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How Employee Engagement Drives Productivity of Remote Workers

How Employee Engagement Drives Productivity of Remote Workers

In early 2020, the pandemic and ensuing lockdown forced many organizations to change the way they work. Offices were closed and remote working became the new norm. Much to the surprise of employers everywhere, the performance, productivity, and efficiency of the workforce increased drastically. Employee satisfaction was also found to improve.  

Fast forward to 2021, organizations are now encouraging work from home out of choice and not a necessity. 

47% of companies will allow their workforce to opt for full-time work from home and 78% of CEOs agree that remote work is here to stay, according to a PwC survey

To make this work, businesses must create an employee engagement strategy to boost the productivity of remote employees. In this blog, you will learn why an employee engagement strategy is necessary and how you can create one tailored to your organization’s requirements. 

What is Employee Engagement? 

Employee Engagement is the commitment an employee has to an organization and its objectives. An employee who is passionate and enthusiastic about their job work towards accomplishing organizational goals with sheer will and commitment.

They strive to do their best and look at challenging situations with a positive outlook which adds to the company’s culture and value system.  

Importance of Employee Engagement for a Remote Workforce 

Remote work is not a new concept. The corporate world was well aware of this for a very long time but the remote work model was adopted slowly due to fear of disruption.  

In 2015, a study was conducted by Nicholas Bloom and John Roberts where a few people in a group were allowed to work from home, and the others from the office. The segment of people who worked from home showed an increase in their productivity by 13%. 

Importance-of-Employee-Engagement-for-Remote-Employees

Due to the pandemic, the remote work model is now getting widely accepted. Earlier, Americans spent 5% of their working time at home and by spring 2020 it was 60%.

Most of the workforce has started to prefer working from home and the advantage of doing so is beneficial both for the employees and the employers. Businesses can save up to $10,000 in real estate expenses per employee and boost remote workforce productivity by 20-25%. 

Since remote work is getting more popular and it is good for business, it only makes sense to invest in methods that make remote employees more engaged at their work. However, there is a huge gap and companies need to design remote work employee engagement strategies in such a way that it ensures long-term success. 

How does employee engagement increase productivity? 

Employee engagement and productivity are closely related. An engaged employee understands their responsibility and goes the extra mile to do their job. They put in extra effort whenever they can and have no complaints in doing so. The organization needs to keep its employees motivated and enthusiastic. 

How-does-employee-engagement-increase-productivity

According to Gallup, having a highly engaged workforce results in a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity. A well-engaged business unit in an organization shows a 24% lower turnover rate. 

So, when there are so many benefits in having an engaged workforce, organizations must start investing in employee engagement strategies to drive the productivity of the remote workforce. 

5 Employee Engagement Strategies to Increase Productivity of a Remote Workforce

  • Create Active Communities 
  • Encourage Employees to Express 
  • Set Clear Deliverables 
  • Build a Learning Hub 
  • Enable Self-Guided Learning  

1. Create Active Communities 

Even the most efficient employees can get confused and overwhelmed when they start working remotely. This is due to a change in their environment. The social barrier created between them and their colleagues causes emotional distress.

To help your employees stay healthy and active in a remote setting, deploy the best communication and collaboration tools like Zoom, Microsoft teams, Slack, or Yammer. Create forums and virtual teams for weekly collaborations.

Create-Active-Communities

These collaborative tasks could be professional or fun activities. It will encourage employees to stay connected with each other, blurring the social gap. Another example is water cooler breaks where employees can have conversations with each other and make new friends. All these things can create a more pleasant environment and this will reflect in their work and productivity.

2. Encourage Employees to Express 

In a remote work environment, employees communicate with one other using conferencing tools like Zoom, or Google meets. In these sessions, the person who talks is usually the managers, heads of the department, or leaders. They communicate the goals and objectives of the organization, to motivate the workforce.  

Empower-Employees-to-Express

This may not always work in motivating them since employees can feel disengaged if they are not encouraged to speak freely. If your organization is big, create small groups and hear out each employee and gather feedback from them.

During these sessions, take note of what they say and try to act on it. This will help the organization overcome communication gaps and create a sense of belonging among the workforce. 

3. Set Clear Deliverables 

Most organizations set OKRs and KPIs to track and measure the impact an employee has created and it works in traditional settings. But when they work remotely, these KPIs may not be very accurate. Organizations need to define new units for measuring the success of the workforce.

Set-Clear-Deliverables

Leaders can have weekly calls with their teams to learn about the status of their deliverables and try to find solutions for the hurdles the team faces. You can also create separate channels within Microsoft Teams or Slack for managing deliverables.  

Employees depend on each other to finish their job and setting deadlines for each of them can help keep track of the progress. You can project management tools as well but we will still suggest setting open communication channels for immediate updates. Create protocols to avoid any kind of spillover at the last moment. It helps keep things in check. 

4. Build a Learning Hub 

In remote work, a major hindrance in productivity occurs when employees are unable to clarify their doubts. It can be because employees are hesitant about approaching leaders to clarify their doubts. View this as a cultural problem and not an employee problem.

Build-a-Learning-Hub

A culture where employees are encouraged to bring up any issue without making them feel judged can completely fix this hindrance. Create a knowledge hub that has all the content that an employee will need and answers to frequently asked questions. Employees must be able to access this knowledge hub at any point in time.

Have a single central hub that is easily accessible by any employee at any time. Alternatively, a mini-repository of information can also be placed within an application that employees might be using for the first time and might need help understanding. 

Wondering how to achieve it? 

Well, you can use a Digital Adoption Platform to create workflows that guide users through complex software. All these workflows and other learning content can be housed in a help deck within the application, in any format.

This tool is both easily accessible to employees and a comprehensive guide to master the software. You can also place links for different forums in that repository so employees can ask questions and get their doubts clarified.

5. Enable Self-Guided Learning  

Organizations are investing in new technologies and applications which are making the modern work environment more dynamic. As a result, employees are undergoing several training programs to adopt new technology and processes. 

Self-Guided-Learning

However, this training will not be fruitful to generate immediate results as employees take time to absorb knowledge. The ideal option would be to enable self-guided learning which can bring employees up to speed immediately. 

Rather than wasting time and resources with traditional training, self-guided learning will boost their morale and keep them engaged in their job. It will help them focus on their real job rather than getting drained out by live online training that goes on for weeks. 

6. Use the latest communication tools

Since the onset of the pandemic, business communication has taken a massive blow due to a lack of in-person communication. This has caused a lot of disruption in the overall functioning and productivity of employees.

Using a mix of the latest video conferencing tools like Zoom, BlueJeans, Google Meets, etc. and presentation tools like visually appealing free PowerPoint templates can help make up for the lost employee engagement and also enhance their productivity from a remote workspace.

How to improve employee engagement - Deploy Proactive Analytics  

There are two ways to measure employee engagement using analytics tools. One way is to track every click and impression of the employees and the other is to align their tasks and objectives with business outcomes. 

According to Daivat Dholakia, Director of Operations at Force by Mojio,

“Taking a proactive approach to productivity is the best way to improve it. When companies monitor employees’ computers for minute-to-minute engagement, it doesn’t paint a full picture of their actual work ethic. It also creates a sense of surveillance that could be off-putting to many employees.” 

Both methods can be beneficial for the organization but continuous monitoring compromises the employees’ privacy and doesn’t tie back to the business outcomes. On the other hand, when the business objective success rate is measured or predicted using an analytics tool, it helps form a complete picture of each employees’ contribution to the goal.

It is important to know how employees are achieving the objective, how long it takes them to do so, and how many are doing it correctly.  

Measuring every click, keystrokes, and movement of the employee is pointless as there is very little real value in this data. With a Digital Adoption Platform like Apty, you can create objective funnels to track the progress of employees’ activity and to see whether they followed the designed process or not.  

It helps you see the drop-off rate and completion rate at each step. For instance, If an employee is using a CRM platform and they have to create a new opportunity by filling the forms and saving the details.

Now with Apty, you can define the path the user should take to open the opportunity tab and then define all the important fields that must be filled. With this information, Apty will guide employees through the process, ensuring task completion. 

You can analyze the usage of the process with a Digital Adoption Platform to find the success rate. If the results are not on expected lines, the admin can create an announcement within the application to notify users and launch a walkthrough from the notification window.  

Apty guides users from one step to another, even between two different web applications s and helps them complete the process. The data validation tool will help employees enter data in the correct format. It not only ensures compliance but also boosts workforce engagement without micro-managing their every move. 

Drive employee productivity with Apty

Originally posted on August 10, 2021

Krishnan Kaushik
Written by Krishnan Kaushik

Krishnan is a Marketer and Content Crafter. He has an in-depth understanding of Digital Adoption, Transformation, and Enterprise applications that helps business to generate business outcomes. In his former life, he was an IIoT & Automation engineer. You can find him trying new recipes, riding a bike, and wondering about the most complex object on the face of the earth i.e Human Brain.

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