Engaging Remote Employees: Tips From Asia’s Talked-About Party

What Asia's Most Talked-About Party Can Teach Us About Engaging Remote Employees

Engaging Remote Employees’ Focus

Did you snag an invite to the wedding of the century? Me neither! Although the wedding ceremony of the son of Indian billionaire and Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani won’t take place until July, it was nearly impossible to miss all the media coverage of the couple’s three-day pre-wedding celebration back in March. Anat Ambani and Radhika Merchant sure know how to throw a party! As I scrolled through those pictures of ultimate opulence, I couldn’t help but notice that just like this event had captured my attention from more than 7500 miles away, we could learn a thing or two about engaging remote employees’ attention.

7 Ways To Engage Your Remote Employees

1. Establish Clear Communication Channels

How you communicate with your employees is just as important as what you say. With a staggering two thousand dollar price tag, the Ambani invitations were intent on making a memorable first impression. The invitation cards arrived with personalized, handwritten notes and unique gifts for each guest.

Make no mistake, the way you communicate with your remote team will make an impression. If there’s no clear strategy on how, why, or when to communicate, your communication channels will only lead to more questions and confusion than solutions and clarity. It’s important that your employees feel like you’re talking to them and not just to a faceless screen. Choose attention-grabbing communication channels that are not intrusive and feel purposeful, informative, and personalized.

2. Set Clear Goals And Expectations

Guests of this lavish event received a nine-page document and daily mood boards detailing the dress code for every celebration. Each event, from “A Walk on the Wildside” to “Mela Rouge”, had a particular theme, and the hosts ensured that guests understood the assignment.

No one likes to feel like they have no idea what they’re walking into or stress about trying to read their boss’s mind (which is even harder to do if you’re not seeing their face!). If you want your remote employees to log on feeling confident and capable, be sure that you’ve taken the time to set clear goals and expectations. It’s helpful for managers and employees to have a concrete road map to refer back to at each journey milestone.

3. Foster A Positive Team Culture

Whether through virtual team-building activities, promoting collaboration through shared projects, or encouraging social interactions outside of work-related tasks, these extra efforts can create a sense of belonging and camaraderie among remote team members. The Ambani family did this expertly; they took every opportunity to unite their nearly 2000 guests, focusing on altruistic aims beyond the scope of their marital bliss.

The bride and groom-to-be kicked off their pre-wedding celebration with a charity service called Ann Seva, where they served traditional Gujarati food to over 51,000 people in the surrounding villages. A drone show later in the weekend was another highlight, paying tribute to an elephant named Gauri and serving as an introduction to the Vantara program, which rescues and cares for animals. Perhaps most importantly, the bride and groom were at the center, serving food and sharing their love of animals. It’s important that leaders not only encourage team-building and collaboration but also take an active role in the execution.

4. Provide Opportunities For Skill Development And Training

What started with a cocktail party for A-list guests to network peaked with Gujarati folk dance lessons and ended with a “tusker trails” event where attendees could immerse themselves in the wonders of nature. Sounding a little other-worldly? Yes. However, there are real-world applications for giving your remote employees the time and space to further their personal and professional development.

As many benefits as there are to remote work, it can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation or disconnection. Investing in the development of remote employees by offering training programs is a great way to show that you value their contributions, boost their confidence and productivity, and keep your employees engaged. Hosting virtual workshops or webinars is a solid go-to. Take it up a notch by polling your remote employees about what the next topic should be! Additionally, offering mentorship programs where your remote workers can network with your “A-list employees” can be highly beneficial for keeping your team tethered.

5. Offer Flexibility In Work Schedules

Sometimes, business as usual doesn’t equate to maximized efficiency or engagement. When it comes to engaging remote employees, it can be worth restructuring to create an environment that prioritizes flexibility.

When news of the Ambani wedding celebrations reached the Indian government, they knew forcing this huge influx of foreign visitors through their existing airport structure would break the system. Instead, they temporarily granted international status to a defense airport that allowed 200 chartered planes from Dubai, Paris, and everywhere in between to fly directly to their destination and avoid hours of miserably wasted time dealing with delayed flights or long customs lines.

Instead of digging your heels in about the way things have always been done, consider a change in perspective about what dedication and work ethic looks like in this new workforce. What are employees hoping to gain from a remote working experience, and how can you make sure their goals align with the company’s bottom line?

6. Recognize And Celebrate Team Achievements To Boost Morale

There’s nothing like saying thanks for coming to India like a kickoff performance by Grammy Award-winning singer Rihanna. And while I don’t think the R&B queen comes out of concert retirement for just anyone, there are low-key, big-impact things that you can do to boost the morale of your remote team:

  • Virtual recognition programs
    Implement virtual recognition programs where team members can nominate each other for their achievements. This could be through a dedicated Slack channel, a recognition platform, or during team meetings.
  • Personalized thank-you notes
    Send personalized thank-you notes or eCards to remote employees to acknowledge their hard work and achievements. This personal touch can go a long way in making employees feel valued.
  • Virtual team celebrations
    Organize virtual team celebrations to mark milestones or achievements. This could be a virtual happy hour, a team trivia night, or a virtual awards ceremony. Encourage team members to share their successes and praise each other publicly.
  • Gifts and rewards
    Send small gifts or rewards to remote employees as a token of appreciation for their efforts. This could be in the form of gift cards, company swag, or even a surprise delivery to their doorstep. Who doesn’t love mail?

7. Promoting Work-Life Balance

The Ambani family knows that attending a wedding celebration like theirs requires exhausting travel, extensive planning, and a huge time commitment. If they wanted their guests to have fun, leave feeling invigorated, and looking forward to returning for the ceremony in July, they had to provide accommodations that made this balance possible. You won’t be surprised to hear they nailed it by now. From world-class chefs to prepare meals at all hours, on-site wardrobe services, luxurious transportation arrangements, and VIP tents with every amenity under the sun, guests felt well-cared for and had plenty of opportunities to recharge to get back to the festivities and be fully engaged.

Chances are, if you’re dealing with a remote team, work-life balance is their top priority. If you want them to be fully engaged at work, they need permission to be fully engaged while they’re resting or enjoying their personal life too. The worst thing you can do is leave employees guessing about what their boundaries are supposed to be. Start by making sure these three parameters are crystal clear:

  • Work hours
    What do you need most from your remote employees? Do you need them to establish office hours and stick to them, or do you need them to finish the work whenever possible?
  • Breaks
    Breaks are necessary, and a good remote manager will ensure that their employees take time to step away from their workstations to recharge and reset their focus and creativity. But if you’re worried about wasted time or abused boundaries, get specific. Say things like, “I encourage everyone to take 3, 15-minute, breaks daily. Be sure to update your Slack status so we know not to disturb you!”
  • Resources
    Offer resources such as mental health support, wellness programs, and flexible work arrangements to help employees effectively manage their work and personal lives. Investing in their well-being can create a happier and more productive remote workforce.

Editor’s Note: Check out our directory to find, choose, and compare eLearning Industry’s Top Employee Engagement Software.