According to GitLab’s recent Remote Work Report, out of companies around the world that allow remote work, one in three has a 100% remote policy that allows employees to work in their local time zones. Thanks to advancements in technology, it’s becoming more feasible and convenient to hire skilled employees across the country or even the world.
While remote capabilities have made it easier to recruit workers outside your company’s local area, retaining these valuable staff members requires thought and effort. Keep your remote employees engaged and invested in their work by following these impactful remote employee retention strategies:
- Provide clear expectations and objectives.
- Maintain open and consistent communication.
- Recognize your remote employees.
- Foster connections between employees.
- Create opportunities for professional growth.
- Encourage feedback from remote employees.
- Offer a workplace giving program.
Beyond serving as a sign of great company culture to potential workers, effective remote employee retention is much more cost-effective and efficient in the long run, saving you the costs of hiring and training new staff members. This can be particularly helpful for nonprofits, which are often understaffed and have low budgets.
By implementing these strategies for retaining remote employees, you’ll be able to cultivate dedicated, fulfilled employees no matter where they’re located.
1. Provide clear expectations and objectives.
While Owl Labs’s annual State of Remote Work Report notes that two-thirds of remote employees feel more productive working at home than in the office, the key to harnessing this productivity lies in establishing expectations and objectives. Build a culture of accountability for remote employees—the more responsible and connected they feel to the impact of their contributions, the more invested they’ll be in their outcomes.
Maintain motivation and efficiency among your remote employees by:
- Defining objectives clearly alongside metrics and measurable results.
- Helping them determine day-to-day priorities.
- Educating them on the company’s core values.
- Asking for any feedback or questions related to expectations.
- Documenting expectations for future reference as needed.
Many remote workplaces offer flexible hours, where employees can either work a set amount of days per week or a set amount of hours per day, with no specific start or end time. In these cases, defining expectations and objectives upfront is crucial for helping your employees stay on track and work as productively as possible.
2. Maintain open and consistent communication.
With the rise of remote employment, there is an increased need for companies to develop strategies for effective virtual communication among teams. After all, without in-person meetings, there are fewer natural opportunities to check in with colleagues and share information.
In order to overcome the challenges of virtual communication, such as physical distance and lack of body language, it’s important to empower remote employees to communicate with one another. For instance, be sure to:
- Take advantage of video conferencing tools.
- Make it easy for remote employees to provide feedback.
- Schedule regular one-on-one check-ins with remote employees.
- Share significant updates promptly to keep remote employees in the loop.
At the same time, look out for the well-being of your remote employees by encouraging them to set strict boundaries around their work communications to avoid feeling pressured to check for messages during their off time. With remote employees putting in an average of 50% more overtime than those working in-office, it’s essential to help them prevent burnout by promoting a healthy work-life balance.
3. Recognize your remote employees.
Since your remote employees will typically not be available to receive in-person feedback or praise, it’s all the more important to build a comprehensive recognition program for your company. By standardizing recognition based on established values and priorities, you’ll ensure that every employee gets rewarded for their outstanding work. This regular appreciation can go a long way toward retaining remote employees.
Some popular methods for recognizing your remote employees include eCards, awards, and corporate gifts.
Employee recognition eCards
Essentially digital greeting cards, eCards are an informal yet creative and impactful way to recognize remote employees for their contributions to your company. With the right software, managers and leaders will be able to reach out to employees with branded, customizable cards to acknowledge a job well done.
Circa Logica Group, for instance, has created several achievement-based eCards for excellent teamwork and the like that all feature the option to include a personal message alongside the card image.
These eCards can be sent and received in a matter of seconds, making it easy to promptly recognize remote employees located anywhere in the world. This will facilitate more frequent appreciation and in turn, boost motivation among employees.
For a slightly more formal means of recognizing and ultimately retaining remote employees, consider incorporating recognition awards into your current strategy. These awards are accolades that can be given at intervals throughout the year.
For example, you might present an “Employee of the Month” award, or awards for certain milestones such as work anniversaries. Sending virtual certificates to remote employees can leave them with a lasting impression of appreciation from your company.
Gifts, whether for holidays or remote employee retention, are powerful ways to brighten someone’s day and show them that they’re valued. To strengthen your remote employees’ relationships with your company, consider finding opportunities to send them small, meaningful gifts to recognize their accomplishments and efforts.
Depending on your company’s resources and preferences, you can send gifts such as branded merchandise, gift baskets, or snacks to your remote employees. Or, you could partner with one of the numerous companies that facilitate corporate gifting, ensuring that every employee receives the recognition they deserve.
Looking for inspiration for your corporate gifts? Explore our complete corporate gifting guide that shares more than 170 exciting ideas that any employee will love.
4. Foster connections between employees.
According to a survey conducted by InComm Incentives, 59% of full-time employees feel less appreciated and connected to their team while working remotely. With limited face-to-face communication and in-person interactions, many remote employees may struggle with building relationships with colleagues that are necessary for collaborating and achieving high results. To address this issue, there are several measures your company can take, which include:
- Promoting peer recognition. Receiving positive feedback from peers can be just as important as being recognized by managers or company leaders. Therefore, encourage your employees to get in the habit of appreciating one another. For instance, you can make eCards available for anyone within your company to send as a form of recognition.
- Creating virtual breakrooms. Your remote employees don’t have many opportunities to socialize or catch up with their colleagues over non-work-related topics. To encourage them to create connections with one another, choose a short amount of time during the week for them to gather online and socialize.
- Arranging a company retreat or meet-up. A company retreat can be a valuable and memorable experience for your remote employees. They’ll not only be able to meet their colleagues in person, but develop a feeling of closeness and collaboration with them as well. This contributes significantly to retaining remote employees in the long run.
It’s crucial for remote employees to believe that, while they’re contributing to the company’s overall success, they’re surrounded by talented and inspiring individuals working toward the same goals. By overcoming physical distance and finding ways for employees to connect, you’ll cultivate a sense of investment and belonging within your company as a whole.
5. Create opportunities for professional growth.
Career development is an essential aspect of retaining employees over time, as it fosters loyalty and a drive for skills improvement. Many employees expect to grow within your company, and this is no different for remote workers. However, Buffer’s State of Remote Work report notes that 45% of remote workers believe career growth is more difficult for them to achieve, with 44% indicating that they wished their company provided clear career development opportunities.
With this in mind, review your company’s current professional growth opportunities and determine whether you need to make adjustments for remote employees. For instance, you can provide more dedicated networking and training experiences that will improve their skills, or even send them to relevant conferences to learn about current trends in the industry.
Additionally, consider implementing a mentorship program to address remote employees’ goals and challenges while working for your company. By understanding their aspirations more in-depth, you’ll be better equipped to help them progress and find fulfillment year after year.
6. Encourage feedback from remote employees.
Ultimately, to determine the effectiveness of the remote employee retention strategies you’ve implemented, you’ll need to gather input directly from your remote employees. Evaluate new and long-standing initiatives by sending out surveys for feedback. Some useful questions to ask include:
- Do you have a good understanding of the expectations and objectives surrounding your work?
- Which communication channels do you prefer?
- Do you feel supported and recognized by leadership and team members?
- How connected do you feel with your teammates?
- How satisfied are you with the learning and career development opportunities in your role?
Make a consistent effort to solicit this information from your remote employees to inform any improvements in your remote employee retention strategies moving forward. This demonstrates that you value their input and are dedicated to optimizing their experience with your company.
7. Offer a workplace giving program.
Bring remote employees closer to your company by allowing them to contribute to your corporate philanthropy initiatives and overall impact. After all, many people want more than just a sense of workplace community and success in their roles—they want their actions to make a meaningful difference in society as a whole.
By launching a corporate giving program, you’ll give remote employees a chance to support causes they care about, helping them feel more fulfilled at work. Consider offering these popular giving opportunities:
- Matching gifts: When remote employees give to eligible nonprofits, your company will match those gifts, typically at a 1:1 ratio. This means that employees will be able to double the impact of their donations, all at no additional cost. Depending on your budget, employee preferences, and goals, you’ll set specific criteria, such as the minimum and maximum gift amount you’ll match per employee each year.
- Volunteer grants: Volunteer grants are similar to matching gifts, except you’ll distribute funding to nonprofits where your remote employees volunteer. Typically, they’ll have to volunteer a minimum number of hours before submitting a volunteer grant request to your company. Then, your company will contribute a predetermined amount to that nonprofit.
- Payroll deductions: Automatic payroll deductions make giving easy for remote employees. Through this option, they can donate a percentage of their paycheck to a nonprofit of their choice on a recurring basis. These consistent contributions allow employees to build a direct connection between their work and social impact.
When engaging remote employees, it’s vital to have the right tools for creating easy, rewarding experiences that they’ll appreciate. For instance, to offer automatic payroll deductions, your company should leverage workplace giving software that has payroll integrations. Additionally, this type of platform can help you process matching gift and volunteer grant requests, as well as report on the impact of your giving initiatives.
It’s clear that engagement and appreciation are significant contributors to retaining your remote employees, whether you are a business or a nonprofit. Therefore, prioritize your company’s efforts toward building a culture of accountability and recognition. This will boost your overall reputation and produce a healthier, happier work experience for all of your employees, no matter where they’re located.
To discover more tips and best practices for maximizing productivity, fulfillment, and results among employees, take a look at these helpful resources:
- A Complete Guide to Employee Engagement + Top 10 Ideas. Learn how to measure employee engagement and get inspired with 10 compelling engagement ideas in this guide.
- Employee Engagement Software: Crash Course & 10+ Top Options. Does your company have everything it needs to successfully engage and retain employees? Discover how the right software can boost your results.
- A Complete Guide to Employee Recognition + Top 10 Ideas. Take your company’s employee recognition efforts to the next level with this in-depth guide to creating an employee recognition program.