Case Study: Fostering Team Engagement in A Global, Fully Remote Working Environment
In a big world that’s become exponentially smaller with workforces connected by fibre lines, faces projected via pixels and voices too often on mute, creating a sense of community that ensures people don’t feel isolated due to the lack of traditional human face-to-face connection has never been more important.
In our fully remote working environment and many of our teachers living on their own, it’s vitally important that our teams don’t become isolated and are left feeling disengaged. Staff engagement has always been a main priority for us, even when we were still based in physical teaching centres, and has remained a core focus in our business since migrating completely into an online space.
Why Do We Value Staff Engagement?
Here’s why, in our lived experience, employee engagement is crucial for creating a healthy and thriving work environment. More engaged employees lead to:
- Improved Satisfaction and Retention - Better contentment in their job is a critical factor in retaining talent and reducing staff turnover rates.
- Overall Enhanced Well-Being - Staff members who feel engaged are generally happier, experience less stress, and have better mental and physical health.
- Stronger Team Collaboration - They are that much more likely to collaborate effectively with their colleagues, which leads to better teamwork and improved problem-solving.
- Unprompted Innovation and Creativity - Feeling more motivated, empowered and trusted to contribute new ideas, which can drive business growth and competitiveness.
- Higher Productivity and Quality Work - When employees are passionate about their work, they put in extra effort and take pride in what they do, which results in increased output and Customer Satisfaction.
- A Positive Company Culture - It fosters an inclusive workplace, which can attract top talent and improve the organization's brand and image.
- Lower Absenteeism - They are less likely to call in sick or take unplanned time off, which helps to maintain consistent productivity.
- Alignment with Organizational Goals and Values - This mean they are more likely to understand and support the company's mission and goals, leading to a more unified, loyal and focused workforce. A latest survey has revealed that remote workers’ connection to the mission and purpose of their organizations has deteriorated to a record low.
- Adaptability and Resilience - They are often more adaptable to change and more resilient when facing challenges. They are more likely to embrace change and work collaboratively to overcome obstacles.
- Ethical Behavior – They will act in the best interest of the organization, reducing the risk of unethical conduct.
Our Q3 Focus: “Ubuntu, I Am Because We Are”
The Ubuntu philosophy is the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity, that a person is a person through other people and that we express an appreciation for each other's traditional beliefs. In this, community is one of the building blocks for a thriving society.
With a deep-rooted purpose of “inspiring minds, inspiring connections” at The Really Great Teacher Company, this concept couldn’t resonate with us more. We are a community of inspiring minds that work to inspire the minds of others, so they may leave a conversation more enlightened and empowered than before the encounter began. As we inspire others to connect, we do the same for ourselves, bringing the world closer together.
So over the past quarter we wanted to celebrate and honor our global community across 63 countries that represents our multi-faceted yet complete sense of diversity. With so many unique cultures, traditions, dishes, languages and personalities that contribute to our diverse team, we wanted to learn more about the different places in the world where our employees are based. We wanted to create a platform where everyone could share those pieces of themselves, bringing this colorful tapestry of our team directly into our homes.
We launched various initiatives that our teams could participate in over the quarter, including a cookbook that encouraged submissions of unique cultural and family recipes, an Insider’s Guide where we got first-hand glimpses into hometowns all across the world, a challenge for our fitness community to share photos of their playgrounds, all of this culminating in a wonderful display of skill in our first ever company talent show.
But it wasn't just about showcasing skills and creativity. Throughout this journey, our personal development engagement increased as we wove a universal bond that bridged our differences and celebrated our global community, which has helped us grow – personally, and as a team. We've built bridges that span our differences and celebrated our global community.
The Results? Record Engagement in Numbers
According to Gallup, global employee engagement was 23% in 2022. And in Europe, only 13% of employees were engaged.
More than one-third of U.S. workers in a recent Conference Board survey said their sense of belonging at their respective organizations has decreased compared to six months prior. But more specifically, 30% of fully remote workers said engagement has decreased over the same time frame, as did 31% of hybrid workers and 30% of fully in-office workers.
How do we compare? Reflecting over the past quarter, we reached some key milestones in our own employee engagement rates, more than doubling our engagement rate by the end of September compared to what we measured for January this year.
What has our engagement journey looked like?
When we initially started measuring engagement in our teams in 2020, there wasn’t yet too much research available on industry averages in remote working employees. So we set ourselves a target of 20%, and have steadily increased this monthly goal to 40% today.
In January 2021 we recorded an 18,7% engagement rate, and by December that year we had increase that to 26,5% and doubled individual attendances to initiatives.
In 2022 our engagement rate peaked at 32,6% with a 275% increase in total attendances by engaged employees.
This year we wanted to raise the benchmark and set a stretch goal of having 40% of our team members engaged. By Q2 we had reached 34,4% and looked forward to launching our Ubuntu theme to truly connect with our staff from around the world.
And through our various engagement initiatives during Q3 we had the privilege of experiencing the diversity of our global community that saw a month on month increase in engagement! Attendances increased by 52% that resulted in a record 47,8% engagement rate.
While we can celebrate a successful quarterly focus and key milestones, our main goal is the ongoing personal and professional development of our teams.
What truly excites us is the teachable spirit and dedication to excellence of our life-long learners. The drive in our teachers to always continue improving their skills and knowledge, to invest in themselves to provide quality learning experiences to their students.
Through our professional development courses we create opportunity for our teams to continuously upskill, improve performance, and develop careers through targeted training and stimulating resources. This not only benefits their own growth, but drastically improves performance and valued contribution.
Where our personal development initiatives exist to serve the mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of our teams. We focus on all aspects of the human experience that do not include job/role specific performance and is designed to inspire a more engaged team that is healthier, happier and more connected than they were before joining the company.
As the quarter has come and gone, we set our sights on our next goal, always looking at ways in which we can better serve the overall wellbeing of our home-based teachers.