3 Effective Techniques to Retain Top Remote Talent

Woman smiling working with her laptop at a balcony

You go to your favorite restaurant, and for the first time in your life, you decide to order a different dish (For most of us, this is a big deal). Some of your thoughts, seconds after you order it:’Why did I order a different dish? I should’ve stuck with the usual’ or ‘There is no way this is going to be better.’ A slight feeling of remorse may show up. Then, minutes later, the waiter brings the new dish, you taste it, and voilà – heaven in your mouth.

This feeling is comparable to the one you get when you hire an employee who exceeds your expectations. The satisfaction of finding remote talent who understands your company’s culture and processes entirely is priceless. Well, almost; it has a price, but it is worth it.

Some managers might think the hard part is to find employees that, besides doing a kickass job, also exceed their expectations: True talent is literally like diamonds – tough to find. But finding them isn’t the most challenging aspect.  Sorry to break it to you, but the hardest part is making employees stay in the company; or in other words, to generate employee retention. 

According to Gallup, a statistic on the United States employee engagement (2018) shows that although there has been a rise in employee engagement of up to 34%, 16.5% are completely disengaged, and 53% are in the ‘not engaged’ category. More than half of American employees are likely to quit as soon as they find a better job.

Whether you are managing a fully distributed team, a few individuals, just one or in the process of hiring your next superstar, here are 3 effective employee retention techniques.

Create an onboarding strategy

One of the main challenges in distributed companies is the onboarding process. We are not talking about babysitting; we are talking about leading in every sense of the word. During a successful onboarding process, the new employee learns what are the expectations for their initial performance.  From our experience in DistantJob, it only takes 7 days to onboard a new remote employee. During these days, taking care of things like setting up a time-zone availability window, introducing the team, and making sure the employee understands how to use specific tools is vital for the new hire’s future performance.

Onboarding allows employees to feel connected with the company and empowered about how to perform their tasks. We have tips that you can use to implement an onboarding strategy, but overall, making the new employees feel part of the company is one of the most important things to be achieved in the first days. Research shows that when employees are correctly onboarded, they are 58% likely to remain in the organization after three years. So, if you don’t have any strategy or plan for achieving this, it’s probable that you’ll end up losing some of your high-quality employees.

Tip: A big mistake is to assume employees will figure everything out on their own.

A woman explaining the graphics shown on her computer.

 Communication is a must when it comes to employee retention

Many books pretend to sell the last innovation for duplicating a company’s output. Or the magical formula to make your income rise. Which is excellent, we all want to have a better business, to produce more, and to earn more.  Yet, to have a good company is necessary to have solid bases in simpler aspects, for example, in communication. 

Communication seems to be a simple and obvious element. Nevertheless, it is one of the most important pillars that businesses need to take care of, especially in a distributed workforce. Leaders need to install a two- way communication in the business environment.

Prioritizing communication allows managers to apply effective leadership by developing trust and confidence. It makes employers and employees feel the need to give constructive feedback, with the purpose of continually growing and improving. 

But keep in mind that communication isn’t only talking and sharing ideas. Listening is also fundamental. Employees want to be part of organizations where they have a voice and can build their own identity. According to studies, a principal factor in retaining employees having the feeling that their voice matters. Employees who feel they can speak up and share their ideas are more likely to stay in the company.

Tip: Implement a weekly overview between the employees and the employer with two-way feedback channels 

Implement a work-life balance motto 

“Work hard, play hard” – one of the most common and cliched yet motivating quotes of all time. Traveling, buying a house, creating a business, eating the best food – these are some of the many life-dreams that millions of people hold as their goals. And achieving them takes hard work. 

It is a fact that virtual teams tend to be more productive and work extra hours. They are the masters and commanders of their time. When they are at home, they have fewer distractions allowing them to focus more and of feeling the need to work more.

As a general overview, it seems that working more – and being more productive – is fantastic ($$$$$). Yet, there are many other important aspects of people’s life besides work. For example, family, religion, friendship, etc. Therefore, employers must create an environment where the employee’s necessities aren’t affected by their work. This means that if family emergencies come up or an important personal event (for example, their son’s football match), they can have the flexibility to enjoy these events without worrying about their work. 

If managers respect their employee’s vacation time, their weekend days, and encourage them to take breaks and to work only during their 8 hours (or the hours established in their contract,) that is something they will highly appreciate. Of course, hard-working employees get excellent results, but so do the ones having a balanced life.

Tip: Well-being surveys to check on employees or one-on-one conversations once a month. 

And…never take your employees for granted

One of the most common mistakes managers make is to assume their employees would want to stick with them forever. The world has plenty of opportunities for them, especially when they work remotely – they get to have the entire world as their marketplace. Therefore, one of the most effective employee retention strategies that managers can implement is pretty simple (but crucial): It consists of developing a relationship with their employees and caring about them and their work. 

If you haven’t found the top remote talent that you’re looking for, don’t worry; we got your back! At DistantJob, we are experts in the art of recruiting the best talent in only two weeks – that’s a real stat, not a joke! For more information, contact us! We are happy to help.

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Gabriela Molina

Gabriela Molina

Gabriela Molina is the writer and executive editor of the DistantJob blog. As a former freelance journalist, she has covered a wide range of topics throughout her career. She was featured in Datasciencentral, Simpleprogrammer, to name a few. She is currently specializing in the areas of technology, leadership, and remote work.