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10 Strategies to Increase Remote Worker Retention

Now that many companies have been operating with fully remote teams for over a year, many have hired or are hiring remote workers with no plans to bring them to the office when COVID-19 restrictions loosen.

Hiring remote workers is a smart move for companies. Remote employees can help you increase productivity, provide access to global talent, decrease employee stress, and can save your company money. But sometimes, remote workers do not feel as engaged with their employers and thus move on to greener pastures. And employee turnover is expensive. 

According to recent reports, employee turnover can cost at the least 16% of an annual salary for a low-level employee and up to 213% of an annual salary for an executive. 

The good news is that there are practices you can put in place to improve the odds of retaining your remote workers.

10 Strategies to Increase Remote Worker Retention

  1. Hire the right person in the first place. When you’re desperate to get help, sometimes it’s tempting to overlook a lack of certain necessary skills or culture fit, but the truth is, hiring the right person will improve your retention rate right away. Make sure your job description is accurate and reflects your needs. And use a staffing firm to eliminate the time spent on sifting through candidates that won’t ultimately be a fit. 
  2. Create a seamless remote onboarding process. It’s not enough to simply transition your in-person onboarding process to a ton of Zoom calls. Instead, reimagine the onboarding process for someone who is working remotely. What do they need? Do they have the necessary equipment? Contact information for IT? It’s also a good idea to celebrate their first day with a small gift, recognition on the team Slack thread, and an introduction at their first staff meeting. Warm welcomes make a big impression.
  3. Set accurate and clear expectations from the beginning. Demystify what success looks like from the start. What are the KPIs that matter most? What are your expectations for the first 90 days? You may even need to over-communicate with a remote employee to make sure you are on the same page when it comes to success. 
  4. Prioritize communication. Take random surveys. Ask satisfaction levels. Remote satisfaction hinges on communication more than anything. Whatever method you use, make sure your contact is frequent and meaningful, including setting clear expectations and offering specific feedback.
  5. Create a remote-inclusive culture. Utilize technology to help remote employees feel included. For instance, consider virtual happy hours or movie clubs. This will go a long way toward helping remote workers build bonds. 
  6. Show you care about them as both an employee and as a human. Offer equal access to training and development programs. Learn the name of their partner, kids, or pet. Give them the tools they need to succeed in their careers while also recognizing that they have a life outside of work. 
  7. Create opportunities to connect in person when possible. Gathering your team in person, if even a few times a year, can do much for strengthening relationships and building trust. It is well worth flying a team member out for a retreat or gathering together for an annual dinner (if local) and helping them to connect to other team members. 
  8. Provide competitive pay and benefits. Remote workers have the option of working for companies far and wide, so make sure you offer a competitive package. Unlike employees who come to your office every day, these workers can more easily look elsewhere. 
  9. Promote them. If virtual workers feel that they have no chance at moving up in the company, they are more likely to detach and look for other opportunities.
  10. Celebrate their achievements. When you’re able, share wins with your entire team and also bring attention to successes one-on-one.
by McKinley Marketing Partners