Remote work is here to stay. Whether your workforce is entirely remote, like 16% of modern brands, or you’re leveraging the new trend of hybrid work, you’re going to be dealing with distributed employees in one way or another.
Ensuring these team members are happy, supported, and engaged within your wider team is one of the most important things you can do to increase your company’s chances of long-term success.
Prioritizing employee engagement isn’t just a good idea from an ethical perspective. Increasingly, companies recognize that exceptional customer service starts with a strong employee experience. The more satisfied your agents are in their role, the more your customers benefit.
So how do you regain the engagement of your at-home workforce?
Step 1: Expand your Definition of Company Culture
Company culture isn’t just a buzzword or trending topic anymore; it’s a critical component for an employee when deciding on where to work. Unfortunately, many companies still assume “company culture” is a concept that has something to do with in-person interactions, modern breakrooms, and office happy hours.
The reality is your company culture needs to be incorporated into every interaction between employees, supervisors, and co-workers in your team. Your focus should be on developing an environment where everyone feels accepted, supported, and part of something larger. In 2021 during the Great Resignation, around 47 million people left their jobs looking for new opportunities with better pay, benefits, and company culture.
Work on your company culture by creating a sense of connectedness between your team through:
- Transparency: Use your wallboards and agent dashboards to provide insights into what’s happening in the business regularly, so remote agents don’t feel like they’re a world away from the rest of the team.
- Inclusion: Make sure everyone in your workforce has a chance to participate in meetings, collaborative experiences, and interactions, even if it means joining via video.
- Bonding: Create opportunities for team bonding with gamification or set up virtual coffee meetings where staff can get together remotely.
Step 2: Increase the Focus on Communication
Feelings of isolation are common in the remote working world and they can hinder the connection your employees have to rest of the team. One of the best ways to avoid this problem is to focus more heavily on consistent communication.
There are plenty of ways to upgrade your communication strategy to engage remote workers, from having video conferences to creating an instant messaging room where employees can interact during the day.
You can allow people to add notes to their workplace wallboard to keep everyone up-to-date about important events or milestones, such as birthdays or work anniversaries. A constant communication stream builds a sense of connectedness between the people in your team.
Encourage your team members to make the most of communication tools by actively scheduling chat sessions and video meetings when necessary. The more everyone gets involved with regular communication, the more naturally connections in your workforce will grow.
Remember, conversations don’t just have to be about work to be beneficial either. Sometimes, water-cooler-style chatrooms where people can talk about things unrelated to work are helpful for bonding.
Step 3: Treat Internal Service Like Customer Service
Finally, part of improving employee satisfaction and workplace engagement is ensuring your team members have access to all the resources and support they need to thrive in their roles.
In a customer service environment, you’d ensure your clients could take full advantage of your services and products by collecting data, following up with surveys, and offering immediate solutions to problems whenever possible. Take the same approach to support your employees.
Use dashboards to give supervisors insight into the employees who might need more help making the most of new technology or using different customer service strategies. Or access your analytics to determine what kind of training you should give your team next.
Follow up with your team through surveys and one-on-one meetings, asking them how you can support them better in a remote environment. Use these interactions to pinpoint reasons for productivity and engagement issues.
At the same time, make sure your employees have access to tools to fix their issues as quickly as possible. While support from supervisors and managers is great, you can also offer self-service bots and FAQ solutions so employees can fix common problems independently.
Win Back your Remote Agents
Remote agents shouldn’t be out of sight and out of mind. As the work-from-home trend continues to grow, there’s a good chance we’ll see a higher number of employees distributed outside of the standard office or contact center environment.
Implement the steps above so your remote agents feel like an important part of your team no matter what location they are in. The results should be improved retention, engagement, and performance.