6 Strategies on How to Engage Remote Employees
On the one hand, employees reported higher productivity, increased morale, and better communication.
But then there is the reality. Once the honeymoon period is over, how do you engage remote employees to keep them happily employed in your company? Beyond that, how can your company continue to reap the benefits that accrue from a productive remote workforce?
Pew Research reported in 2022 that when the pandemic was over 60% of workers in jobs that can be done remotely say that they would prefer to work from home all or most of the time. On the plus side, they are enjoying a greater work-life balance and feel more capable of getting the job done. Then there’s the 40% who don’t want to work from home, and even for those who do, there are downsides.
The Inherent Risk in the Remote Model
Harvard Business Review reports that while businesses have seized the opportunity to broaden their talent pool and increase their flexibility, there are social risks that companies can’t afford to ignore.
Among them are increased levels of loneliness, and isolation. Burnout is no small issue, either. Yes, work-from-home employees have greater control over when they work. However, this can be a double-edged sword with today’s always-on technologies.
In fact, remote employees find themselves working longer and harder without the rewards that come from office camaraderie and over-the-cubicle chats with co-workers. They don’t even have a decompression time afforded by a commute.
When workers feel overworked, this can lead to disengagement. It’s the last thing you want for any employee, but it’s even more detrimental for remote workers since, without that face-to-face contact, it can go undetected. There are fewer opportunities to pick up on the visual cues that employees offer when you ask “how’s it going?” Indeed, remote workers may not feel the same sense of loyalty as they would if they worked in the office.
Yet, remote work isn’t going to go away. Today, the challenge is how to engage remote employees and keep them productive for the long haul.
Strategies on How to Engage Remote Employees
All employees, whether they are office-based, hybrid, or remote, can benefit from well-designed retention strategies.
Check out our top 10 here. In addition, your remote workforce may need additional strategies to address issues that, although perhaps not unique to them, impact them more.
Here are six strategies to ensure that your remote employees stick around.
1. Enforce Sustainable Work Habits
The highly touted increase in productivity was a hallmark of remote work during the pandemic. But this could actually be a warning sign that employees are on the fast track toward burnout.
A Microsoft survey indicates that in the year following the start of Covid-19, meeting times have increased by 148%, emails by 40.6 billion, and the number of people working on collaborative documents by 66%.
Sure, some of this frenetic activity has to do with remote work, but “doing stuff” does not always equal greater output. In fact, it could be a sign of inefficiency. At the very least, it’s what happens as workers try to do more to prove their worth by being always on and always available. It may take some creativity, but companies can and should respect and enforce breaks and sensible work habits. GitLab, for example, uses virtual coffee breaks which allow employees to chat together on a video call.
2. Provide Opportunities to Network
When workers are remote, they may miss out on opportunities to network across the company. Those chance meetings and hallway encounters no longer happen. Consequently, networks are getting smaller and the move toward dismantling silos that we saw in the previous decade is all but disappearing.
Some employees will seek networking opportunities beyond the workplace by joining LinkedIn or alma mater groups, pursuing community and volunteer activities, or even spending time in co-working spaces. Still, it’s important for companies to provide remote teams with more opportunities within the organization to keep them engaged. The company can do this through virtual affinity groups, classes, cross-functional teams, and coordinated volunteer activities in the community.
3. Make the Physical Office Space More Enticing
Most remote workers need to come into the office from time to time, particularly if they work a hybrid schedule. The office should be an inviting space with plenty of areas for collaboration.
It’s good to include comfortable rest areas and accommodate nursing moms, exercise, power naps, and more. Every office is different, of course, and not every company has expansive facilities, but a facilities planner can help optimize the space and make it a welcoming place.
4. Supercharge Your Onboarding Processes
A lackluster onboarding experience gets remote employees off to a shaky start. In addition to equipment and software, onboarding employees need support using the technology effectively, finding the right resourcing, accessing documents, and understanding the quirks of the culture.
Don’t assume that just because you have a Gen Z employee, you can plug them into the platform and walk away. While they may fully understand the technology and be fully functional when it comes to performing the job, they may also need the human connection that is missing from a Zoom meeting.
Find ways to facilitate the establishment of personal relationships in person.
5. Keep the Virtual Doors Wide Open
There are plenty of creative ways to collaborate and work together via technology. Every encounter shouldn’t necessarily be about work. Plan virtual coffee breaks, happy hours, games, birthday celebrations, or even non-work-related classes.
It’s not just about peer-to-peer contact. Remote employees need to feel included by their managers. This is particularly important when their managers aren’t physically available.
In-office employees can always talk to their manager even if it’s just a five-minute chat in the hallway. These chance encounters are important because they afford employees and managers an opportunity to connect and air concerns. Make an open-door policy a deliberate and demonstrated part of your communication strategy.
6. Get Interested in Your Employees
It takes very little time and energy to get to know more about other employees. What are their passions? What do they do in their time off? What do they value? What causes do they support?
When employees know that you’re interested in who they are as people, they feel more engaged and committed to you and to the mission of the company.
One way to open up a value-based dialogue with employees is by providing a corporate giving platform like Groundswell.
Groundswell makes it easy for your company to embrace the causes that are important to them. The platform provides a tax-advantaged personal giving account to employees. Your company can contribute matching funds or even sponsor employee volunteers. It establishes charitable giving as an employee benefit, attracting and retaining values-driven talent with a perk that matters.
To learn more, contact Groundswell.
Unlocking Philanthropy: A Ready-to-Use Corporate Giving Policy for Modern Businesses
Sample Corporate Giving Policy You Can Use Today
In today’s socially conscious environment, more companies than ever are recognizing the value of corporate philanthropy. Not only can a robust giving policy boost a brand’s image and reputation, but it can also play a pivotal role in community development and global betterment. If your company is considering the establishment of a formal corporate giving policy or refining its existing strategy, this sample policy might be the perfect starting point for you.
Pillars of a Strong Corporate Giving Policy
Corporate giving programs range from employer donation matching programs to full blown corporate social responsibility programs with grantmaking and volunteerism. Many companies find somewhere in the middle that aligns with their size, budget, geographic presence and most importantly company values and commitment to diversity and inclusion. But what truly makes a corporate giving policy stand out? Let’s delve into the key features, from donation matching to the strategic use of platforms like Groundswell.
1. Donation Matching: Doubling the Impact
One of the most effective tools in a giving policy is donation matching. This is where companies match employee donations to eligible non-profits, effectively doubling the contribution. Such programs not only amplify the impact but also motivate employees to participate, knowing their chosen cause will receive twice the support.
2. Charitable Stipends: Encouraging Employee Choice
Charitable stipends are allowances given to employees to donate to a non-profit of their choice. This not only encourages a culture of giving but also empowers employees to support causes they’re passionate about. The stipends can be a fixed amount annually or can vary based on the employee’s role or tenure.
3. Dollars for Doers: Volunteering Translated to Contributions
“Dollars for Doers” programs convert volunteer hours into monetary donations. When employees volunteer their time for a cause, the company makes a donation equivalent to the hours spent. This fosters a culture of hands-on involvement and ensures that both time and money are being donated to valuable initiatives.
4. Corporate Grants: Sowing Seeds for Bigger Change
Beyond individual employee contributions, companies can set aside a dedicated fund for corporate grants. These grants can be given to non-profits, research initiatives, or community projects that align with the company’s CSR objectives. Such grants can lead to substantial, long-term changes and foster strong partnerships with community leaders and organizations.
Why Choose Groundswell for Your Giving Initiatives?
Incorporating these elements into a giving policy requires streamlined management, transparency, and ease of execution. This is where platforms like Groundswell come into the picture.
Groundswell offers an efficient and affordable solution for companies aiming to elevate their philanthropic endeavors. Here’s why it’s the ideal choice:
- User-Friendly Interface: Groundswell’s platform is designed for both companies and employees, ensuring smooth navigation and straightforward donation processes.
- Versatility: Whether it’s donation matching, handling charitable stipends, or managing corporate grants, Groundswell offers solutions tailored to each company’s unique needs.
- Cost-Effective: Groundswell provides a comprehensive suite of tools at competitive prices, ensuring that more of your money goes towards the cause rather than platform fees.
- Transparency: Track donations, monitor employee involvement, and generate detailed reports to measure the impact—all in one place.
An effective corporate giving policy is a blend of structure, employee engagement, and impactful contributions. By incorporating elements like donation matching, charitable stipends, “Dollars for Doers,” and corporate grants, businesses can create a ripple effect of positive change. And with platforms like Groundswell, executing these initiatives becomes not just feasible but also highly efficient and cost-effective.
5 Tips to Boost Engagement & Impact on Giving Tuesday
Leverage GivingTuesday to boost generosity
Every November, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as GivingTuesday, which often serves as the unofficial start of end-of-year giving campaigns. This comes on the heels of holiday shopping deals on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. It is a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring millions to lean into the end-of-year holiday spirit with generosity and compassion. For many charities, GivingTuesday has become their biggest day for donations – and can help resource their ability to have an even greater impact in the year ahead.
For companies, GivingTuesday and the end-of-year giving season offers an opportunity to double down on their commitment to social responsibility, strengthen relationships with employees, and boost their impact in the community and broader world.
At Groundswell, we partner with companies all across the country to design and launch GivingTuesday campaigns – leveraging our easy-to-use platform that makes it easy for employees to participate and send donations to the causes and charities that they care most about. Below are some best practices to boost engagement and inspire generosity during the giving season.
1. Make Giving Easy:
A lot of giving platforms out there make it incredibly hard to donate. Some don’t have all 1.5 million IRS-approved charities listed. Others require employees to navigate through a web of intranet or sharepoint sites to find the giving program landing page. And others require that HR is notified of any donations an employee wants to make. At Groundswell – we are committed to removing all of the friction, and ensuring that employees can find charities easily, through a platform that is accessible from the palm of their hand, so they can give whenever they want to.
2. Launch a GivingTuesday Match Campaign:
Through Groundswell you can customize and launch a special GivingTuesday match campaign in a matter of minutes. Simply pick the nonprofits to include in the special campaign, select the start and end-date for the campaign, and then determine the match – 2x, 3x – along with any overall budget limits, then you’re done!
3. Boost engagement by involving ERGs:
Share nonprofit recommendations from Employee Resource Groups to provide inspiration around causes and nonprofits that matter to your employees. You can feature these nonprofits on dedicated ERG Corporate Spotlights and Campaigns that will be visible to all employees on their Groundswell dashboard.
4. Surprise (and Delight) Employees With A Gift to Give:
Consider sending a surprise “gift to give” to reward those already participating in your giving program (and to incentivize others to enroll). These gifts might be used to further maximize impact through the existing campaign, or to donate to other nonprofits your employees care about. Groundswell’s custom gift feature allows companies to easily schedule and send gifts with little to no administrative burden.
5. Level up with Volunteer Matching:
Groundswell’s Volunteer Matching program – sometimes known as Dollars for Doers – recognizes that some employees may not have funds to contribute, but have time – and rewards them in the same way. It’s an inclusive approach that invites everyone to participate in GivingTuesday, even those who may not be able to donate their own funds.
12 Employee Benefits Survey Questions Modern Companies Should Ask
In today's business environment, having the right and highest performing talent is more critical than ever. With benefits packages playing a vital role in these decisions, how can companies truly gauge their effectiveness? By initiating regular employee benefits surveys.
Scroll down for a free survey template below.
Let's dive in to the importance of asking the following questions.
Is our workforce satisfied with the current employee benefits package?
Gaining insights from "how satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?" can offer companies a quick pulse on the effectiveness of their benefits. A dip in satisfaction might signal a need for re-evaluation, especially if you're looking to maximize your budget.
How comprehensive are the employee benefits we offer?
Do employees feel that the organization covers a wide range of their needs? Asking, "do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?" can shed light on any potential gaps in coverage.
Are we showing true commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion through our benefits?
Are the company's efforts in promoting DE&I resonating? This can be gauged by asking if the benefits genuinely support diversity and inclusion. If they aren't, here's an opportunity to collect ideas directly from your employees.
Read more about how to make sure your giving program is equitable and inclusive.
Do our benefits reflect our company culture and values?
The question, "do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?" will highlight any potential discrepancies in practicing what you're preaching.
Are we catering to the needs of a remote or multi-location workforce?
With remote work on the rise, is the company adapting its benefits accordingly? It's essential to find out if employees feel supported, regardless of their work setting.
Would employees recommend the company based on our benefits?
This is an easy one to skip, but it's a great question to ask. See how influential your benefits package is for employee referrals. Determining if employees would advocate for the company based on its benefits can be a key metric for recruitment.
How do specific benefit categories fare?
By querying satisfaction levels across various benefits – physical health, social impact, mental health, financial health, and fringe benefits – can companies discern which areas are thriving and which need enhancement?
What additional benefits do employees desire?
Is there a particular benefit that could make a difference in employee satisfaction and retention? Discovering this can be as straightforward as asking, "if you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?"
If your workforce desires a more meaningful benefit, see why decentralizing your corporate philanthropy strategy can achieve greater impact at scale.
How often should I send an employee survey about our benefits?
While every business has their own set of unique needs, conducing a quarterly employee survey at minimum can help you get a pulse check.
There will be some natural and unplanned peaks in valleys throughout the year that can drastically affect employee morale and company culture. By proactively seeking feedback through surveys, companies can foster a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring they remain at the forefront of employee satisfaction.
What are some affordable benefit options we can provide employees?
Corporate matching or giving programs can be a low-cost addition to your benefit offering that supports your employees’ unique passions and perspectives through charitable giving and boosts your company’s commitment to social impact. Groundswell offers a comprehensive solution with a simple implementation and nearly zero administration burden.
- How satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?
- Do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?
- Do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?
- Do you feel our benefits package supports our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion?
- Do you feel our benefits package supports our remote or multi-location workforce?
- How likely are you to recommend applying based on our benefits package?
- How satisfied are you with our physical health benefits (i.e. health care, sick leave, etc)?
- How satisfied are you with our social impact benefits (i.e. corporate matching, volunteering, etc)?
- How satisfied are you with our mental health benefits (i.e. vacation time, EAP, etc)?
- How satisfied are you with our financial health benefits? (i.e. retirement, student loan assistance, etc)
- How satisfied are you with our fringe benefits and perks? (i.e. fitness subsidies, stipends, etc)
- If you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?