We are excited to announce that Trina Hoefling, author of Working Virtually: Transforming the Mobile Workplace and myself, will be speaking on the important topic of Virtual Employee Engagement at the 2017 World at Work Total Rewards Conference.

Using principles from Trina’s book we’ll be discussing the six relational practices to increase sustainable engagement. Trina’s new book offers a complete guide to both leading and navigating today’s world of work in any environment!

What does David Ulrich say about Trina’s new book?? “Today’s work takes many forms. In Working Virtually, Trina offers ideas with impact on how to think and act as a virtual employee. The ideas are fresh and practical. The impact will help individuals, teams, and organizations work better across time and space.” ~ Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan and a partner at The RBL Group

Virtual work is growing exponentially in the workforce at the same time that employee engagement is at an all time low. The National Workplace Flexibility Study found that virtual team members are at even greater risk of disengagement than co-located teams. When this happens, leaders tend to blame distance and do not take into account the number one factor impacting virtual team engagement – the manager.

Management practices have changed. Today’s employees aren’t motivated the same way as last century’s professionals. We have found that a leading driver of employee disengagement is the “out of sight, out of mind” sense of isolation. Team leaders must change in order to reverse this disengagement trend and those changes include these six relational practices:

1. Provide positive, honest feedback – Don’t let isolation slow down feedback loops. Reach out and connect to your virtual team members to help them be clear.
2. Provide optimal challenges with “just enough stress” – To build measurable growth of talent there must be elements of intentional challenge and adversity.
3. Ensure people are safe – Employees come forward to tell the unvarnished truth simply because they have been encouraged to do so.
4. Ensure empowerment – Collaboration nurtures and brings out strong personal power, which invites engagement.
5. Flex your style – Leverage different leadership styles for different situations.
6. Expand emotional bandwidth – The more we know about each other and connect as much as we can on a personal level, the better we connect on a profession level.

Do you know what motivates your team members? Do you even know where to begin? You can start by completing The SMART Workplace Team Assessment. Look closely at your own relational practices and understand how you can update “business as usual” habits. Once that is complete you will have the foundation you need to develop your own engagement competency.

We hope to see you in DC at the Total Rewards Conference!!