Employee Engagement in Remote Work – Impossible?

With the spread of the novel coronavirus, remote work has become the new norm for many workers across the globe. As business owners struggle to maintain productivity, the lack of in-person interaction and upheaval in normal routines have forced them to re-think how to keep their team members engaged.

We know how important it is to engage your employees. When a business owner engages their team effectively, their company has 59% lower turnover, 70% fewer safety incidents, 21% higher profitability, 17% more productivity, and 10% higher customer retention.*

In this season, how do we engage employees well?

Understand Your Team’s Conation

First, you must understand your employees’ conative strengths. How do they naturally solve a problem? How do they instinctively approach a project? What drives their mental energy, and what depletes it? To do this, you need to understand your team’s conation. You measure this by taking the Kolbe A Index assessment. In about 20 minutes, you will learn how each team member naturally takes action, makes decisions, and solves problems. If you are not familiar with conation, see our blog post here.

Understand Your Team’s Preferences

Second, learn more about how your employees like to be recognized. Do they prefer public praise or personal note? What do they like to do outside of work? What is happening with people who are important to them? In our business, we interview each new employee to find out more about them. Then, we know what gift card to give them after a long week of hard work. We know when they have an anniversary or birthday coming up. We can celebrate their child’s graduation. This information allows us to personalize our efforts to celebrate them.

Put Your Knowledge to Work

Third, now that you know more about your team, use it! This is not the time to file away that information and continue on with business as usual. Set up a schedule for regular employee recognition and refer to their preferences when deciding how to recognize them. Everyone is having to adjust, so recognize your employees’ efforts to maintain their workload while working from home, facilitating their kids’ education, entertaining their toddlers, sharing the same space with family members who are also working or schooling, etc. Schedule calendar reminders to celebrate milestones, like birthdays and anniversaries.

Support your employees who may be operating outside of their conative strengths. For your resistant follow-thrus, they will struggle to complete tasks with so many more distractions. Help them identify the most important tasks each week. Give them flexibility to complete those tasks, but give them a clear due date. Empower them to find efficiencies in your system as they work through their tasks.

For your initiating fact-finders, the uncertainty of coronavirus and upheaval to normal business operations has unsettled them. Schedule a weekly check-in call with them – what questions do they have? Do they have the information they need to complete their tasks? In our business, we have a daily pop-up e-meeting. This gives us an opportunity to address the priorities of the day, discuss any concerns, and stay on the same page – even while we all work from our own homes.

Let Your Team Work Autonomously

Let your team function as independently as possible. Has this time uncovered weaknesses in your delegation methods? Do you rely on popping into another’s office, leaving a post-it note on their desk, or sending them an email? These delegation styles kill productivity and autonomy on your team. Further, they are wholly ineffective in remote work.

Instead, introduce a system to communicate tasks efficiently, with information and due dates in a way that allows your employees to own their days. If possible, we highly recommend a system separate from phone calls or emails. In our business, we assign tasks through our Contact Record Management System. We try our best to allow at least 24 hours on all tasks so our team can work it into their schedule. This gives them more control to be proactive – not reactive – when moving through their days. And it allows us to check on employee workloads and status of pending tasks without interrupting each employee.

What other systems should you revisit? Ask one of your Initiating Follow-Thrus to create or design those systems. Do you need help learning new technology? Lean on your Initiating Implementor to help the team better understand how to use technology.

As you learn more about your team’s strengths and preferences, you can lead them more effectively – even in remote workplaces. If you would like us to help you through this process, email us at team@illuminateba.com.

* Gallup