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Four Ways to Engage Remote Employees in Change

Remote Employees width=Organizations must engage employees in change if that change is to be successful. Simply because leadership is engaged and interested in the change, does not mean that employees will be. Let’s face it – most change impacts employees – those who are doing the day-to-day work of the organization. Sometimes, leaders remember to engage employees who are in the same location as they are in a change initiative; but forget about remote or virtual workers. All employees must be engaged in change.

Here are four ways to engage remote employees in change:

  1. Front the change with employees, not leadership

Put employees out as the face of the change, not leaders. A survey by PeopleNRG, Inc. noted that 80% of employees accept change more readily when that change is supported by influential non-leaders within the organization. I have personally seen in working with a number of large, global organizations over the years on change initiatives that when we have employees leading the change, we are more easily able to move resisters to champions of the initiative. Have these employees engage their co-workers/colleagues via informal conversations in remote offices or via email, phone calls or the portal (see #2.)

  1. Use a portal

Set up an internal site that enables for sharing information about the change as well as initiating discussions about the change. Use this site to discuss challenges that the change may address as well as the value and benefits of the change not just for the organization but for the individuals within the organization. Enable for ideas, thoughts, suggestions, and concerns to be shared on the portal and be sure to assign a number of individuals with responsibility for managing the portal and engaging by sharing their own ideas, thoughts, suggestions and concerns.

  1. Schedule some road trips

Schedule a few road trips to the different regional areas where remote employees are located (arrange for meeting space in a convenient location for employees who may work from home) or set up regional meetings and arrange for employees to travel to those locations to learn more. Certainly you might also arrange to bring remote employees in to the home office to learn more.

  1. Deploy a Stakeholder Support Team

Utilize Stakeholder Support Teams to engage employees. Stakeholder Support Teams should be comprised of individuals (add your remote or virtual employees to the group!) who represent all functions within the organization. Their role is to engage their peers, co-workers and colleagues in change initiative. They do this by sharing information, having informal conversations, bringing challenges and concerns back to the leader of the change initiative and can serve as pilot group members to test out the change. A Stakeholder Support Team is a great way to get remote workers involved in the initiative.

Use a combination of these four ways to engage remote employees in change to improve the chances that your next change initiative – regardless of its size and complexity – is a successful one; where employees are interested and contributing to the change.

Check out Gina’s newest book, Implementing Positive Organizational Change: A Strategic Project Management Approach, which shares her best practices and processes around leading change with a focus on ensuring employee engagement.

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