How to keep remote employees engaged
With COVID resulting in the majority of the Australian contact centre industry working from home for the foreseeable future, there’s never been a more important time in learning how to keep remote employed engaged.
It wasn’t that long ago that when a business moved, all the valued employees were forced to uproot themselves, their family and their lives if they wanted to stay with the business.
Or they left.
This can have a negative impact on employee morale as well as a loss of experience that can have a devastating impact on the business.
But these days not all is lost.
Having remote call centre employees (an option pre COVID, not so much now) can go a long way toward preserving valuable employee relationships and provide increased WFM capabilities to manage peaks and troughs.
Here are some tips on how business owners or executives maintain employee engagement when talent is located halfway across the country, across the road or on the other side of the world.
7 Tips on how to keep remote employees engaged
1. Agree in advance on the best form of communication
Although email is the most widely used form of communication, for speedy answers nowadays co-workers, managers and executives are virtually conversing with one another in a variety of new, innovative and efficient ways.
Communication channels such as SMS, WhatsApp and not forgetting the telephone for quick yes or no answers are also an acceptable form of business communication (also refer to point 3).
Some of the latest Hosted PBX call centre solutions also provide built-in communication tools.
2. Keep in touch
Once you’ve agreed on a form of communication with your remote employees make sure you schedule regular times to keep in touch.
Remember, just like you would adapt your communication style in-person to suit different personality types, you should also choose the communication channel that best suits each individual.
Some people will love jumping on a Zoom, others will prefer SMS etc so found out what works best for each employee – it’s not one size suits all.
Ensuring communication is easy and accessible is the key to allowing them to still feel part of the company and that you appreciate their contributions to the company.
3. Use Virtual Meeting platforms
Make it easy for your remote employees to get involved in your company by allowing them to attend and participate in company meetings over a virtual platform.
There are many virtual meeting platforms available, many for free.
From consumer-based platforms such as Facebook, Google Hangouts through to business/enterprise-grade solutions like Zoom, Yammer, Chatter or Tibbr it can be just like having someone right next to you (without the smell!).
4. Popularise Group Collaboration
Don’t forget your remote employee just because they are not in the office on a regular basis and make sure they still participate in group projects.’
Out of mind, out of sight is the enemy here.
Working together as a business generates a higher and profitable output for an organisation helping you all reach a common goal and this can still be achieved online.
5. Give Opportunities for Growth
This can be tied in with virtual company meetings and group collaboration. Increasing your remote employee engagement will allow you to better visualize how they work with others to improve your company.
Delegating specific tasks and responsibilities to remote employees gives them a stronger sense of purpose and will, therefore, improve their loyalty and the quality of their contributions to your company.
6. You can still meet ‘In Person’
Just like you would for an on-premise worker, make sure you still schedule online dedicated meetings where your sole focus is the call centre employee.
By doing this it not only demonstrates your commitment to them but also shows them they are a crucial part of your team.
It also shows that you care about them individually and that they aren’t just a number tossed in among your company statistics.
7. Don’t stop coaching
Almost all cloud contact centre software enables remote monitoring, screen share and even ‘whisper technology’ so the Team Leader can provide real-time voice feedback to the agent whilst they are on a call.
In short, all the options are available to provide coaching just like the call centre agent was in your workplace.
But wait, there’s more!
8. Have a Company Blog
Having a company blog is a great way and is becoming more and more popular with businesses and consumers taking on the internet to find goods and services they need.
They are not just there to generate web traffic but is also considered as a great way for individuals, including remote workers to gauge the values, service and opinions of the company.
9. Use a Knowledge Management Platform
No one likes not having all the answers and when you are working remotely it can be difficult to ask the colleague sitting next to you, especially if it is your pet cat or dog!
Of course, compliance, quality and being efficient are all important and a Knowledge Management System will ensure your agent has all the right information and support at their fingertips and this can be a big factor in keeping the employee engaged and remaining with your business.
So before you let one of your most valuable assets disappear across the horizon, consider offering them the option of remote working.
And then follow these tips to keep your remote employees engaged.
You and your business will be rewarded by their continued success.