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Cultivating Employee Engagement in the Era of Remote Work

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Updated on November 16, 2023

Mobilization has always been a key challenge for companies. With the shift to remote work, they will need to make it an even bigger priority.

Since the hybrid work model—combining on-site and off-site work—is here to stay, companies need to think about what defines them and how they can create a welcoming and stimulating environment for their employees, even when they are working remotely.

What can companies do in the current environment to attract engaged employees who will embrace their organizational culture? Here is a four-step guide that will help you get there by leveraging your organization’s strengths.

1. Take the time to review and reassess your company’s culture

The first thing to do is ask yourself key questions about your company’s values and experience. For example:

  • What is your mission?
  • What are your values?
  • What is your management philosophy?
  • What are your HR practices?
  • What kind of activities is your company involved in?

Next, ask yourself if your company truly embodies all these values and ways of action and remains committed to upholding them. Organizational culture needs to evolve to adapt to the changing needs of customers and workers. You also have to ensure that day-to-day life at your organization genuinely reflects your mission and the values you promote in your brand image.

If you “sell” a new employee a certain vision of your organizational culture but the reality turns out to be completely different, there is a strong chance the employee won’t identify with what you initially promised them. You don’t want to be spending human and financial resources on an ineffective onboarding process, especially given the ongoing shortage of workers.

2. Identify your differentiators

Make a list of the things that set you apart from the competition and define your company’s DNA. This can include things like:

  • Working conditions;
  • Work environment;
  • Management practices;
  • Relationships between colleagues and managers;
  • Activities and celebrations.

Set aside a few hours to meet with your most senior employees and try get a sense of why they stay with you. They have the potential to become your best ambassadors and help you craft an employee experience that aligns with your current culture and DNA.

Finally, make a list of the things that make your employees decide to leave your organization and review your HR management practices with the right diagnosis and a survey of your organizational climate.

3. Review your new employee onboarding practices

The importance of effectively integrating new employees is all too often overlooked. However, onboarding is a key part of the employee life cycle that can make or break a new hire’s loyalty and mobilization. An employee’s first experience at the company—how they are welcomed, meeting their manager and the first impressions they take away—will define how engaged or disengaged they will be toward your organization.

Don’t underestimate the impact of a thoughtfully prepared and well planned out onboarding process. If you use the hybrid work model, you should do as much of the onboarding as possible on site at the office in the presence of colleagues. Afterwards, training activities related to the position or organizational matters (workplace health and safety, policies and regulations, tasks and procedures, computer tools, etc.) can be completed remotely.

Find personalized ways to welcome new employees and nurture a sense of belonging with their new team. For example, your team can organize an introduction ritual for new hires by inviting them to lunch, send out a welcome email introducing new employees to the group, or by offering them a chance to discuss. These are just a few ideas. Be creative and find an approach that is unique to your own organizational culture.

4. Promote contacts, get managers involved and create events that convey your company’s culture

Fostering a shared organizational culture in a hybrid (on-site and remote) work environment comes down to three essential components: The first is developing an environment grounded in solid relationships and a spirit of learning.

The second is mobilizing work teams to build a strong culture and promote employee engagement.

The third component is fine-tuning the foundations of your organizational culture. For example, this can mean being more engaged in social causes.

Managers play a vital role in achieving this. Without their involvement in the transmission and integration of your values and organizational culture, and without their commitment to creating a sense of belonging among new hires, you will find it difficult to build engagement.

Your managers are key players when it comes to fostering good relationships between employees in a hybrid work environment. They are the catalysts for projects that bring together different employees and they lead the successful integration of remote staff.

Whether you are trying to optimize your performance or meet client needs, working on a meaningful project together helps build team spirit and a sense of belonging to the organization.

Once you have succeeded in attracting employees, don’t miss your opportunity to foster their engagement. Help them transcend the distances created by technology and embrace your company’s culture by leveraging your greatest assets: your core values and humanity.

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