Remote employee engagement is a common challenge faced by field team managers. It can be challenging to monitor the involvement of employees who spend little to no time in the back office. Boosting confidence levels in remote employees is a great way to achieve engagement, according to Anita Bruzzese, author and contributor to The Fast Track and USA Today.

How Can Data Improve Employee Engagement?

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, technology columnist Christopher Mims writes, “…transparency and accountability are the essence of the data-driven company.” Remote employees are more likely to be engaged in their work if they feel a sense of accountability for their performance. If employees are able to monitor their own progress instead of learning about their performance from management, they will feel more connected to their work and thus more engaged. This phenomenon is explained in the article “Big Data: The Savior of Employee Engagement”, written by Ambition Marketing Director Jeremy Boudinet. After cutting out the “middle man”, employees become driven because they feel a sense of accountability that stems from having access to data that correlates with their performance in the field.

Employees thrive on the accountability they feel based on their performance data for two reasons: social interaction theory and intermittent positive reinforcement. A guiding principle of social interaction theory is that humans prefer online communication to in-person interactions because it’s less draining on them cognitively and emotionally. Therefore, employees would rather receive data about their performance online instead of face-to-face. Furthermore, intermittent positive reinforcement (the concept of repeating behaviors that promise a reward) demonstrates why employees work more productively if they have access to data that shows how well they are doing at their fingertips without having to go through a manager. Mobile software solutions exist that allow field employees to track their daily progress, fostering personal accountability.

Using Communication To Instill Confidence

Aside from feeling accountable for their work, employees need an efficient means of communication with other employees and management to feel engaged. Remote employees want the chance to work independently and apply their skills at the highest level in order to feel valued. However, it is reassuring to know that they can contact other members of their organization in real-time to deal with problems as they arise.  Additionally, positive feedback from field team managers will make employees more confident in their abilities. The instant messaging capabilities available with some Field Activity Management software solutions are a fantastic tool for connecting remote employees with field team managers and promoting engagement.

Another reason that open communication amongst members of an organization is crucial for instilling confidence is because it reinforces a sense of purpose in individuals for the work they are doing. If employees can connect the dots between their performance at work and the greater good of the entire organization or the world, they become significantly more engaged in their activities. Jason Jennings, author of The High Speed Company,  also recommends that managers hold an hour-long “discovery” conversation with one team member per week. The purpose of this conversation is to find out what motivates that person, what his or her strengths and weaknesses are, and what he or she wants to achieve. After doing this, managers can better align an employee’s responsibilities with their goals which will build up engagement.

Raising confidence levels in remote employees is essential for improving engagement on the job. Managers should consider adopting a Field Activity Management Software solution that allows employees to keep track of their performance and interact in real-time with ease. If employees are empowered with knowledge and an efficient means of communication, they will become more engaged and hence more productive.