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Creating Meaningful Connections in a Virtual World

Posted on December 28, 2022 by

Rob Dutkiewicz

Rob Dutkiewicz

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Virtual ConnectionsEmployers have adapted to a new workplace reality – remote work as a temporary public health measure has become a permanent “work from anywhere” expectation in the labor market. This trend is unprecedented in the modern work experience. To stand out as employers of choice in this marketplace businesses will have to overcome creative challenges to attract and retain a connected and productive workforce. 

When it comes to remote work, old norms are breaking down and it is unlikely that things will ever go back to the way they used to be. The good news is that by addressing culture, communication and compensation in fresh ways, employers are starting to see a new and more durable kind of success in the race for top talent. Let’s explore each of these strategies. 

1. Culture

In the most basic terms, company culture can be described as the way people agree to treat each other at work. A healthy culture can help your employees find a sense of connection and belonging in the work they do, but needs to be more than just a list of behavioral rules. For culture to be authentic, people need to see top leaders living by the same set of shared values. 

Foster a sense of connection among remote workers through live events that bring them together with local peers. These could be things like happy hours, team building activities, or arranging a reward delivery to the recipient’s home during a virtual meeting. Peer-to-peer recognition can be a powerful culture booster as well, whether done informally or through a structured program. Finally, even small human touches like food delivery or gifts of home or personal services can help employees manage stressors like inflation or work/life conflicts. 

2. Communication

Related closely to culture, your internal communication practices have an equally big impact on the engagement of both remote and office-based workers. Too often, a top executive will deliver an important email or video clip and mistakenly assume that the message will be carried outward to the whole organization. Your middle and front-line managers need to know that cascading those messages and checking for adoption is part of their core work as leaders. One-on-ones, team meetings, town halls, and project meetings should all be used as opportunities to provide encouragement, reinforce cultural beliefs and relay vital company information. 

Top-down, one-way communication has become outdated. Your team wants a proportional voice in decisions that affect their day-to-day work experience. Periodic live and virtual listening sessions with senior leadership help employees feel heard and included, if you keep them up to date on how their feedback is making a difference. Make sure that company messages are accessible through multiple channels that address different learning preferences and locations. 

Technology is a key factor here. Winning companies are the ones investing in fast and reliable connectivity tools, including the latest software, home broadband access, and high-quality monitors and computer gear for remote workers.

3. Compensation

Competitive pay is certainly a key retention factor, but total rewards include more than just direct wages, particularly for the younger generation in today’s workforce. For remote employees especially, meaning has become an important motivator. They want to see evidence that the work they do has an impact not only on the success of your organization, but also on the wider community. 

It may be time to revisit the way you manage bonuses and other forms of incentive pay. Do you need more flexibility in your paid time off policy? Do the right people in your organization have access to coaching and feedback? Are there innovative benefits you could offer that make work more rewarding for your whole team? Consider things like career development opportunities, conferences, educational partnerships, or cross-training. 

Continue the Conversation 

Clayton & McKervey advises domestic and international clients in the manufacturing & distribution, industrial automation and architecture & engineering sectors on performance metrics, tax optimization, succession planning, growth strategies, merger and acquisition transactions and overall financial health. We would be delighted to talk with you about your individual business situation. Contact us today to learn more. 

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Rob Dutkiewicz


Rob is recognized by clients, the C&M team and colleagues around the world for his pragmatic and thoughtful leadership.

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