How To Keep Remote Workers Engaged in a Virtual Team

Picture of Ben Aflalo
Ben Aflalo

Head of Product at Gloww

tips for engaging employees

If you’ve made the move to remote working, you need to understand how to engage employees virtually. Traditional employee engagement activities might have worked well in the past, but they’re probably ineffective at striking the right note with remote employees. 

Rather than cut your losses, you should be rethinking your approach to employee engagement entirely. After all, employee engagement is vital for promoting your core values and developing a healthy remote work culture. Do your engagement initiatives need reassessing? Read on for a rundown of the employee engagement best practices you need to know about. 

What Exactly is Employee Engagement? 

In short, employee engagement is all about letting your employees feel like you care about them. Employee satisfaction is crucial if you’re worried about staff retention rates and productivity levels. 

Engaged employees are more likely to develop healthy habits and a better work-life balance. This is a real motivator, encouraging employees to take more ownership and accountability. When you boost engagement, the result is better internal communication, team members who consistently deliver, and a more streamlined operation. 

The Importance of Remote Employee Engagement

More and more businesses are using technology to embrace hybrid and remote work models. Sadly, some companies have failed to adapt their remote employee engagement activities accordingly. 

Employee engagement is arguably more important when you’re relying on remote workers and virtual teams. In fact, engaging remote employees is vital if you want to overcome the unique issues posed by the virtual office. When you engage remote teams, you give them the confidence to reach out to colleagues and managers. Virtual employee engagement empowers a remote workforce so employees can comfortably complete their assigned tasks with you having to micromanage.

When you improve employee engagement, you also benefit from an upswing in retention. While remote working positions have many advantages, it can be hard to strike the right work-life balance. Unsurprisingly, turnover rates can be fairly high for a business that depends on remote team members, but fails to create opportunities and keep those remote employees engaged. 

The more you engage remote employees, the more efficient and productive they’ll be. Engaged employees feel more connected with their organization and are generally more accountable. This in turn benefits your customers. The more effort you invest in employee engagement ideas, the better your employees work in delivering first-rate service to your client base. 

Company culture doesn’t have to suffer because you are working remotely. Whether it takes the form of virtual team meetings, employee recognition, or development opportunities, engaging remote employees helps instill company values into every last member of your workforce. 

Virtual Employee Engagement Best Practices 

Engaging employees remotely can be challenging, but it’s easier than you think to adapt to a virtual workspace. Read on for some of the most important best practices to bear in mind when engaging a virtual workforce

Set and Communicate Clear Expectations

Good employee engagement starts with onboarding. Before starting work, your employees should know exactly what’s expected from them and how their individual contributions align with a wider team and the organization as a whole. When you set clear expectations, you’re creating accountability and encouraging a sense of ownership. If you’re exploring remote working for the first time, the usual objectives might not apply. Reach out for employee feedback so your existing teams can share their input. 

Don’t Forget to Celebrate the Little Wins

Even if you’re a remote-first company, never overlook the importance of human interaction. Chances are, your remote working culture will need a shot in the arm in this respect. An easy way to boost employee morale and engage your teams is to go out of your way to spotlight every win, no matter how small the victory. 

When you celebrate employee contributions, you’re letting your teams know they’re appreciated. Single out individuals during team-building activities or virtual meetings. If a particular team or department has done well, give them a shoutout during a larger virtual meeting or quarterly progress event

Get Remote Teams Talking 

Remote employees have many ways to keep in touch. However, email chains and instant messages only go so far as a substitute for human interaction. If you want to really engage your employees, you need to explore and be an advocate for other communication channels. 

Make sure you’re bringing the personal touch to regular meetings and video calls. Kick off a weekly progress meeting with a few icebreaker games to encourage quieter members of your team to contribute. Alternatively, make your online interactions more social by hosting virtual happy hours or online lunch sessions

The more comfortable remote employees feel talking to each other, the more likely they’ll be to reach out via other channels when they really need help. What’s more, this goes a long way in making remote workers feel less isolated, improving mental health and eliminating the chance of burnout. 

Remote Employees Are People Too 

Remote workers need to feel valued and empowered. If you’re investing time into forging strong relationships with your teams, you’re not going to get the best out of them. While key performance indicators and productivity monitoring are important, your employees also need to feel like they’re valued as human beings. Make a point of hosting virtual birthday shoutouts to connect with direct reports on a personal level. 

Promote Your Core Values at Every Opportunity 

Your organization’s core values should shape every aspect of your business. The onboarding process should give new hires a firm handle on these core values, but you need to actively live them if you want your teams to be driven by them. 

If managers can’t easily list an organization’s core values and mission statement, there’s little chance that entry-level employees will be able to. When communicating company values, be consistent. You should also look to incentivize and reward employees who continuously demonstrate these values in their work.

The Best Activities for Employee Engagement 

Need some pointers for engaging a virtual workforce? Below are just a few of the ways you can engage and empower your remote teams:

Virtual Team Trivia 

Online trivia sessions are an easy way to keep remote teams entertained and engaged. You can add a brief burst of trivia questions to a weekly meeting or organize entire sessions for fun-filled Friday afternoons. Gloww offers a huge range of ready-made trivia session templates for you to choose from, all of which can be personalized to your liking. 

How to Engage Employees Virtually

Team Happy Hour 

If social interaction is sorely lacking from your virtual workplace, a team happy hour is the way to go. With Gloww’s team happy hour template, you have all the tools you need to get your remote employees talking. Let your employees get creative with digital whiteboards, test their knowledge with trivia quizzes, and give much-deserved shoutouts to top performers. Looking for a more casual take on online happy hours? Try a virtual coffee morning instead. 

Virtual Holiday Party 

Are the holidays approaching? Just because your teams can’t be together in person, doesn’t mean they can’t celebrate the festive season in style. Whether Christmas is just around the corner or you’re looking toward Halloween for an online get-together, Gloww has plenty of party templates for you to choose from, such as our festive Thanksgiving team activity

engage employees virtually

Friday Team Building 

Give a productive working week the sendoff it deserves with a Friday team-building session. Gloww’s Friday team activity template lets your employees come together and have some fun. Play around with word cloud games, test everyone’s gray matter with taxing trivia, and more.

Virtual Music Activity 

Music brings people together. Gloww’s virtual music team activity is perfect for engaging employees and encouraging some much-needed bonding time. You can break the ice with music trivia, spice things up with match-the-song game and artist games, and more. 

virtual employee engagement

How Can I Engage Virtual Employees with Gloww? 

Finding it hard to maintain employee engagement now you’ve made the jump to remote working? Rather than let productivity levels slip and your company culture suffers, it’s time to give your engagement initiatives a rethink. Fortunately, engaging a remote team isn’t particularly difficult. Provided you set clear expectations, remember to celebrate the little wins, and encourage open lines of communication, you’ll have no issues maintaining high levels of engagement. 

Wondering how to create a seamless remote employee onboarding experience, or virtual training ideas? We’ve got you covered. Also, check out how to manage remote teams, and how to spice up your online presentation to stay on top of current trends.

Searching for the perfect platform for employee engagement activities? Gloww has all the tools you need to boost employee morale and retain your talent for longer. From virtual onboarding to team-building sessions, everything you could possibly want is at your fingertips. Get started with Gloww’s ready-made templates today or explore our pricing plans to learn more about our advanced features. Do you have a question? Get in touch with the team. 

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Picture of ben aflalo
ben aflalo

Ben Aflalo heads Gloww's product team with over two decades of leadership experience. Passionate about leveraging innovative technology, he is committed to building products for the greater good.

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