Once a temporary solution, remote work is now here to stay. Research by Buffer reveals that 49% of employees currently work fully remotely, and more than half of employees prefer this. Furthermore, 62% expect employers to allow remote work moving forward.
Business leaders and employers, however, have been less ecstatic about work-from-home options. When asked, 61% admitted to implementing more frequent check-ins with their remote employees since shifting to remote work. While creating strong systems for remote work are recommended, constant check-ins and pointless meetings for the sake of micromanaging contribute to a toxic work culture with low trust and low productivity.
With millions of Americans voluntarily leaving their jobs during “The Great Resignation,” employers must step up and proactively build better team cultures. Otherwise, they face losing 33% of each exited employee’s yearly salary in turnover costs, not to mention strong team players who benefit their organizations as a whole.
Continue reading to learn five strategies for managing remote employees and reducing turnover costs by fostering a culture of growth, development, and connection.
- 94% of employers admit that shifting to remote work has had few negative effects on productivity.
- 41% of employees leave their jobs due to a perceived lack of room for career growth.
- 94% of employees would stay at their current job if leadership invested in their growth.
- Companies with employee recognition programs have 31% less turnover than companies without.
Why Remote Workers Are Quitting Their Jobs
Data from Zippia shares that about 3.4 million people voluntarily left their jobs in 2020. Then, in November of 2022 alone, that number increased to 4.2 million, for a yearly total of 46.6 million, according to Statista. For 2023, CCI Consulting still expects voluntary turnover to reach as high as 35%. While it may be easy to link the shift to remote work as a leading contributor to this “Great Resignation,” the reasons many are leaving their jobs are much more personal.
Top causes of voluntary turnover:
- 31% leave because of a lack of meaningful work.
- 34% leave because of a toxic boss or uninspiring leadership.
- 36% leave because of insufficient compensation.
- 41% leave because of a lack of room for growth.
Data from Apollo Technical shows that 76% of employees look for other job opportunities when they don’t feel valued. Another 94% said they would stay longer if leadership invested in their growth.
From these insights, it’s clear that the key to effectively managing a virtual team lies not within tools like Zoom, Slack, and Asana. It lies within the ability to cultivate true connection.
5 Tips for Cultivating Growth and Connection
“Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued—when they can give and receive without judgment.”Brenè Brown
1. Communicate Often and Openly
A McKinsey & Company report shows teams that are well-connected and speak often are 20–25% more productive. More specifically, employees who feel included are five times more likely to feel productive in their roles.
Ways to practice open communication:
- Implement regular one-on-one meetings with employees.
- Have regular weekly team meetings with shared notes, calendars, and agendas.
- Schedule end-of-day team roundups to discuss statuses and needs.
- Use shared digital workspaces to keep projects and notes all in one place for everyone.
- Use a designated messaging space (like Slack) for daily communication.
2. Give Praise and Recognition
When we feel recognized and valued, we connect more deeply with our purpose. Data from Zippia shows that 80% of employees would work harder if they felt more appreciated. Even further, companies with employee recognition programs have 31% less turnover than companies without them.
Tips for recognizing employees:
- Celebrate achievements: If an employee closed a big deal, pitched a great idea, or stepped up in some way, celebrate that. An extra PTO day or simply a “thank you” can go a long way toward making them feel appreciated and supported.
- Recognize milestones: Milestones can be anything from a one-year employment anniversary to reaching a particular metric. Recognize employees who reach important milestones with simple gestures, like a team lunch, company announcement, or gift card.
- Acknowledge weekly wins: Recognition doesn’t only have to come when something big occurs. Celebrate the “small” daily wins, too, by acknowledging the efforts and commitment that lead to the “big” wins.
- Encourage employees to praise one another: Recognition and encouragement from fellow employees are just as valuable as receiving it from leadership. Encourage your virtual team to praise one another by facilitating open opportunities to do so.
3. Hold Space for One-on-One Interactions
Zippia shares that employees who are highly engaged are 75% less likely to leave their job. However, as the 2022 Gallup State of the Global Workforce report shows, engagement isn’t the only factor to consider. Employees constantly deal with things outside of work that influence their ability to thrive both “on the clock” and off. The report showed that while 30% of employees are thriving and engaged—that is, they’re not stressed or susceptible to work burnout—49% are neither.
Most employees aren’t going to reveal the challenges they may be experiencing. However, by holding regular one-on-one space for them and developing trust, you can begin to discern whether an employee is engaged, thriving, or needs help.
How to make the most of one-on-one interactions:
- Ask team members about things outside of work.
- Prioritize one-on-one meetings; avoid constantly rescheduling them.
- Make space to both give and receive feedback without judgment.
- Strengthen emotional intelligence by listening actively and pausing before reacting.
- Use video to convey and interpret expressions, body language, and other nonverbal cues.
4. Address Meeting Guilt and Allow Employees to “Decline”
Maintaining productivity while working from home often requires the power of “no.” A recent Otter report revealed that companies could save $25,000 or more per employee by reducing unnecessary meeting attendance. This same report also showed that more than half of employees—53%—attend meetings only because their manager hasn’t communicated to them that it’s okay not to.
Communicating that it’s okay for employees to hit the “decline” button does a couple of things for managing a remote workforce. First, it optimizes the employee’s productivity and sense of autonomy over their work. Second, it saves the company a lot of money, which is good for the bottom line.
Other tips for having more fruitful meetings:
- Consider the timing preferences of your remote workers before sending invites.
- Give thought to which employees are critical for a meeting and which are non-critical.
- Work to reduce zoom fatigue by making the video feature optional.
5. Encourage Spontaneity and Camaraderie
If you ask, it’s likely that an employee’s “favorite job” was the one they had fun at. The one where they could be silly, creative, spontaneous, social, and most in tune with their innate human nature. This is because the best workplace teams aren’t just about work, and research shows that small, fun breaks facilitate better engagement.
As author Catherine Price says in The Power of Fun, “Life is not a zero-sum equation: we can care about fun and be conscientious citizens who are committed to improving the world—indeed, fun can give us more energy with which to do so.”
How to cultivate camaraderie:
- Make a system of greeting and welcoming new employees.
- Encourage casual conversation, impromptu calls, and personal shares on team channels.
- Use “we/us” language instead of “them/they” to foster company-wide inclusion.
- Host or suggest social gatherings, like a “happy hour” team call on Fridays or a “coffee and conversation” on Wednesday mornings.
- Use virtual games and other team-building activities to allow employees to connect in new ways.
For more insight on creating an excellent culture, read Building Remote Work Culture next.
Focusing on Relationships Benefits Your Bottom Line
“In business, it’s about people. It’s all about relationships.”Kathy Ireland
Humans are driven by emotions. All of one’s choices, judgments, and beliefs reflect how one feels within a particular context. As stated in the Annual Review of Psychology, “The research reveals that emotions constitute potent, pervasive, predictable, sometimes harmful and sometimes beneficial drivers of decision-making.”
Focusing on relationships and not productivity metrics is the only way to cultivate a true connection with those with work-from-home jobs. Making sure that remote workers still feel seen and heard even if their interactions are only ever through a computer screen is instrumental for managing and retaining your employees. If you’re not sure how to do that, practicing emotional intelligence at work is a great place to start.
How to implement emotional intelligence at work:
- Practice seeing another’s point of view.
- Avoid making decisions quickly or in haste; allow time for consideration.
- Create a daily schedule and morning routine that keeps you self-aware.
- Recognize and express gratitude for others’ input.
- Read How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence At Work and In Relationships.
Continue strengthening your professional relationships by reading “Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: What You Should Know” next.
Leaders Media has established sourcing guidelines and relies on relevant, and credible sources for the data, facts, and expert insights and analysis we reference. You can learn more about our mission, ethics, and how we cite sources in our editorial policy.
- 2022 State of Remote Work. Buffer, 29 Nov. 2021, https://buffer.com/state-of-remote-work/2022.
- O’Donnellan, Ruairi. “Remote Working Statistics You Need to Know In 2023 – Intuition.” Intuition, 4 Jan. 2022, https://www.intuition.com/remote-working-statistics-you-need-to-know-in-2023/.
- 19 EMPLOYEE RETENTION STATISTICS THAT WILL SURPRISE YOU. Apollo Technical, 2 Jan. 2023, https://www.apollotechnical.com/employee-retention-statistics/
- “The (Encouraging) Evolution of Remote Meetings.” EurekAlert!, 6 Dec. 2022, https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/973501.
- Flynn, Jack. “20 Stunning Great Resignation Statistics : Why Are Americans Leaving Their Jobs? – Zippia.” Related Posts, https://www.zippia.com/advice/great-resignation-statistics/. Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.
- “Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey News Release – 2021 M09 Results.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Logo, 12 Nov. 2021, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/jolts_11122021.htm.
- Richter, Felix. “Infographic: The ‘Great Resignation’ Isn’t Over Yet.” Statista Infographics, 5 Jan. 2023, https://www.statista.com/chart/26186/number-of-people-quitting-their-jobs-in-the-united-states/.
- Workforce Trends and Predictions for 2023: What HR Leaders Need to Know. CCI Consulting, https://cciconsulting.com/workforce-trends-and-predictions-for-2023-what-hr-leaders-need-to-know/#:~:text=Talent%20turnover%20and%20scarcity%20will,to%20research%20from%20Work%20Institute.
- De Smet, Aaron. “What Employees Are Saying about the Future of Remote Work.” McKinsey & Company, https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/what-employees-are-saying-about-the-future-of-remote-work. Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.
- McCain, Abby. 27 ESSENTIAL EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION STATISTICS : NEED TO KNOW FACTS FOR MANAGERS AND HR. Zippia, 13 Nov. 2022, https://www.zippia.com/advice/employee-recognition-statistics/#:~:text=29%25%20of%20employees%20haven%27t,reduce%20turnover%20rates%20by%2031%25.
- Ariella, Sky. “27 US Employee Turnover Statistics : Average Employee Turnover Rate, Industry Comparisons, And Trends – Zippia.” Zippia, https://www.zippia.com/advice/employee-turnover-statistics/. Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.
- Gallup, Inc. “State of the Global Workplace Report.” Gallup, https://www.gallup.com/workplace/349484/state-of-the-global-workplace-2022-report.aspx.
- Steven, Rogelberg. The Cost of Unnecessary Meeting Attendance. Otter.ai, https://public.otter.ai/reports/The_Cost_of_Unnecessary_Meeting_Attendance.pdf.
- Plester, Barbara. “Fun Times: The Relationship between Fun and Workplace Engagement.” ResearchGate, vol. 38, no. 3, 2016, pp. 332–50, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/298916006_Fun_times_the_relationship_between_fun_and_workplace_engagement.
- Lerner, Jennifer. Emotion and Decision Making. Vol. 66, Jan. 2015, pp. 799–823, https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115043#:~:text=The%20research%20reveals%20that%20emotions,emotions%20influence%20judgments%20and%20choices.