With all of this talk about engaging employees, I was curious about how organizations are engaging remote employees, like those in the healthcare industry who travel frequently to visit patients. Remote employees are not able to be a part of the day-to-day culture of their organization’s environment; they don’t have a manager or supervisor in the office down the hall, and they are not able to bond with their coworkers or grab a coffee to vent about a difficult day. How are managers keeping these types of employees engaged? Let’s take a look.

 

Electronic Devices

If you are not using any type of online media to interact with your staff, the chances of them becoming disengaged is probably much higher. A phone call or two is nice, but if an employee is visiting a patient at home, an email might be a more convenient method of communication. While email messages sent from a desktop or laptop computer have always been the norm to reach employees, the new norm includes using Smart phones and tablets to text, face time and instant message staff, so that we can communicate at the click of a button (or, swipe of a screen). So, if your employee is not meeting with a patient, perhaps a text message or face time meeting might be more effective. Using any or all of these methods (at the right time) are useful for engaging your staff. It builds trust and conveys a message that you’re taking the time to check in and see what they need. You’re showing them that you respect their time and care about their work.

 

Social Media

Let’s not forget about social media. It, too, plays a very big role in engagement. As a manager, there are several ways you can socially engage staff who don’t have the ability to be in the office every day. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Virtual meeting rooms – create a dedicated space your staff can use for anything from spontaneous conversations to information sharing. For example, Slack is a wonderful social media app created for teams to meet and even share files.
  • Live chats – use social networks to host a live chat discussing hot topic issues of importance to your team or organization. Include upper management in the chats to increase engagement.

 

Professional Development

Finally, one of the biggest ways to engage your staff – whether on site or off site – is by encouraging their professional development. Time and time again, I read feedback on employee satisfaction surveys that clearly demonstrates a need for professional development in order to increase engagement. Employees want to develop so they know they’re making a meaningful contribution to their organization and to the communities they serve. Whether you have employees who are on site or off site, investing in an online training system greatly helps with both engagement and professional development for many reasons.

  • It’s a huge time and money saver for employees who can’t make it in to the office to sit at a computer to take training, or to attend a live training, not to mention the amount of time saved for the training administrator.
  • With an online learning management system, your live trainings can be videotaped and uploaded into the system so that employees can take them anytime, anywhere.
  • You can upload your own PowerPoint trainings, too!
  • Required compliance courses can easily be assigned and tracked.
  • Staff can self-enroll in elective courses, providing them with a sense of ownership over their own professional development.

 

How do you engage your off site employees? Are you currently incorporating electronic devices, social media and opportunities for professional development into your strategy? Share your thoughts below!