Tips for Connecting with Remote Employees
As businesses hire more remote team members, helping employees feel connected to the company and engaged with a company brand is increasingly important, albeit challenging. Companies are hiring more remote employees; however, there is a learning curve to help remote workers connect with the brand and other coworkers compared to in-person workers. At Coastal, we have a large and growing remote workforce and actively work on employee engagement and culture.
According to Kelly McManus, Talent Acquisition Manager at Coastal, the most common experience remote workers miss is the social aspect of physically working in the office. “We can all agree that building strong connections is fundamental to maintaining a successful business. It’s important to incorporate connection building into your remote employee’s experience,” she said. McManus provided several activities the Bank is doing to promote social engagement.
Tips for Connecting with Remote Employees:
Use Microsoft Teams to create social groups for staff to connect with colleagues across the country.
“Allowing remote employees to connect with each other via platforms like Teams through shared passions and interests creates excitement, stirs participation, and generates a sense of belonging,” McManus said. “We have some fun Teams groups formed by employees that like the TV show ‘Survivor’, or that love cats, fantasy football, and more!”
Think outside the box when encouraging social interaction and having fun.
“You may join a happy hour or coffee chat in an in-person setting, and you can still do these virtually,” she said. “For example, we’re excited to launch a virtual chocolate tasting event soon. We are sending a variety of chocolate to the participating employees, and encouraging connections that foster getting to know one another and, of course, the chocolate. We are planning other events for different interest types, including a quarterly book club that anyone can participate in. The discussions help employees connect from all over the US differently. It’s been very successful and continues to attract more employee participants.”
Offer challenges that allow all employees to participate.
“We recently had a company-wide step challenge. We offered the ability to create teams that were very competitive with each other, and individuals could compete for prizes and bragging rights. More than 35% of our workforce participated, and many of us, including me, walked more steps than I ever have,” she said. “Some of our employees used the challenge as an opportunity to help successfully lose weight!”
Promote and provide open lines of communication.
“Managers should be available and responsive for employees when needed, just like being in person,” McManus said. “Whether it’s a quick question about a project or just checking in, let your employees know the door is always open. At Coastal, we encourage teams to have regular coaching sessions and team huddles to reinforce personal connections.” Additionally, McManus advised being open and honest with your team about management styles, setting clear expectations, and growth opportunities that will build trust amongst the team and allow employees to feel safe to share ideas and feedback.
While the Bank is still learning how to ensure our company culture is felt in our offices and homes, these implementations have been a great start for Coastal. What are some fun employee engagement ideas that your company has implemented?