A large part of your job as an HR leader is to ensure your employees are both happy and productive in their jobs. Through establishing a company’s culture, structuring benefit packages, and managing employee relations, you are involved in making or breaking an employee’s work experience. Remote workers pose a unique challenge since you’re not interacting with them day-to-day in person. Here are a few ways to retain remote developers and keep them engaged as well.
We’re not talking about daily updates here (that would be a bit excessive), but rather monthly or quarterly meetings where you can have honest conversations with the developers. Are they feeling supported by others on their team? What challenges are they facing as a remote employee that you could help fix? When you ask these questions, make sure to leave plenty of room for them to respond. After all, these meetings are just as much for them as they are for you. Additionally, keep in mind that remote employees may work different hours and try to accommodate their schedules and time zones.
A company that offers amazing benefits and perks attracts employees of all kinds, whether they’re in-house or remote. But there are a few tangible benefits that remote employees can’t necessarily take advantage of. For example, it can be hard for a remote employee to enjoy the benefits of your office’s in-house catering. Instead, you can allocate that money to sending them a monthly healthy snack stipend so they can stay nourished while working. Even if your company can't afford this, do what you can to emulate the experience that your in-house employees have -- it will go a long way.
Here at Stack Overflow, all employees receive an adjustable standing desk and comfortable Herman Miller Aeron chair. Our remote employees receive these items shipped right to their home (or co-working space, if that’s where they prefer to work from) so they can work in the same comfort as the in-house employees.
Remote employees can’t physically be in the same room for your weekly Town Hall or monthly happy hour, and it’s your job to try your best to keep them included. This can be done through mediums like video calls, online chats or instant messaging systems, a structured email process, and more. If your company has the budget, it’s a good idea to allow remote employees to travel on-site a few times a year to work with their team and meet other employees face-to-face.