A lot of emphasis is placed in the HR world on recruiting the best talent possible for your company. This is of course a great start, but keeping your best employees that you have spent time building up and possibly even training is just as important.
What we’re looking at here essentially are ways to keep up remote employee engagement. The reasons why it’s important to retain and engage your employees are multifold, and range all the way from reducing costs to having improved productivity and culture. Any HR department, founder, or manager worth their salt will look to implement strategies that make your employees actively want to stay. The costs involved in not doing so can actually be much higher than you think.
If you take a look at your company’s turnover rate (the percentage of employees that leave over a certain period of time), you can see how well you’re performing at keeping your workforce engaged.
Of course some industries have higher rates than others, but you can get a general idea from labour reports available from your national statistics organization (U.S. Bureau of Statistics for those in the USA). The cost of an employee leaving your company is in fact valued at about 1.5 – 2 times their annual salary, and this is made up of a few different factors:
- The costs associated with the hiring process and interviews
- Onboarding and training
- Having a vacant position, which is associated with a reduction in productivity
- A loss of knowledge in how the company works that is built up over time
- Reduction in employee moral as valued members leave
And these are just to name a few! While you might expect most of the cost to come from hiring, in fact it’s estimated that only a third of the real loss stems from this. These other more difficult to measure factors are in fact making up the bulk of what you lose. So, to effectively make sure you keep your team members onboard, it’s a good idea to implement strategies when you look at how to manage remote employees. This will all help to keep everyone motivated, engaged, and happy.
Structured and Personalized Onboarding
Let’s start right at the beginning with the onboarding process. It’s just as an important part of retaining your employees as what happens later on. The way you enter a new remote job and the first impressions you get stick with you, and shape a lot of your relationship to come.
A personalised onboarding process, tailored to the needs of each new starter is the best way to help reduce your turnover rate. In fact, employees are 69% more likely to remain at an organization for over 3 years if they go through a structured onboarding process. Creating this process is a whole other article in itself (check here for more info!), but just know that it’s important in keeping employees at your company. They get a great introduction to the company culture and can acclimatise comfortably.
Allow for Asynchronous Collaboration
The ways that we communicate in a remote company are a lot different to the world of the office. A lot of us are in different countries, and working in different time zones. It’s one of the most common virtual team challenges. There’s almost always some flexibility expected in exactly when we work too.
To put it short, we can’t always be available and on demand exactly when somebody else needs. How does this relate to retaining your employees? Well, people like to have their opinion heard and feel part of the decision making process. If you don’t allow time for people to communicate asynchronously, then you might find that some employees feel left out. A policy of not allowing decisions to be made in under 24 hours, so that everyone gets the chance to contribute, can help to stop this.
Feedback should always be welcome, even from the last person who sees the topic. Good use of Google Drive, Dropbox Paper, or even plain old email threads will help everyone feel like they get to have their say. There are rules for most other kinds of remote team activities, so make sure your comms and collaboration have some too.
Increase Company Transparency
Having greater transparency in a company is always going to help build up a cohesive feeling for all employees. Transparency can be a bit trickier in the remote world when so much can happen without you being there to see. It’s a real virtual team challenge.
The more that everyone on your team knows about the company’s performance, how decisions are made, and any changes to your company vision and goals, the more they will feel a part of the family. In person company retreats are obviously a great way to do this, but we don’t all have the luxury of being able to run them.
Simple things like regular all-company video-call meetings will also go a long way to becoming more transparent. Running positive and constructive feedback sessions early on with a new employee and regularly throughout their time with you can help them know where they sit in the company as well.
Provide Personalized Benefits to Employees.
When you run your feedback sessions, try to find out what is motivating each person. For some it’s financial gains from working overtime, for others it’s more about developing professionally and getting promoted, or just finding the space to connect with others. It may be simply that your remote employee wants to learn more and train.
You can use this information to then personalize the benefits that you offer, and trust us… the list of benefits are huge! Think about wellness breaks, home-office devices, days at a coworking space, productivity tools, and even paid educational courses of their choice. When an employee feels that they have been thought about and tailored to, they are much more likely to stay with you for the long run.
Improving Retainment Is a Key to Happy Employees
Just like any company, people will come and leave as their priorities and goals change. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t help encourage and fulfill their needs and aspirations in your own company. Everyone at the end of the day wins. Your employees feel happy, fulfilled, and engaged working with you.
Your company keeps on knowledgeable and skillful employees, and also saves on costs associated with finding new talent. Stick to our strategies and we’re sure you’ll begin to build longer lasting and productive relationships with your whole team.