Narrow the Cultural Divide in your Organization

5 ways to engage remote employees

Remote working is fast becoming the norm in American companies. A Gallup survey conducted in 2016 found that 43% of us spend at least some time working remotely. This can have enormous benefits for organizations and companies. These include:

However, there are also some distinct disadvantages. These include that:

  • People may feel isolated as face-to-face interaction is lost
  • Communication can be more difficult, with some meanings misinterpreted
  • Management of workers can be more time-consuming, with monitoring of work a difficulty
  • With little supervision, it is easier for people to fall into bad habits, and productivity can decline over time

Many of these difficulties come as a direct result of cultural differences and a lack of strategies to keep remote workers engaged. These five strategies will help you as a leader to engage your remote employees, realizing the benefits and eliminating the disadvantages.

1.    Hold regular one-to-ones

Take time to speak with each employee every day. It doesn’t have to be a long or deep conversation, but it should show that you care about them and value the work they do for the organization. Don’t meet with an agenda. Keep the conversation natural, as you would if they were standing next to you in the office.

2.    Engage their mental capacity

Give your remote employees something to think about. Help their creative juices flow by asking questions, and seeking their advice and input to project work. Ask them how their work is progressing, and what problems they are encountering. Ask them, too, if they have any tips or tricks that they could share with their colleagues: this helps to reinforce the feeling of being a valuable member of the team.

3.    Show your appreciation

Just as you would with employees in the workplace, recognize the efforts and results of your remote employees. Do so in digital team meetings, via your intranet forums and noticeboards, and in your one-to-one sessions. Make sure that you reward progress in every employee’s work and personal development.

4.    Use strategies to build trust

Many organizations now employ talent from around the world, with people working digitally, in different time zones and with different cultural values and beliefs. It’s imperative that you build trust in a globally remote organization, using appropriate communication channels, methods, and techniques.

Integrate high-level emotional intelligence with the following three-step process to resolve cross-cultural misunderstandings:

  1. Understand the communication style of different cultures
  2. Understand that there will be differences in cultural value
  3. Develop effective communication style

5.    Provide the platform to encourage remote collaboration

Communication is key to building teamwork and collaboration. You must provide the platform to enable collaborative communication. Provide the tools and encourage people to use them by using them yourself. Hold weekly team meetings on conference calls, and a virtual lunch – send each of the participants a lunch of their choice to consume during the meeting.

Communication is your key to boost engagement

You’ll notice that each of the above engagement strategies has a common factor: effective communication. And at the heart of effective communication is emotional intelligence. Contact Forward Focus today to discover how an Emotional Intelligence course will develop and embed the communication skills needed to engage your remote employees.

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