Employee satisfaction is a critical component of a successful business. When employees are happy and engaged, they work harder, are more productive and are less likely to move on to another company. And when this happens, your business will be healthier and more successful.
Incentive programs are a key driver of employee satisfaction and engagement. While you ultimately want to tap into each individual’s intrinsic motivation, offering rewards and incentives for doing a good job is a great way to keep people focused on their work and striving for excellence.
But when you roll out an incentive program, you absolutely cannot forget the team members who are working from outside the office. If you hold a party to celebrate an achievement, make sure you send a cake to the people working remotely. Or if you upgrade the coffee machine in the office, make sure you provide telecommuters with something similar, such as a subscription to a premium coffee service.
It might seem like overkill to do this. After all, if they aren’t in the office, they don’t know what they are missing, right? But this line of thinking is dangerous and puts you at risk of losing the loyalty of members of your remote team. Either they’ll move on, or their work will begin to suffer. Either way, here’s why you need to make sure you don’t forget remote workers when implementing your incentive program.
They’re Still Working
Their jobs might seem more glamorous because they can get up a bit later and work in their pajamas, but your remote employees are working just as hard as everyone else. By rolling out an incentive program that excludes them, you are sending a powerful and toxic message that you value the work they are doing less than that of other team members.
This can have two dangerous effects on the health of your company.
- These remote employees will take this as a sign they are no longer needed, and they will therefore begin looking for somewhere else to work
- Other team members who did benefit from this incentive program will see this injustice and begin to call your management tactics into question. This creates friction on the team and can disrupt collaboration and cooperation.
Just because they’re at home working from their couch or home office, it doesn’t mean they aren’t working. Make sure whatever incentive program you roll out reflects this and includes everyone on the team. Even if what you offer to remote workers is different, making sure they are included will go a long way towards keeping people happy and engaged.
They’ll Quickly Go Somewhere Else
Once you start working remotely, it’s hard to go back. So if you turn your back on telecommuters and roll out an incentive program that excludes them, you can expect them to have little patience for you.
They’ll begin looking for work somewhere else, and because you don’t have constant contact with them, they may announce one day when you’re least expecting it that they’ll be leaving in two weeks and that you need to find someone else to do their job.
Excluding people from incentive programs because they are working remotely is not good. Even if you do it by accident, this sends the message that you value you them less than others. And once you start losing employees to other companies, you’ll have to deal with the problem of rising employee turnover. This makes it harder for you to recruit new employees, and it begins to chip away at overall engagement. Avoid this at all costs and make sure you remember remote employees when rolling out your incentive program.
Telecommuting will no longer be a reward
This one is actually directed more at your other team members who are not telecommuting. Often times, incentive programs include offering employees the chance to work from home. Being a remote employee is traditionally seen as a reward in and of itself.
However, if you then turn around and forget to include these remote workers when you introduce future incentive programs, what you’re really doing is signaling to the team that working from home is some sort of a demotion.
You can’t just offer one reward to people and expect them to be happy forever. To keep them engaged, you need to continuously celebrate good work so as to keep people motivated and working towards the next thing. Creating the idea that being offered the chance to work remotely is your “last” reward will undermine your overall incentive efforts. It may even give the idea to employees that some positions are more valuable than others, and this will eat away at team spirit and damage the overall health of your company.
If you were even remotely considering (pun intended!) excluding telecommuters from your incentive program, don’t. And if you weren’t, make sure you don’t forget. Doing this can have dangerous consequences on employee morale and engagement, which can quickly derail the health and success of your company. No one wants to feel left out, even if they’re working from home!
About the author: Raj Jana runs a successful ecommerce business, JavaPresse. Most of his team are based at home so he knows the importance of a happy, engaged and motivated remote team.