The virtual employee has become a norm in business today. Whether you call them telecommuters, remote workers, or offsite employees, they’re here to stay. Businesses have found that offering virtual connectivity for employees widens the talent pool, helps retain good people, and increases productivity. But how do we engage remote workers and help them stay connected to the team and to the goals of the organization?
Here’s one way that Terryberry does it. About 20% of Terryberry’s workforce is virtual, working in satellite offices around the world. Yesterday, our company held one of our quarterly Town Hall meetings for all employees. Everyone attends. Onsite employees gather in the lunchroom, and offsite employees login and attend via webcam. During the meeting, the leadership updates staff on progress toward business objectives for the last quarter and goals for the quarter ahead.
In addition, the executive team presents WOW Awards to several employees who have earned recognition during the quarter. WOW Awards are based on peer nominations from the quarter. Everyone in the company participates in the peer-to-peer recognition program via a social media-style app called Give a WOW. Remote workers can recognize office staff, and office staff can recognize remote workers. And everyone in the organization can see the recognition being given and received in real time on the online “Recognition Wall.”
Quarterly, the leadership team reviews the nominations and selects the top nominations for each division based on impact to the company and their objectives. These awards are presented during the Town Hall meetings. The managing partners share the nominator’s remarks about the individual and their achievement, and briefly comment on how the contribution impacts the goals of the organization. Both onsite staff and remote staff can be recognized. And since everyone is together, whether via webcam or in the room, all can hear about the achievements going on in the business both onsite and offsite.
As a remote employee myself, this helps me stay connected to my colleagues in the office. I can see their faces and hear about their successes. It helps me stay in touch with the objectives of the business in my department and other areas of the organization. And because I am a part of the recognition program even though I’m not physically in the office, it’s gratifying to see someone I have nominated to be recognized publicly by the executive team, or to hear about how my contributions impacted someone else 100s of miles away.
Learn from the experts about how to engage virtual employees. Join us January 28 when Terryberry hosts Best-selling Author Kevin Sheridan for a webinar Bridging the Gap: Engaging Virtual Employees
How to Engage Virtual Employees
January 20, 2015