Building Engagement with a Remote Workforce

With a team that potentially only モmeetsヤ in cyberspace, employers face a significant barrier that they must work hard to overcome.

By Kate Donovan, Global RPO President, ManpowerGroup

Access to talent is a key competitive differentiator, and employers are beginning to feel the impact of the talent shortage, i.e., there is available talent for hire but without requisite skills.  Now is the time for businesses to broaden their outreach for talent; mission-critical skills could be anywhere—around the corner, in the next state, potentially even in a different country. With increasingly sophisticated technology, businesses can connect with previously untapped pools of talent and bring into play the remote workforce. While the make-up of the workforce is changing, what remains the same is the need to keep employees, both near and far, engaged and motivated.

Achieving a high level of workforce engagement requires continuous attention. When it comes to creating engagement among a remote workforce, managers face an added level of complexity. Employers must set aside some of the standard tactics used to drive engagement among a centralized workforce and implement an alternative strategy that revolves around trust and accountability with output-led delivery. Employees, too, must play their part and strive to develop the trust of their managers, regardless of the distance between them, as well as build relationships with their colleagues.

Employers understand that developing a sense of camaraderie and common purpose among colleagues is crucial to team dynamics and fostering engagement. A remote workforce is no exception, but with a team that potentially only “meets” in cyberspace, employers face a significant barrier that they must work hard to overcome. Adopting creative solutions, such as leveraging videoconferencing technology such as Skype to allow for real-time “in-person” interaction within teams, enables empathy building and alignment, which are key to professional development. Creative use of short videos linked to team objectives and exploring other collaborative tools, such as advanced uses of Sharepoint, can offer new ways to bring the work community together. Simple solutions, such as encouraging colleagues to connect through social media, ensure this important element of workforce engagement is not sacrificed.

Remote workforces can be highly effective for all organizations across the spectrum of industries. With the world of work becoming more complex and access to talent ever more elusive, employers must think creatively and strategically in order to retain their competitive advantage. Remote workforces are one such innovative solution that can help businesses win in today’s world of work. For this to be a successful solution, organizations must invest time and resources in building relationships, and ultimately engagement, with their remote teams before they can reap the rewards. Regardless of the working environment, it is an engaged, motivated team that will deliver the best results and enhance business success.

Kate Donovan is global RPO president, ManpowerGroup, overseeing ManpowerGroup’s  global recruitment process outsourcing offering. For more information, visit

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