Employee engagement

Engage Your Employees From Anywhere: 18 Tips From HR Experts

Vanessa Kahn
November 4, 2021
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How has going from place-based to hybrid impacted your employee engagement? We imagine creating opportunities for engagement for both remote and in-person employees alike can be a hassle. 

We recently hosted an event in partnership with HR.com on reimagining employee engagement in a remote world. Our panel of experts from Headspace Health, Guru, Toast, and Bonusly got into the nitty-gritty of creating a sense of belonging on remote and hybrid teams. Our panelists covered everything from how to perform a meeting audit to improving remote onboarding. We've rounded up all the best tips from our panel so you can access them anytime. 

Did you miss the event? No sweat, you can watch it on your own time here

18 Remote Engagement Tips from HR Experts

Tips for combatting burnout and meeting fatigue

1. Meeting audits

Encourage managers to conduct a meeting audit for team meetings. Make sure the meetings your team is hosting promote collaboration instead of frustration. Here are a few questions you can start with:

  • Do all of the meeting attendees need to be there, or could they benefit from the time back and an email update?
  • Does the meeting need to happen at all, or could information be communicated on an asynchronous channel? 
  • Could this meeting be a video update?

2. No-meeting days

Establish a weekly no-meeting day and encourage employees to use this time for deep work and personal development. Allowing employees a day to focus on themselves can have a substantial impact on mental health and morale. 

3. Camera on, camera off?

Set clear expectations on which virtual meetings you're expecting employees to be camera-on and which they can feel free to go camera-off. 

4. Walking meetings

Try a walking meeting with your team for meetings where teammates don't need to be near a screen to be productive. 

5. Remote team advocates

Designate a remote team advocate in all of your mixed location meetings. Ask the advocate to check in with remote folks on the call to ensure they get a chance to chime in. Other roles to pre-define for meetings are notetaker, facilitator, meeting recorder, and timekeeper. 

6. Meeting agendas

Establish a rule that there shall be no meetings without agendas—no ifs, ands, or buts! 

7. Multiple modalities

Ensure there is more than one modality for folks to be heard on meetings. For example, they can send their thoughts in the chat, unmute to chime in, or use Zoom's "raise hand" feature. 

Tips for onboarding remote employees

8. Onboarding checklists

Create an onboarding checklist to help set expectations for new employees, remote or in-person. Include items to complete at different time intervals, instructions to get access to necessary tools, and links to video trainings and relevant documents. 

9. Working agreements

Brief new hires on working agreements to remove the guesswork of understanding the norms of working on a team. If you don't have working agreements in place yet, you can use this handy template

10. Video updates

Implement a system for internal video updates and host them all in one location. Having a single source of truth for training videos affords new employees a sense of autonomy and is more efficient than having live training sessions each time a new employee joins. 

11. Mindfulness practices

Encourage employees to incorporate mindfulness into their daily routines to help break up the day and offer breaks from endless screen time. We love Headspace to get a quiet moment of mindfulness, or if your org uses Slack there are plenty of apps you can integrate that can remind employees to get up and move around or drink water. 

Tips for remote performance management

12. Understand biases

The first step to avoiding common biases in feedback cycles is being aware of them! You can start by educating teams, and especially managers, on biases that might affect their ability to effectively assess employee performance. For instance, are they falling victim to recency bias, or more heavily weighing recent employee performance instead of considering performance as a whole? 

13. Use tools

Use tools to help you track performance over time so when it comes time for reviews you have plenty of examples to reference. This will help avoid the aforementioned recency bias. 

14. Performance review trainings

Identify managers who haven't facilitated performance reviews before and schedule check-ins with them to ensure they have the tools and know-how they need to conduct successful reviews. 

15. Get clear on expectations

Clarify expectations around the review process to take the fear and surprise out of the process for your team. You can start by creating a readily available resource detailing what to expect using a knowledge base like Guru

Looking for more tips on giving constructive feedback? We've got you covered!  

Bonus tips: a few team building ideas before you go

16. Trivia!

Bonuslians are famous for their love of trivia. We use the Water Cooler Trivia app in Slack for a friendly trivia competition each week. We've also hosted fun after-hour trivia events with themes like Halloween, Hispanic Heritage Month, and more! 

17. Unique connection

Our friends at Guru launched a partnership with Airbnb experiences to offer opportunities for teams to connect in new and exciting ways. 

18. Show off non-work skillsets

Toast employees, also known as Toasters, enjoy an open mic night to show off their talents. 🎤

We encourage you to look for ways to replace the hallway-high-fives that in-person interactions afford. At Bonusly, we strongly believe in the power of peer-to-peer recognition to improve employee morale, satisfaction, engagement, and retention, from wherever your employees work. 


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