3 Tips for Keeping Remote Employees Engaged

  • 20 Jan 2021
  • Posted by lmoeser
Throughout the pandemic, more and more companies have pivoted their workforce to a mostly-remote working environment. As companies have come to realize they are still able to function efficiently in a remote environment, many have decided to keep their workforces working remotely on a permanent basis beyond the pandemic. But a fully remote workforce may have you wondering how you’ll be able to keep employees engaged. Employee engagement, regardless of where or how your workforce is operating, is a major key to the overall success of a company and the satisfaction of your employees. Consider the following tips to keep your workforce engaged in a remote environment:

1. Engage employees through multiple avenues
When it comes to employee engagement, it is important to recognize that everyone has different preferences and comfort level when interacting with co-workers. Consider the different personality types you have on your team. Offering different types of engagement opportunities will help you appeal to the entire workforce.  

Some ideas for different types of engagement can include:
  • Staff meetings on your preferred virtual video platform to connect face-to-face, simply to socialize, or even offer a give-away to employees
  • Themed contests where employees can send in submissions and vote on their favorite such as “best work from home set-up”
  • Incorporate fun into regular meetings that are held such as wear your favorite sports jersey or wear a funny hat
  • Create a space for co-workers to offer compliments or praise for a job well done to others through a company newsletter or intranet
  • Have a themed Friday for employees to send in photos, i.e. Purple Friday
  • Send your staff a gift card to purchase lunch of their choice
  • Set up a virtual “coffee break room” before work hours for employees to join when they wish to connect
2. Create opportunities for frequent engagement
To keep employee engagement momentum going throughout the year, be sure to create opportunities for employees to have some fun, interact with each other, or feel appreciated often. An employee base that feels engaged with the company they are working for will be more productive and have more job satisfaction. Consider organizing opportunities for engagement at least once a month or once a quarter.
3. Obtain feedback and insight through conversation and online employee surveys
A critical part of employee engagement is giving employees the ability to feel heard throughout the organization. Seek feedback from employees through conversation as well as online employee surveys. This will provide the opportunity to learn what your company is doing well, what employees have enjoyed from your engagement efforts, and allow them to offer their suggestions on ways to improve or add engagement opportunities that they might enjoy. There are plenty of ways you can gather feedback, and for free! Use programs like SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, Crowdpurr, or Poll Everywhere.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to employee engagement! Consider your company culture and what resonates with your employee base when determining your engagement strategy. Don’t be afraid to try new and creative things as you navigate your engagement in a remote working environment.

*The information contained herein is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute financial, tax, or legal advice. The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Howard Bank and are solely the opinions of the author.


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Virtual Onboarding Tips

  • 09 Nov 2020
  • Posted by lmoeser

Onboarding has always been a key component of the success of a new employee. A company only has one chance to make a first impression once someone joins the team. Traditionally, onboarding is done in-person and includes an orientation with Human Resources, a tour of the new office, a series of meet-and-greets with various teams or colleagues, and perhaps some initial training!

Many companies have faced challenges this year with pivoting onboarding practices to a virtual format or a combination-approach. Human Resource teams have learned many tips and tricks to ensure onboarding can still be a success in a virtual environment. Consider the following tips below:

1. Define, align, and communicate the first day/week.
When you have a new hire, your HR team must establish a start date and begin planning what the first day and week will look like. Onboarding a new employee is a team effort between human resources, hiring managers, IT and security departments, as well as others in the organization. Defining roles and expectations will guarantee a seamless onboarding process. Once roles and responsibilities have been defined, it is important to make sure everyone involved in the process knows exactly how they will contribute to your company’s onboarding success. Aligning internal expectations will help make sure that all involved are familiar with the technologies and systems used, along with any additional resources needed for success. While the HR team leads the charge in the overall planning process, hiring managers should outline and communicate a plan for training in a remote environment. Communicating a clear plan of what the new hire can expect on their first day, what they need to bring or send to you, who they will be meeting with that day, and what technologies may be used will help the new hire properly prepare, reduce confusion, and encourage a positive experience.

2. Provide a warm welcome & communicate.
Starting a new job in a new company can make even the most confident of candidates feel nervous or anxious at times. And starting a new position in a virtual environment can be even more challenging! Consider sending a new hire a welcome package to their home with a personal note and some branded merchandise to make them feel excited and welcomed to the organization. Help to break the ice by scheduling meet-and-greets to introduce the new hire to the team they will be working with. Notify your team, who may also be working mostly remotely, that you have a new team member joining the organization and invite them to extend a welcome to your new hire.  

3. Check-in with new hires frequently.
Checking in with new hires frequently goes a long way. It provides the new hire an opportunity to communicate any additional needs and helps to define areas for improvement for future onboarding exercises. HR should plan to touch base with the new hire after 90 days to gain feedback on what worked well during their onboarding experience and where there might be an opportunity for improvement. Based on the feedback provided, common themes might suggest process adaptations. Checking in also helps new hires to feel connected while in a virtual environment. Beyond the onboarding period, it is always best practice for hiring managers to schedule rhythmic check-ins and yearly performance reviews. 


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6 Virtual Hiring Tips

  • 07 Oct 2020
  • Posted by lmoeser

The year 2020 has been a year of learning and adapting in many ways for businesses large and small.  In March, many companies pivoted to remote working environments and began to learn what the “new normal” would be for the foreseeable future.  Among many challenges, companies have had to figure out how to navigate their hiring practices in a virtual world.

Hiring professionals have faced hurdles such as being able to continue to connect with job seekers virtually, keeping candidate pipelines open as well as engaged, glitches with technology during online interviews, and ensuring that the hiring process still feels like a personal and positive experience.

Virtual Hiring Tips

Through these challenges, a great deal has been learned regarding the keys to success in hiring in a remote world.  Consider these key components as you continue to shape your company’s virtual recruiting and hiring process:

  1. Personal Connection

In a world of video chats and conference calls, ensure your hiring process continues to have the personal connection it used to have when recruiting was an in-person process.  Ensure the candidate feels valued and comfortable during phone conversations or video interviews.  Many job seekers may feel apprehensive about being visible on video interviews, so try to make them feel at ease through conversation and your online presence.  This will allow for a more authentic view of who the job seeker is and what skill sets they can bring to your team.

  1. Communication

Strong communication has always been an important factor in the recruiting process but it is now more than ever.  Hiring professionals should ensure that the recruiting process and expectations are clearly outlined for the candidate so they know exactly what to expect.  Frequent touch points and updates throughout the hiring process will ensure the candidate feels engaged and interested in the opportunities your company has available.

  1. Technology

Technology is a great tool to be leveraged, but it’s important to ensure that you’re using a platform that has proven to be conducive to successful virtual interactions such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or WebEx.  In addition, hiring professionals should ensure that all parties understand how the technology works.  Hiring managers should be well-versed in using the technology and candidates should be provided step-by-step instructions on how to use the platform your company has elected to utilize as a reference.  Setting both hiring managers and candidates up for success from the beginning will ensure a smooth virtual interview process each time and will make a big impact in identifying the right candidate for your opportunity.

  1. Employer Brand and Company Culture

During a normal recruiting process a candidate typically gets to experience the physical office environment that they will be working in if they’re selected for the opportunity as well as the company culture in the office setting.  This is a chance for the employer to showcase what they have to offer - whether it’s a modern workspace, amenities the company offers, or just the atmosphere or vibe in the office.  While recruiting practices are being conducted remotely, it’s important that your company’s website and team members that the candidates are interacting with truly embody and promote the company brand and culture.  The candidate should come away from the experience with a good understanding of the company's brand promise, mission, vision, and overall culture. A great way to accomplish this is to ensure your company website is strong as well as boosting your online profiles on popular job sites such as Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com.  Candidates may look to these sites for reviews on your company and this is a great way to solidify the culture you have conveyed throughout the recruiting process.

  1. Employee Safety

2020 has proved to be a very trying time for many people and employee safety among the ongoing pandemic has been a top priority and focus for companies.  During the virtual recruitment process, hiring professionals should clearly articulate what steps the company has taken to ensure the health and safety of its employees. Whether the company is operating completely remotely or having employees report into a physical office space, this a great time to reveal the transparency, culture, and character of your company.  Key topics to highlight are how your company has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and what your company continues to do to keep employees safe.  This is an opportunity to have honest conversations with candidates about any challenges your organization is facing and how you’re overcoming these challenges.  These discussions will help candidates feel at ease when deciding to join your organization.

  1. Feedback

One thing most can agree on is that this year has been a year of adapting and learning.  As you navigate recruiting and hiring in a virtual environment, feedback on the candidate’s and hiring manager’s experiences are more important than ever.  Seek feedback from all who are involved in the process and work to make improvements based on the feedback received.  Touch base with new hires frequently as they are beginning their employment with your company and learn of ways to improve their new hire experience. The more adaptive and creative you become, the better the experience will be for all who are involved.

The recruiting and onboarding experience is a key component of a new employee’s happiness and success working for your company.  Navigating and adapting to the remote hiring world will ensure you are hiring top talent and key contributors to your organization!

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