The Forum: Business Results Through People just released a study called “Engaging Virtual Employees—Innovative Approaches to Fostering Community.” The study categorizes current patterns in virtual office employees, assesses some of the tools and technologies virtual office employees use, and identifies strategies that contribute to successfully engaging virtual office employees.
"With off-site workers now representing up to 40 percent of the U.S. workforce in companies with 5,000 or more employees and 43 percent of recently surveyed companies anticipating growth in their virtual work forces, we felt it was important to examine current methods that are helping employers better engage their remote employees," says The Forum President Patty Saari, who is also vice president, product and strategy, business loyalty at Aimia, incorporating Carlson Marketing.
Here are some of the most interesting findings from the virtual office employee study:
- Engaging remote employees must be part of a bigger virtual office employee management strategy supported by top management.
- Engaging virtual office employees requires technology platforms that enable people-oriented aspects of work.
- Some face-to-face contact with virtual office employees is necessary.
- The quality of talent supersedes virtual office employee location.
- Smaller companies struggle more with engaging virtual office employees than larger ones.
- Virtual office employee engagement should be integrated with internal branding and organizational culture.
"In the end, we found that the boom in virtual employment that is taking place due to advances in technology and other economic factors puts many organizations in the difficult situation of trying to manage and engage employees in ways with which they have little expertise because their legacy has routinely been to manage workers at a given location," said Saari. "We hope The Forum's findings provide leaders with tangible ideas to better engage an increasingly virtual workforce and maximize the success of this growing reality."
Check out this YouTube video for some general tips on employee engagement: