Most business owners realize that building company loyalty is important for keeping employees, but what if your employees live halfway around the globe?
In today’s world of technological advances, it’s not uncommon for companies to have employees in multiple locations. The trick to maintaining company loyalty is to make use of that same technology to connect everyone and make them all feel as if they are part of the same company. While you may not be able to have a company picnic with everyone, you can still help everyone form bonds with each other, even halfway around the world.
Remember that what really helps cement relationships between co-workers is usually not just work related, it’s the sharing of life events and celebrations with others in the workplace. Online meetings may be simple to set up, but it is even more important to foster actual relationships between your employees, no matter where they live. Fortunately, that’s not as difficult as it sounds.
Celebrate Work and Non-Work Events
Has someone in your company had a baby? Earned a promotion? Moved to a new location? Make it a company wide celebration by arranging for everyone to sign a card which is then sent to the lucky person, or by having an online party, with drinks and snacks provided at each business location.
Celebrate more than just work accomplishments and celebrate together. This really helps bridge the gap between offices. With technology like Skype, it is very easy to celebrate together. While it’s not the same as being in the same room together, it can still be a lot of fun and bring everyone together.
Have Fun Together
There’s nothing like having fun together to help bond a group of people and there is no rule saying that can’t happen long distance. In fact, why not set up a game night between the various offices? Playing Wii with a co-worker on the other side of the planet is a great way to bond and these days, most gaming systems connect to each other via Internet. Hold a chess tournament, a Wii boxing company championship or another equally fun and silly game that everyone can have fun with.
Holding game nights can be a good bi-monthly or quarterly event, with the winners of each division, as well as the overall winner, being rewarded and recognized. You may not be able to get everyone in the same office for a tournament, but using Skype and gaming consoles can be almost as good.
Use Instant Messaging to Become Friends
Rather than curb instant messaging, it can be helpful to encourage it between remote employees. Obviously, you won’t want them chatting all day, but being able to connect with someone in a different office is made much easier when you have a chance to talk to them this way. IM doesn’t take away from work as much as a phone call would, so it’s ideal for things like sharing jokes and getting to know one another.
To get started with this, try assigning each employee another employee to get to know over the next week. Have them report their findings to their supervisor, giving them incentive to really talk to each other. While a company assignment, this can rapidly turn into friendship, which will increase company loyalty.
Hold Regular Meetings
With sites like GoToMeeting and iChat, you can set up online meetings between offices and have everyone employed under you attend. This works well since it allows everyone to attend the same meeting and to offer their opinions and thoughts on the projects in question. Even if each area of the company works on separate projects, a monthly meeting can be helpful in bringing everyone together. Concerns may be addressed at this point and any issues discussed in public. It’s the perfect time for people to start to get to know their remote co-workers and can be the first step in building a relationship with the other employees in the company.
Encourage Phone Calls
Encourage your employees to call each other when they need an answer to a question. This will help with interaction and can result in some unexpected friendships across the miles. Phone calls are also the fastest way to get information from someone else and studies have shown that speaking to someone and hearing their voice helps make that person seem real. Since you want all your employees to feel a part of the company, have them talk to each other. They may not be able to do this face to face, but a phone is a close second.
It doesn’t matter if your company is spread out over several states or even several countries. There’s no excuse for not fostering company loyalty in all your employees and making them feel like a vital part of the bigger picture. This is what will cement their bond with your business and help keep the best employees on board for years to come.