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10 strategies for remote workforce employee retention

Enjoy the many benefits of a remote work culture with 10 of the best strategies for improving remote workforce employee retention, from virtual break rooms to transparent promotions.

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Remote work culture, or working from home, is fast becoming the new norm in international business. 65% of workers report a desire to work remotely, whether based close to their company headquarters or overseas. This move to a different style of working brings with it myriad potential benefits, including increased productivity and a greater work-life balance for employees. Embracing it can also open new doors to global business expansion.

At the same time, keeping remote workers engaged can be difficult without restructuring and reassessing the way in which you manage and communicate with employees. Though more productive and more content with a remote setup, employees who work from home report higher levels of burnout, as well as feeling disconnected from their colleagues.

Our guide to 10 effective strategies for improving remote workforce employee retention will help you tailor a work culture which benefits both your on-site, hybrid, and work-from-home employees. In doing so, you can improve remote employee retention rates while attracting new international talent to your team.

The benefits of maintaining a healthy and engaged remote workforce

Before we dive into the body of our article, it is perhaps worth pointing out some of the recognised benefits of establishing a mutually beneficial remote work culture.

  • Remote workers report feeling more productive at work when compared to working on-site, in an office environment.
  • Remote work can facilitate a healthier work-life balance for employees, in turn creating a healthier, happier workforce.
  • Developing a clear strategy for recruiting, onboarding, and managing workers remotely can better enable your plans for international business expansion.
  • Offering remote and hybrid working conditions can facilitate greater diversity within your workforce by opening recruitment up to both overseas workers and workers with disabilities.
  • Recruiting remote employees can potentially save employers as much as around £9,000, or $11,000USD per employee, owing to reductions in office space, equipment and utilities expenditure.

The challenges faced by remote workers

It is equally important to recognise the challenges faced by your remote workers. Understanding these will help you better appreciate the shortcomings in your company culture at present, as well as the importance of the strategies we’ll shortly be discussing.

  • Remote employees can feel disconnected from their colleagues and company culture, and thus, over time, become less engaged, or potentially consider quitting.
  • Remote workers may not feel they have access to all the information, training materials, or project details which their on-site colleagues do, leading to a feeling of listlessness or an inability to competently complete their tasks.
  • 69% of remote workers report burnout from communication being conducted exclusively via digital tools and platforms.
  • It can be harder for people working from home to switch off at the end of the day, given that their workspace is also their living space.

Mauve’s 10 recommended strategies for improving remote work employee retention

What follows are ten strategies the remote-first team at Mauve find to be most effective in improving employee retention, whether with remote workers local to your offices or based abroad.

1) Tailor your meetings to accommodate remote work culture

Office meetings are not typically designed to include or accommodate those working from home. Whilst technology allows workers to join meetings remotely, simple things like banter with their colleagues before and after meetings is made more difficult by the physical distance.

Consider adapting your office meetings using the following strategies, and in doing so create a parity between on-site and off-site employees which makes those meetings beneficial and accessible to all.

  • Use online applications, like digital whiteboards and chatrooms, to encourage greater colleague-to-colleague communication and remote employee engagement.
  • Provide your remote team with an agenda ahead of time, and try to make the process of joining the meeting digitally as smooth and hassle-free as possible. No-one likes the stress of hunting down an elusive video call link amid scores of work emails.
  • Actively engage the input of remote workers. The subtle social cues which we pick up on in physical spaces can be lost when interacting over Zoom or Google Meets. Take note of which remote employees are contributing less, and engage them proactively with questions before moving on to the next item on the agenda.
  • Create a fully remote meeting by having on-site employees join the meeting digitally, from their desks. A free and easy way to get everyone on the same level.

2) Bring office culture to the digital space

One of the biggest challenges facing remote workers is a feeling of disconnect from their colleagues. Without the casual chatter of an office space, including such simple things as taking lunch together, chatting by the water cooler, or making a round of coffees for your team, it can be easy for remote workers to feel that they’re not a proper part of the workforce.

Remote workers can even begin to feel resented by their co-workers. As many as 78% have reported feeling this way, in fact. To overcome this potentially great barrier to remote employee retention, use digital tools to bring office culture to the online space.

Virtual break rooms, for example, with suggested or dedicated break times for on-site and off-site employees to take together, may help foster a much more cohesive and connected workforce.

3) Make employee promotion transparent and celebrate achievements equally

Remote employees often feel overlooked for promotion and can feel that their hard work goes unnoticed – or at least less noticed compared to that of their on-site colleagues.

Whether this is true or not, the lack of a clear framework for assessing employee performance and eligibility for promotion can foster the perception that remote workers are less seen.

Take the time to celebrate all employee achievements and work equally, and throughout the workforce. Additionally, establish clear rewards – including bonuses and advancement – for hitting certain targets or milestones, such as a bonus for meeting a sales target, or assessment for promotion after X number of years at the company.

4) Have HR check-in with remote employees on a regular basis

Most managers and CEOs know the importance of quality onboarding, especially in an international or remote-work context. Yet still it can be easy to forget to check in with remote employees once onboarding is complete.

Regular check-ins from HR and colleagues, specifically with the goal of assessing remote employee engagement, satisfaction, and wellbeing, helps both to avoid retention issues before they arise, and solve issues as they do.

5) Consider offering asynchronous work and flexible working hours

Asynchronous work is not for everyone nor every company, but where manageable, it can afford remote employees a superior work-life balance. Where fully asynchronous hours cannot be offered, flexitime or flexible working hours are a highly popular perk. The option to mould work around personal commitments can both attract and retain top remote talent.

6) Where possible, organise an annual or bi-annual company-wide in-person meet-up

It’s certainly important to foster an accessible and engaging digital work culture for remote employees. However, nothing quite compares to the restorative, team-building benefits of in-person gatherings.

If your company has the means, we’d highly recommend planning one or two physical, company-wide meet-ups a year. Giving remote workers the chance to meet their colleagues and teammates in person will inevitably help them feel more connected and involved with their team and the wider company.

7) Employee strategic workforce planning

Strategic workforce planning entails assessing the workforce needs of your company at present and in future, in order to hire the right people for the right role at the right time, and in doing so minimising unnecessary costs.

One such unnecessary cost would be that of replacing and retraining an employee who was hired remotely but wasn’t suited to the remote work lifestyle.

Strategic workforce planning can help you identify the roles in your company which could work best remotely, as well as those which should be kept in-house.

8) Foster a healthy work-life balance for your remote employees

As we mentioned earlier, it can be hard for remote workers to switch off at the end of the day. As such, whilst remote work can offer a healthier work-life balance, it can also leave employees feeling constantly engaged, leading to burnout.

Try to help your employees set up a distinct, well-organized workspace at home which feels separate to the spaces they relax in. Make sure they have all the equipment they need to do their job competently and comfortably, and – perhaps most importantly – avoid emailing or messaging them during non-working hours.

9) Provide clear, regular feedback on remote work, as well as clear instruction and detail at the start of each new project

To avoid remote employees feeling unsure with regards to their tasks and/or performance, it is imperative that you provide them with regular constructive feedback, as well as detailed instruction on new project work, where needed. You can assess the shortcomings in your instruction simply by asking remote employees whether or not they feel confident and prepared to tackle the task at hand.

Remote employees who receive regular feedback from their managers are reportedly three times more productive than those who don’t. In addition to increased productivity, those same employees will feel more supported in their career, resulting in improved remote workforce employee retention.

10) Work with an Employer of Record (EoR) to take best care of your remote employees

Making the transition to remote work culture whilst catering to the nuanced needs of remote employees and overseeing the running of your business can, understandably, be a daunting prospect. Even those CEOs and remote workforce managers up to the challenge may find themselves dividing their time unprofitably or inefficiently between the two tasks, which is where an Employer of Record (EoR) comes in.

An Employer of Record is a business partner capable of handling all of your human resource needs, from remote employee onboarding and contracting to managing their wellbeing, benefits and even your payroll – which can prove especially handy for workforces spread across multiple countries. By partnering with an experienced EoR, you can trust that all of your remote work employee retention concerns are taken care of.

Recap: The best way to improve remote workforce employee retention

Mauve Group has over 27 years of proven experience as a remote-first company, working with and retaining employees based all around the world – both our own and those of our clients. For guidance on how to best implement the strategies discussed in this article, or to find out more about how working with Mauve can improve your remote employee retention rate, get in touch today.