Since the pandemic, many companies have negotiated new rhythms for workplace productivity. While a number of companies are fully “back at the office,” there are many others that remain committed to remote work, or to allowing their employees some flexibility via a hybrid work option.
Remote work certainly offers many perks, and studies have shown that many employees prefer the flexibility that it provides. However, when you have employees who don’t work in the same physical space together, goals related to team building or company culture can be more challenging to achieve. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you seek to engage remote employees in your company culture.
Keeping Remote Employees Engaged with Your Culture
- Have your CEO or primary leader host a regular “coffee hour.” This is an approach that many companies have found incredibly effective. Schedule a regular, virtual “coffee hour” once every week or two, for maybe 30-minute blocks. Your CEO or primary leader should host this event, taking the time to introduce new employees, to share big-picture strategic updates, and to take questions from team members. This can be a great way to ensure that remote employees feel like they are in the loop.
- Ensure that company leaders are highly visible. It’s important for managers, supervisors, and other primary decision-makers to lead by example, even in a remote or hybrid environment. That means turning cameras on during Zoom meetings, promptly responding to instant messaging, and being intentional about reaching out to check in on employees.
- Provide ways for remote employees to receive ongoing professional development. Here’s where HR can play a direct and active role in engaging remote employees. Develop online learning opportunities that can allow all employees to cultivate new skills, without the need to travel to a workshop or seminar. Also ensure protocols are in place to recognize employees who complete these programs, or who have other notable workplace achievements.
- Allow remote employees to take the lead. Here’s a tactic that’s simple yet incredibly effective. Nothing helps employees feel invested in an institution or a culture like placing them in charge of a project or a team. Engage remote employees by providing them with opportunities for leadership and autonomy.
- Prioritize one-on-ones. As we’ve noted before, one-on-one check-ins are invaluable. Make sure you are consistent in scheduling one-on-ones even with remote employees.
- Be open to continuous improvement. Culture is never static; it should be constantly reappraised, iterated, and enhanced. That’s doubly true of remote culture. Be willing to acknowledge when things don’t work (e.g., virtual happy hours, ineffective collaboration tools) and to find new ways to engage your remote personnel.
Create a Culture Where Everyone is Engaged
Every business benefit from having a robust and inclusive culture. Use these tips to ensure that your culture is fully accessible even to your remote employees. If you would like to learn more, we recommend the following resources: Unprecedented: Building a Multi-Generational Business on Trust, Respect and the Valuing of People; Remote Work by Chris Dyer and Leading to the One by Bob Borcherdt and Nicki McLeod. Please reach out to Chuck Cooper at WhiteWater Consulting with any questions, don’t hesitate to contact WhiteWater Consulting at your convenience.