Engaged: Near or Far

Employee engagement is what organizations are focused on today and the success or failure to create an engaged workforce lies squarely between the manager and the employee. It’s been said that people join organizations but stay because of management. The factors that impact employee engagement can include:

  • Being treated with respect
  • Work – Life balance
  • The kind of work that people do
  • The quality of co-workers
  • The quality of leadership
  • Base pay
  • Providing a good service to others
  • Career potential
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • Benefits
  • Learning and development opportunities

Since the quality of all of the above listed aspects can mean different things to different people, managers need to engage their employees in a conversation about how they view where their employer sits with regard to these factors. That is how they can assess how their efforts to engage are going. While a manager may not be able to impact some of them, the conversation goes a long way toward making the difference in how engaged employees truly are.

But what if you are working with employees who are working remotely? Is it any different?

In working with managers who manage employees that don’t conduct their work in the office, I often hear about the challenge of creating strong connections with other team members and with other parts of the organization for the employee. The best manager’s ask themselves on a daily basis “What can I do today that will remove obstacles for my people and support their progress?”

What can a manager DO to facilitate an employee’s success?

  • C’mon People Now Get Together – Occasionally, get everyone together. Being in the same room allows people to interact in a way they can’t using technology.
  • See Me – Use video technology. Use Skype, FaceTime or any other video vehicle so tht people can see the face that foes with the voice they are talking with.
  • What Time Is It? – Create regular check-in times. Not for checking up, but for checking in. Ask about obstacles, progress, deadlines, and what’s needed by them as well as by others from them. Remote employees should be as accessible as they would be working down the hall.
  •  Celebrate! – Wins and successes always should be noted. Acknowledge and celebrate people’s efforts.
  • Rules – Create protocols and practices for communicating. Where to store documents and data so that others can access them, how often to update people, deadlines and expectations should all be known to everyone.
  • Connect the Dots – Connect what people are doing to the goals of the team, the department, and the organization on a regular basis.  People need to see a clear line between what they are doing, the customer, and the success of the organization.

If it doesn’t appear to your employees are engaged, think about what role you might be playing in that missed connection. Near or far – the manager is often the key connection that either engages or allows detachment.

When your employees see that what they do daily matters; that’s engagement. It won’t matter if they are down the hall, down the street, or in another state.

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