INSIGHTS & INTUITION: How does your organization keep remote employees engaged and active in culture initiatives?
Our primary efforts include frequent one-to-one, manager-to-employee conversations – whether face-to-face or via video or email – along with monthly in-person safety and informational meetings for each remote work group.
We also publish a twice-weekly company newsletter (which includes videos), broadcast quarterly livestreams from our president and hold annual employee townhalls.
And every member of our executive team is partnered with a remote work group that they visit at least twice a year.
With all the changes taking place in our industry, we strive for consistency in communications.
Director, Human Resources and Safety
Otter Tail Power Company
Fergus Falls, Minn.
Staying true to our value of enthusiasm, we at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota focus on continually building a supportive remote culture from the ground up.
We’ve invested in video technology to allow face-to-face connections during meetings, we have open chat rooms, and when possible, we offer remote workers the same opportunities to participate in events as onsite employees.
Last but not least, we periodically send surprise care packages to remote employees with things such as T-shirts, giveaways and gift cards.
Our remote employees also have organically built a supportive network to help each other navigate their unique employee experience.
Director of Human Resources Operations
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota
With more than 150 team members spread among three offices and working remotely in 23 states, Stoneridge Software understands the importance of building culture over distance.
One of the most important things to consider with remote team members is choosing and using the right communication tools. We use many modes of communication including email, instant messaging, Microsoft Teams and video calls – all which expedite the relationship- and trust-building process.
We also insist on weekly department meetings where all are expected to participate by sharing their “personal” and “professional” best for the week. This intersection of what’s important to each person both at work and home reinforces a culture of friendship and fun in addition to competence and professionalism.
Chief People Officer
Noridian is headquartered in Fargo, but we have 650 remote workers spread across 44 states. That is 42 percent of our workforce!
Keeping remote workers engaged is challenging. Our onboarding program lays the groundwork for engaging remote staff, connecting them with the information, tools and resources they need. But keeping them engaged really comes down to taking the extra effort.
- Be intentional. Carve time out to share personal interests and build relationships; keep consistent team touchpoints with meaningful and effective agendas; send a quick Skype message just to say “Hi” and check on how things are going.
- Be available. Set “free” time on your calendar, respond to Skype messages and promptly return phone calls. Don’t create a culture where the only time remote employees hear from you is when you deliver bad news or an increase in workload.
- Recognize their value. Send them hand-written notes, include them in employee focus groups, and seek their input during meetings.
- Foster a sense of purpose. Physical distance can create an “us versus them” feeling, so we work hard to promote inclusion through our words and actions. We emphasize that we all work toward our goal of delivering solutions that put people first. We are each part of the solution.
Manager, Human Resources
Noridian Healthcare Solutions