With the rise of virtual and remote workers, organizations are paying more and more attention to how they can utilize this great opportunity to offer their employees more flexibility. However, just as important is keeping those same employees motivated and engaged as if they were in the office daily having one on one face time with their colleagues and managers.
As a remote worker myself, I can attest to the fact that the tips below work to keep me motivated and engaged during my workday. I should mention though that not everyone is cut out for remote or virtual work.
When I tell people I work from home, I’ve had countless people tell me “Oh, I couldn’t do that.” I think it’s true that some people are just not cut out for remote work. You do have to be self-motivated and disciplined enough to cut out the distractions. Additionally, it’s important to make sure you allow yourself the time to step away from work to take short breaks — perhaps get outside for a walk – as it will help you to reinvigorate your energy for the rest of your workday. If you just plop down in front of your computer screen for 8+ hours straight you’re going to drain yourself both mentally and physically.
Here are some of the top ways that you can motivate and engage your remote and virtual workers:
1. Establish Your Company Culture.
Be sure to communicate your expectations and company culture up front with your remote workers. You want to make sure that they’re a good fit for your organization and that they will be committed and competent to perform their duties. If you find that an employee isn’t cut out for remote work, give them opportunities to connect in person with their colleagues and leaders. For example, when I first started at GES I would go into the office so I could get to know who I was working with. It was important to establish those in person connections and get to know a little bit more about the company and culture before I began working remotely.
2. Keep in Touch Often.
It is so important to communicate often with your remote workers. Establish a meeting frequency that is best for your team and be sure to touch base on activities, deadlines and updates that they might require in order to perform their job best. Keep in touch daily via email and be sure to communicate very clearly and efficiently what your expectations are for work completion. Establish deadlines together and come up with an action plan on how they will execute their duties.
3. Opportunities to Grow.
Make sure to offer your remote employees the opportunity to learn and grow within your organization. If they stay sedentary for too long and aren’t developing new skills, they are likely to find somewhere else where they will. This can include formal learning opportunities such as eLearning, one on one training and coaching or work related courses/certifications that will teach them new skills. You can also send them to industry conferences where they will have the opportunity to keep their finger on the pulse of the industry and bring back relevant opportunities to implement in your workplace.
4. Give Them Challenging Projects.
Keep your employees motivated by giving them new and challenging projects. It will give them the opportunity to learn new things, and exercise their problem-solving skills in a new way. This will also help them to develop a new set of skills that they may be able to transfer into other parts of their role in your organization.
5. Recognize their Achievements.
It is so important for you to recognize and reward your remote workers for their great work! Recognition can take on many forms such as non-monetary recognition such as a verbal thank you or acknowledgement, or a peer to peer recognition note, etc. You can also recognize them with monetary rewards such as points to redeem in your total reward program, monetary bonuses or paid time off. It is important to recognize your remote workers in a personalized way that is unique to how they want to be recognized. For example, some employees would prefer to have extra vacation time over a bonus, or vice versa. Get to know your employees so you can personalize their recognition experience.
To learn more about what your employees want to keep them motivated and engaged check out the Top Company Perks to Consider for Your Talent.
You may have heard the term micorolearning being tossed around the learning and development world for the last couple years, and for good reason. Microlearning is essentially a method of teaching and delivering content in small, specific doses. In this type of learning, the learner is in better control of when and what they are learning.
The Benefits of Microlearning
In our high-tech society, it has been said that the attention spans of most people are dwindling. However, as an organization, learning is still so important for the growth and development of your employees, your business and your customer service. Learning providers face the challenge of delivering learning in a way that is accessible, digestible and most importantly translatable to a real-world environment.
Some of the benefits of microlearning include:
- Shorter lessons are easier for learner to complete with busy schedules
- Succinct content makes the information more digestible
- Reduced amount of time spent on training
- Increased retention because the learner isn’t getting too much information too fast
- Accessible content when and where it’s convenient, on any device
Is Microlearning Right for my Organization?
With busy schedules it’s getting harder and harder to take people off of the job for in person learning, not to mention the added cost and travel time. People want their learning content when and where it is convenient for them. Microlearning adds the element of time convenience in a high-tech, yet interactive environment that so many people desire.
By utilizing eLearning, your organization can provide a clear and consistent message to all employees across the organization. This can offer a high impact way to align your culture and messaging internally.
Global Engagement Solutions offers microlearning solutions utilizing our Layered Learning approach. Click here to learn more about our learning solutions and see them for yourself in action.
Your organization can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on training and developing your employees, but if you don’t put that learning into action, then your efforts will be in vain.
It is critically important that 10x the amount of time, energy and resources is spent following up and reinforcing learning and development, as is spent designing and delivering it.
What is Action Planning in Learning?
Action Planning is an application focused exercise for you to implement and discuss during your leadership meetings. Upon completing a learning session, the learner would develop an action plan on how to implement that learning in their workplace. The action plan would be sent to their direct supervisor and they would work together to create a plan and methods of accountability to put that plan into action.
How to Activate Change with Your Learning Program
Action planning is important to the development process because It creates momentum and motivation to put the learning into action. It creates accountability for both the learner and their supervisor because it’s a guide to how to implement the learning in your organization.
To successfully transfer learning from the learning environment to a real-life scenario, your focus must be on repetition and reinforcement.
Your learners must fully understand the content and competencies they have learned by repeating the content, practicing, drilling and rehearsing it in a safe environment.
We believe the key to great learning is retrieval. Being able to retrieve the content or the competency when you need it to make a difference with a colleague or a customer.
Once your learner is confident in their ability to retain and retrieve the content and competencies they have learned, create an action plan of how to implement that learning in the organization. It’s important for the supervisor to be directly involved with the action planning step. This gives the learner someone to be accountable to, while also making the supervisor accountable for putting the learning into action.
Here is an example of an action oriented microlearning program:
As you can see from the design above, each learning suite is developed to create repetition, follow up and reinforcement as well as accountability, tracking and measurement.
If you would like to learn more about how to implement a microlearning program in your organization with a focus on action planning, get in touch here.
Talent today aren’t going to stick around your organization and give you their discretionary energy and loyalty unless they feel they are being engaged, empowered and enabled in their role.
Most employees don’t want to just put in x number of hours a day in the same monotonous job. They want skills that make them more marketable NOW and in the future. They want to feel like they are learning and growing in their current role, and they want to feel like they have the skills and competencies to do a good job with their colleagues and customers.
We have observed that the new work order has changed, and talent is no longer trading job security for job loyalty. However, when you give them skills and development now and opportunities for growth in the future, they feel visible and valued, which translates into giving their discretionary energy and loyalty. Plus, when you develop your employees they are better enabled to serve both your internal and external customers and provide a better experience which can translate into more productivity and profits for your organization.
Millennials and Learning
Millennials especially are known for moving from job to job in order to expand their growth, salary and opportunities in their careers. A recent Gallup poll found that, “Millennials are more likely than both Gen Xers and baby boomers to say a job that accelerates their professional or career development is “very important” to them (45% of millennials vs. 31% of Gen Xers and 18% of baby boomers).” (Gallup, 2017).
Read more about What Millennials Want in the Workplace here.
Enable your Employees with Learning and Development
Hire for personalization, then train for hard skills. There is lack of soft skills now in the workplace, and yet these skills are ones that help to create exceptional experiences for your customers. Often times the hard skills that an employee needs to execute their role are trainable. Soft skills that focus on creating personalized experiences for your employees and customers include: being authentic, hospitality, empathy, competency, commitment, friendliness and fun! If you hire your employees for these sort of skills, you can usually train them for the specific tasks they will need to know on the job.
Commit to your employee’s development and be accountable for their learning. Have a plan for developing your employees. Communicate and discuss with them openly about their opportunities for growth and commit to a plan of action. Ask yourself, what specific efforts have been made to improve my employee’s personal and professional skills? The best organizations, the ones who have high retention, high recruitment and employee loyalty, engage and enable their talent with learning and development throughout their careers.
For more information on how to implement a custom learning program in your organization click here.