5 Strategies to Build and Engage a Remote Workforce
The events of the past few years have called for new ways of working with enhanced employee flexibility – one key area being the ability to work remotely or even internationally. This has also granted employers the ability to tap into the global candidate market and hire the best people potential with reduced geographical restrictions. But, whilst harnessing the power of dispersed talent creates significant opportunity for enhanced business performance and innovation, the remote working model isn’t without its challenges.
So, how can business leaders build and engage a dispersed workforce? Authority Magazine recently invited our Managing Director, Chris, to take part in their interview series exploring top strategies for navigating just this. From his experience of evolving Rippl’s own team to a remote model following the pandemic, here are his top 5 insights.
1. Culture-first approaches are a must.
The guiding principle behind successful remote workforces is engagement. Latest Gallup data proves teams in the top quartile of engagement see improved performance in all areas, from productivity to profitability. But importantly, engaged cultures are unique to every business and therefore extremely difficult to imitate — which is exactly what gives a business its competitive edge. This makes culture-first approaches to hiring and engagement strategies essential. Tapping into national or even international talent pools brings even better opportunity to connect with the best candidates. Aside from key skills, ensuring new hires are a strong cultural fit for the business is one of the most fundamental predictors of unleashing the full potential of a workforce. When the values and vision of the business is shared mutually by its people, a cohesive and purpose-led culture is created, which will only ever enable great things.
2. Technology is the greatest enabler – but when done right.
Secondly, growing and engaging a remote workforce relies on the right technology stack – and leveraging this effectively. We know that workforce connection can be compromised under a remote model, but when digital tools are adopted meaningfully and used as a force for good, they are key in restoring this connection and enabling remote or dispersed teams to be their best. I recommend businesses designate ‘owners’ within the business for each tool who will hold accountability for implementation, adoption and ongoing management to ensure they’re meeting teams’ needs. This creates an environment where technology is an enabler, not a barrier, for connecting and supporting employees. When teams feel connected, they are empowered to be their best.
3. The balance of accountability and autonomy.
Getting this balance right is crucial within remote business cultures. As outlined in Verne Harnish’s ‘Scaling Up’ book, leveraging accountability and autonomy at all levels will form the rhythm of meetings, ideations, strategy sessions and performance reviews promotes. This champions transparency and amplifies voices across the organisation and gives teams clarity on what’s expected whilst enabling them the freedom to determine how they meet their goals. Under dispersed or remote working models comes the absence of office brainstorms and coffee break conversations, so actively instilling accountability and autonomy is essential to building an engaged and, importantly, aligned remote workforce.
4 . Recognition.
Senior leaders and managers must visibly champion team achievements and progression – and regularly. Remote and dispersed teams need to feel like they belong, are contributing to a higher purpose, and that their value is seen and heard in doing so to bring their full potential at work. Outward recognition of contributions ensures this is maintained at all times. Importantly, recognition shouldn’t be exclusive to high-achievers or outstanding performance — there’s a multitude of good going on in each business every day, and so wins big and small should be celebrated. This not only supercharges employee engagement and loyalty, but creates a domino effect for others wanting to emulate the behaviours being rewarded.
5 . Trust.
The importance of trust cannot be overlooked. Building upon the first point of leading with a values-driven and cohesive culture, I speak from my own experience that as a remote business scales, as its leader you have to trust and depend on the people around you not only operationally, but as advisors for how its strategy needs to adapt, change and evolve during this growth. Of course, challenges and barriers will look different across various industries and geographies, so feedback and ideas from all levels is even more important when it comes to growing a top-performing, remote workforce.
Fancy finding out more? Read the full interview here.
To explore how Rippl can engage and empower your deskless or dispersed team, chat to us.