Today, it’s tougher to pull the employees together for an idyllic company picnic that reminds employees why they love their jobs, mostly because employees might be located in multiple locations.
Technology today allows an employee in Gurgaon, India to video chat with an employee in Dallas, Texas, hold a standup as part of an agile outsourcing project, and accomplish just as much as if they’d been in the same room.
But, it’s less likely these employees can hang out on a checkered blanket and enjoy some chicken wings at a company picnic aimed at boosting employee engagement.
Employee engagement in the 21st century looks very different – many businesses have dispersed teams. For example, a business may employ IT team augmentation to supplement it’s in house staff. But regardless of whether employees can physically brush elbows or will never enter the same physical space, employee engagement is a pivotal cornerstone for the success of any business, and leaders should pursue it if they want to build a successful, sustainable organization.
Why does employee engagement matter?
In the United States, a mere 32% of employees are engaged in their jobs, according to Gallup. But Gallup has also linked employee engagement to employee performance, as just one of two factors (the other is well-being) that influence performance outcomes.
In other words, business leaders who put in the work can expect to realize several benefits from an engaged workforce, including:
- Lower turnover
- Improved productivity and efficiency
- Better customer retention
- Increased profitability
When you consider the widening talent gap the tech sector is struggling with, employee engagement becomes even more vital to keeping IT talent – because those top talent engineers staffing your projects can easily find work at a company that will engage them if yours won’t.
The World Economic Forum predicts 133 million new roles will develop as a result of technical advancement, increasing demand for technical skills like programming or app development; demand is only going to accelerate for top IT talent.
Best Practices for Employee Engagement
While massive organizations like Google are lauded for perks like nap pods and onsite dinners, businesses can take meaningful steps to improve employee engagement without significant – or potentially any – financial investment. Employee these best practices to improve employee engagement:
- Provide the right tools. Anyone who has suffered a late-night battling with technology can vouch for the sheer frustration that stems from insufficient tools to do the job. Deloitte measured this in its 2016 Human Capital Trends report, citing “enabling infrastructure” as the top driver of global engagement. If your business doesn’t have the right tools, making your own can be one of the primary advantages of software development.
- Get personal. We’re not suggesting you know the names of your employee’s pets, but we are suggesting you invest in individual time with each employee to understand how they are uniquely motivated. This is especially critical for managers with a nearshored or offshored team because as the Society for Human Resource Management highlights, one size certainly does not fit all in a multi-ethnic, multigenerational, multinational workforce. Where one employee may delight in a public shout out, another may cringe. Managers need to know what inspires their people and adapt to individuals.
- Prioritize training and coaching. Employees need the skills to do their jobs and need to be continually developing. When employees feel they’re being equipped for future roles, it’s much easier for them to envision a future at the organization.
Employee Engagement in Augmented IT Teams
Although many employee engagement practices apply to any situation, organizations who augment their staff with a nearshored or offshore team should consider some additional measures to improve employee engagement.
- Provide meaningful tasks. In most cases, people rise to the occasion. By tasking remote employees with something meaningful (that isn’t also backed up by someone else), managers convey confidence in the employee and are likely to make the employee feel valued and provide a sense of purpose. One of the things we hear most from our Genies is how much they enjoy direct access to clients – because people like to do meaningful work.
- Communicate like crazy. Implement – or develop – powerful software that will enable employees to use chat programs, schedule video meetings, and encourage virtual in-person meetings.
- Recognize great work. Don’t allow a remote employee to slip by unnoticed when they do excellent work. Acknowledge – publicly – the job well done.
- Establish clear goals. Although everyone, regardless of location, should understand clear goals, this is especially important for remote teams or employees. When expectations are clear upfront, employees are more motivated to work to achieve goals.
Is your business seeking engaged IT talent?
TechGenies can help. We recruit, vet, and coach our talent, but you have the final say in who joins your team. And we really do mean join your team. Our Genies are clear from the outset: they’re part of your team, and your success is their success. TechGenies is here to help with the administrative aspects of engaging your augmented team along the way. To start a conversation about your IT needs, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.