How do you make remote workers feel belonging?
It seems remote working is here to stay until at least after September 2021, according to major employers like Google. Employees feel safe at home, but isn't it difficult to foster the sense of belonging? It is essential to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into your corporate wellness program and inclusion meaning that every member feels like a full participant. “When employees are truly included, they perceive that the organisation cares for them as individuals, their authentic selves,” says Gartner Managing Vice President Lauren Romansky.
According to Gartner, organisations with sustainable diversity and inclusion strategies (which are key for creating an inclusive culture of belonging) see:
- a 6.2% increase in on-the-job effort.
- a 5% increase in employees’ intent to stay with the organisation.
- a nearly 3% increase in individual employee performance.
Experts believe that it’s becoming harder to understand non-verbal clues and listen to what people are saying during virtual communication. Soft skills used by leaders are taking on even more importance to create belonging. Indeed creating a culture of remote “belonging” is an essential skill for 2021.
How do we do this? TV producer Julian Dismore recommends embracing screen share, videos, photos and anecdotes to make online sessions more engaging and inclusive. Captivating your audience from the start and drawing on more than one method of communication to convey your message, such as the poll option, Q&As, group discussions and chat to enhance the diversity of voices.
The challenge within a virtual environment is that it is difficult to identify social cues associated with unhappiness (especially if the camera is off). The screen is a barrier that exaggerates the feeling of distance between colleagues preventing them from sharing their feelings. Therefore leaders need to create a culture of authenticity whereby colleagues will not disguise their feelings. Using the direct chat mode in virtual meetings can be used to address issues during a virtual meeting in a private way. Cues of silence from normally vocal people and tone of voice can be indicative of mood changes, but require constant attention by the leader but ultimately lead to a trusting team. Ask for feedback from your team and above all, be prepared to learn, unlearn and relearn.
Information included from:
“Remote belonging” : The new rules of online meetings - Stephanie Russell
Creating an inclusive Culture of Belonging in a Remote Workplace - well right.com