“Keeping a high touch with employees fosters the engagement, loyalty, and satisfaction that directly contributes to a healthy company culture and ultimately to the health of a company’s success.”
For the first time, many business owners may find themselves needing to communicate with employees working remotely. For businesses with more than one location, keeping geographically distant teams and employees engaged with company missions and goals has always required extra effort and is an ongoing mission. However, even these businesses may struggle to foster cohesion.
So whether your business is new to the remote workforce or a seasoned business with multiple locations, we have seven suggestions to help you engage employees across multiple home offices or business locations.
One of the best ways to bring employees together is sharing a common purpose. When every employee feels their goals align with the company’s goals, they have a greater sense of belonging. An employee’s focus adjusts to achieving not only their goals, but also those of their team. Employees working towards a common goal are more likely to achieve company goals, no matter how big or small.
Even without the distraction of a global pandemic, simply posting a company’s vision statement has little impact on its culture. Sharing beliefs and values with new hires exposes them to the company culture. But exhibiting deliberate expressions of these statements, beliefs, and values puts weight behind the words. Especially now, business owners should highlight examples of those who “walk the talk” of company beliefs and values.
By creating pathways for information to move to and from employees, companies can further boost engagement. The more mechanisms for interaction your company offers (both formal and informal), the better off you will be when in-person interactions are at a minimum. Internal newsletters, discussion boards, regular virtual team meetings, or employee town hall webinars all serve as opportunities for information sharing. Yearly reviews are going by the wayside, and live feedback is proving more effective. Regular team and one-on-one meetings provide employees a chance to engage in two-way conversations that fix issues in real time for future success.
As a result of COVID-19, many businesses are utilizing more and more virtual meeting spaces such as Zoom or GoToMeeting™ to help keep communication “human” and personal; however, video-based meetings are not new. If you maintain several physical locations or “hubs,” you know how much time and money video conferencing can save.
Recognizing employees and sharing their successes continues to build engagement and foster comradery. Some examples include recognizing long-tenure employees or creating a format for employees to recognize their peers for accomplishments large and small in a public format.
We encourage Standard’s Teammate Award Recognition (STAR) Program, which allows our associates to nominate their peers, at any time, for a job well done. The benefit of this program is that ANY associate can be recognized for going above and beyond, even when they don’t know others are watching, because great accomplishments are not limited to big projects. They happen every day in the most ordinary of tasks.
Collaborate employees with new hires to help conduct orientations, train, or become mentors. This collaboration engages employees to contribute to the overall culture of a business. In addition, finding opportunities to survey or request input from employees on potential workplace changes empowers them to have a voice in shaping their environment—whether virtual or in-person.
Employees who give back to the communities where they live and work gain a greater sense of pride and belonging through their involvement. Individuals allotted time to volunteer for organizations that are important to them also fosters goodwill in the company’s name within the community. When a business organizes opportunities for employees to participate in group volunteer work, that sense of pride extends to the place of employment as well.
As a community bank, this is especially important to Standard Bank and is part of our mission. Employees are encouraged to get involved and give back to the communities in which we live and serve via coordinated events through our “Helping Hands Program.” The bank supports and promotes an annual employees’ fundraising program to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation®. These activities require a commitment of time by our employees, but represent a valuable opportunity for personal and professional development as well as to promote collaboration.
Demonstrating the importance of the health and well-being of employees cannot be understated. Employees need to hear from owners, leadership, managers, and other coworkers that they are part of an organization that cares about their welfare. But just as importantly, they need to see concrete examples of this in practice. How a business demonstrates their care can range from HR policies that permit vacation donation to those in need, opportunities for mental health self-care, hosting appreciation luncheons for a team completing an especially arduous project, or any other ways that show that the holistic well-being of employees matters just as much as the quality of their work performance.
At Standard Bank, we are committed to and promote a caring workplace where our employees feel like a family: a Corporate Family environment. Throughout the year, our Corporate Family is celebrated through treats, surprises, activities, and other thank-yous. This initiative remains a priority at Standard Bank because it forges important, collaborative, and supportive connections among associates.