedback should go both ways. You share with workers ways to improve productivity and help them reach their full potential. At the same time, they give you feedback to be a better leader.
You need to act on the feedback your remote employees give you. Otherwise, they will stop sharing their suggestions and ideas in the future. When employees see that the company recognizes their voice, they feel free to raise problems and engage in a positive work environment.
An excellent way to obtain feedback is through surveys. Ask your team what they are struggling with, how the organization can help, and what you can do to improve. Feedback can be related to fun team activities, training ideas, or customer satisfaction.
Do not wait for yearly reviews. You should be giving and receiving feedback regularly to improve constantly.
12. Keep Organization-wide Updates Digital
Remote workers might feel disconnected from colleagues due to a lack of communication. Although communication is crucial to employee engagement, not all types of communication solve the problem. Team interactions need to have the proper frequency and channel.
You cannot bombard staff members with unnecessary meetings, notice board announcements, or emails and expect them to remain engaged.
For example, with technical support outsourcing, the best way to make organization-wide updates is by using a non-obtrusive digital platform. This creates norms and expectations without becoming overwhelming or isolating remote employees.
Repeatedly sharing information is not a good solution, even if you worry that important updates are not reaching your team. Using the right tools helps. For instance, you can have an employee app that lets you “pin” important updates or has a “mandatory read” feature.
The Bottom Line
With 97% of employees recommending remote work, companies can expect it to stay in the coming years. This increases the need to manage and engage remote teams.
Fortunately, organizations can keep offshore workers happy and motivated in several ways. Use the techniques in this article to leverage remote work and keep your team healthy, engaged, and productive all year.
Remember that engaging employees is a constant task. It is not a one-and-done task that you can forget. Motivated employees are your company’s biggest asset. Make sure to stay up to date on how to engage remote teams.