How to engage remote employees: modern relationships in a hybrid working world

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With hybrid working now established as a modern model of work, many organisations are grappling with the challenge of how to engage remote employees and how to improve employee experience.

If this sounds familiar to your organisation, read on. We’ll highlight the importance of employee engagement to long-term success, how to improve employee experience across your business and achieve optimum engagement with the tools at your disposal.

Why employee experience and engagement are crucial to success

Employee experience refers to how people’s experiences in the workplace compare to their expectations. Where employee experience is good, productivity is likely to be higher with staff more connected and engaged with their work. Personal wellbeing and interpersonal relationships are also impacted – both positively and negatively – by employee experience.

The reverse is also the case. Disconnected staff, a lack of motivation and poor workplace relationships can all result from negative employee experience, leading to job dissatisfaction and the decline of personal wellbeing.

Achieving an engaged and committed workforce relies on positive employee experience. Understanding how to improve the employee experience is instrumental in creating an atmosphere conducive to achieving success.

Tools at your fingertips: how to engage remote employees with ease

It has never been more essential to establish a favourable opinion of the workplace among your employees. With teams now often spread across the world, building communities and ensuring a constant flow of information and communication take on even more significance in promoting a positive employee experience.

Microsoft Teams was launched in 2017 with the aim of improving workplace communications. Building up a vast user base in a short space of time, Teams now stands at more than 270 million monthly active users – and that’s partly down to the pandemic changing the way everyone works. With people missing the everyday sense of togetherness provided by the traditional shared office experience, Teams gave employees a sense of connection and offered a hybrid experience for some of the moments being missed due to isolation rules.

However, despite quickly becoming a mainstay of businesses everywhere, Teams can’t fill all the gaps in the employee experience that were exposed during the pandemic – and so in 2021 Microsoft Viva was launched.


Image showing Microsoft Viva dashboards on two devices. Credit: Microsoft

Viva is Microsoft’s dedicated employee experience platform designed to help organisations bring the full connectedness of a hybrid workplace to their employees. It connects the work your people are doing with your organisation’s collective knowledge and experience.

Created to address the gaps in the employee experience that Teams alone can’t fill, Microsoft Viva modules are designed to connect your people, encourage growth, give purpose to work and provide insights into staff morale and opinions.

Microsoft Viva offers solutions for the challenges of remote working – including the lack of a physical office environment – by providing tools for:

  • Engaging people through internal communication
  • Collecting insights into employee experience through direct feedback
  • Aligning employee goals with organisational objectives
  • Fostering growth and development within the business

What is good employee engagement and how can Microsoft Viva achieve it?

Creating the best employee experience and engagement relies on tapping into the maximum value your technology can offer. Microsoft Viva offers many ways to achieve this and amplify positive employee experience.

Although specific metrics may vary, employee engagement can be measured anecdotally and objectively by observing the satisfaction and work ethic of your workforce. Understanding what good employee engagement is going to look like for you is where the specific benefits of various Microsoft Viva modules can shine.

Ensuring your workforce is happy and fulfilled is a priority in establishing good employee engagement.

Improving connections in the workplace makes your people feel more unified, whether that’s achieved by bringing your SharePoint intranet to where they work in Microsoft Teams, making company communications more accessible and engaging, or by giving all people a voice through the Viva Engage module, built on the foundations of Yammer.

Viva Goals lets you bring your organisation’s goals to your people, with clear, consistent objective-setting processes. Even if people are physically distant, Viva lets you create a sense of dedication towards a shared goal with everyone heading in the same direction.

Staff development is a crucial aspect of employee experience. As your people grow and develop beyond their own responsibilities, so will your organisation. Viva Learning makes it easy for you to provide learning and development opportunities directly through Microsoft Teams. Wherever your people are and whatever they are doing, they can easily access training courses, whether they are assigned to them or form a part of their own individual development pathway.

Enabling your organisation to work in a location-agnostic manner means your retention levels and employee satisfaction should see positive growth, too. Ensuring your workforce is happy and fulfilled is a priority in establishing good employee engagement.

However, one core element of your strategy for how to engage remote employees and improve employee experience is unique from Viva’s wide selection of tools, namely, a modern intranet.

Constant communication and community cohesion: what makes a good intranet?

Deploying the entire Viva Suite across your organisation won’t automatically give you an intranet that works perfectly alongside it. SharePoint is becoming the go-to intranet solution for businesses across many industries, and although it’s easy to configure a simple SharePoint intranet site with basic features, an out-of-the-box solution may not work for your organisation.

An optimised intranet will revolutionise how you work, integrating flawlessly with your other Microsoft solutions, such as Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams.

Over the years, we’ve seen organisations begin their intranet journey with simple requirements, only to discover later in the process that they have more specific needs. A helpful place to start when considering what you need from an intranet – and what it can really do for you – may be to ask some vital questions.

As your organisation grows, your intranet requirements are likely to evolve and become more complex. What makes a good intranet for long-term successful engagement comes from clearly outlining early on what your goals and challenges are.

a screenshot showing a desktop intranet powered by Fresh Credit: Fresh

 

So what makes a good intranet? A good intranet brings together all your important data and information in the place where your people work, offering improved collaboration and communication across your entire organisation.

With Microsoft Teams acting as the hybrid hub for thousands of businesses worldwide, some of the most successful organisations are leveraging the power of modern intranets with everything from Viva Connections bringing your intranet directly into Teams, to bespoke and time-saving applications built in the power platform.

This sense of community gives greater purpose to the work your people do, alleviating the risk of disconnect between organisations and their employees.

Being a one-stop-shop is not only what makes a good intranet – your solution should answer your most pressing internal communication questions, empowering your employees to thrive in a secure environment.

An optimised intranet will revolutionise how you work, integrating flawlessly with your other Microsoft solutions, such as Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams. That’s why, together with Fresh, we know the value of providing a seamless, modern intranet experience for you and your people.

 

How to improve employee experience with Microsoft Viva

Optimising your workforce in the hybrid working world is not only a question of how to engage remote employees – it’s also about gaining the most from your Microsoft investment.

While Viva offers many opportunities to improve employee experience, there are three modules that stand out: Viva Connections, Viva Engage and Viva Amplify.

Viva Connections

Viva Connections provides desktop and mobile access to your SharePoint intranet and content with Teams. Allowing employees to stay connected and up –to date whether in the office or on the go, and able to access your SharePoint intranet and all of its content at any time, Connections keeps your people informed and communicating without the need for additional applications.

Viva Engage

Viva Engage offers social media features that aim to build communities and promote a sense of belonging among your workforce. Giving people the option to connect – both formally and informally – and obtain information from one another provides a high-value employee experience in knowledge sharing and self-expression.

Viva Amplify

A newcomer to the Viva lineup, Viva Amplify supports wide-scale internal communication campaigns. With Amplify, users can create, structure, build, manage and measure campaigns with timed release across SharePoint, Teams and Outlook, allowing organisations to deliver important messages or updates to employees in a more streamlined and efficient way.

Integrated directly with Microsoft Teams, these three modules can help tackle common employee experience challenges and provide avenues for direct improvements in the hybrid working world.

 

Engage remote employees for success that lasts

For all the rapidly evolving technologies that organisations employ today, the heart of a successful business revolves around its people. No matter the industry or focus, no business can success in the hybrid working world without connecting with its most remote employees.

But the issue of employee wellbeing isn’t solely about how to engage remote employees. To improve employee experience, the correct tools need to be available and made part of an organisation’s culture. From considering what makes a good intranet to examining exactly what is good employee engagement, every organisation can make the best of their Microsoft investment and optimise for realities of the post-pandemic world.

 

With Microsoft Teams, Viva and SharePoint, you can foster success and encourage your people to achieve their best.

Want to engage remote employees to build a positive, modern workforce? Get in touch to speak with one of our experts about your employee experience needs.

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