Wellbeing strategies to improve remote employee retention

  • Date posted

    Mar 10, 2023

  • Estimated reading time

    6 minutes

There has been a shift in employee work preferences. According to a recent study by McKinsey & Company, when offered the option to work remotely, 87% of employees take the opportunity. And when employers offer positions that allow remote work, this opens the door to employees—giving them more options and employers more competition.

With such an aggressive job market, finding effective ways to attract new talent and improve remote employee retention is crucial. We're here with a few strategies for retaining remote employees that can help make your teams stronger and employees more satisfied.

1. Recognize employee achievements and milestones

There are multiple factors that make a job desirable for employees. Many of the factors relate to monetary benefits, but one of them is simple: recognition.

Your employees want to be recognized for the challenging work they do. According to a recent Gallup survey, employees who regularly receive recognition are 90% less likely to feel burnt out. If you’re in a leadership position, prioritize taking steps to call out excellent work when you see it, and even offer small rewards and raises to recognize a job well done. Something as simple as words of affirmation, an email to the team, or reacting to a message on Slack or Teams can make a big difference.


Employees who regularly receive recognition are 90% less likely to feel burnt out.

Employees want to know that you see them as whole people. Employee recognition in a remote environment is an easy and thoughtful way to improve employee retention and motivation quickly. Want to take it a step further? Lifestyle rewards and benefits are the next big thing in remote employee retention and motivation. With programs like Fringe, you can personalize your incentive offerings to provide employees benefits that meet their needs. This includes mental health services, meal prep and food delivery options, paternity and fertility benefits, life and career development coaching, and more—all from brands your employees trust and recognize.

2. Create an efficient remote employee onboarding process

Too many employers forget the importance of employee onboarding once they switch to a remote workplace. While you're no longer acquainting new employees with the office, onboarding is your opportunity to set them up for success.

The four Cs of onboarding (clarification, compliance, connection, and culture) are still important for remote workers. A good onboarding process that prepares your employees for what they'll be doing and who they'll be working with helps them feel more confident in themselves and in you as an employer.

An employee who was not properly prepared for their role, or who didn't receive adequate training, is less likely to remain in their position. A “quick-win” for remote employee onboarding is to create a department organization chart with names, job titles, and contact information. This helps new employees know who they’ll be working alongside and who to go to for questions on any given topic.

3. Establish an expense reimbursement policy

Employees who work from home use many of their own supplies to do their jobs. While there are monetary benefits to working at home (not paying for gas, for example), employees still spend their own money.

Set yourself apart from the competition and consider offering a small stipend or reimbursement policy for your employees that can cover things like a percentage of their internet bill, technology equipment, costs to repair devices, or a subscription to a co-working space. Reimbursements like this can show your remote employees that you care about enabling them to do their best work and can easily be tied into an employee wellbeing program.

4. Promote a healthy work-life balance with flexible work hours

Many employees remain in the traditional 9-5 schedule. While some jobs require consistent work hours, many remote jobs don't, especially those with employees around the country (or even around the world).

Remote work has been shown to improve productivity. Because of this, offering schedule flexibility (and potentially even shorter work hours provided employees finish their tasks) should not negatively affect your business.

Navigate is setting out to lead by example by giving employees three flexible mental health hours designed to help them reset, refresh, and recharge. All full-time Navigators are encouraged to take up to three hours out of their workweek to catch up on life, take some time off, spend time with their families, or whatever they choose to do—all without dipping into their PTO.

A healthy work-life balance is essential if you want to increase employee retention. When employees return to work feeling refreshed, they're able to devote more time and focus to their jobs.

5. Use a wellbeing platform

Employee wellness and wellbeing can (and should) extend to the remote workplace. Yes, you may not be offering healthy snacks in the office breakroom, but you can still help your employees stay healthy.

Employee wellbeing is a delicate balance of physical, mental, social, and financial health (among other things). A wellbeing platform, like Navigate, can help you with it all. Having a wellbeing strategy and a strategic partner takes the guesswork out of keeping your employees happy and healthy with real-time insights and reports, and an account manager dedicated to helping you reach your goals.

An effective wellbeing program and platform is driven by data and customized to each individual employee. Instead of treating wellbeing as a one-size-fits-all concept, tailor it to each individual team member's needs. Not only will this create more engagement, connection, and motivation among your current employees, but it can also be a benefit used to attract new talent to your organization.

6. Have regular check-ins with your team

Checking in with employees is essential regardless of whether you have a remote or an in-office team. Not only does it show your employees that you're listening to them, it also helps you improve as an employer and a leader.

Check-ins can be individual or with the entire team. In fact, both are useful in their own ways.

One-on-one check-ins allow you to talk to individual employees about their strengths and weaknesses and ask them what they need to thrive. Group check-ins give you a better idea of where the strengths and shortfalls of the business may be, and you can work together to find ways to improve.

To get the most out of your check-in meetings, be sure to ask questions about their workload and how they are managing things. This can give you a pulse on if your employees are feeling burnt out, or if you can shift projects around to meet the bandwidth needs of your team.

Check-ins are especially important for remote employees, since you can’t casually chat with them in the office or see how they’re doing without intentional touch bases. This simple act of caring and listening is a key component to improving remote employee retention.

7. Offer career development and learning opportunities

Remote employees often struggle with career development. They don't have access to in-office resources or networking opportunities like traditional employees do, and this may lead to some feeling stagnant which can lead them to seeking employment elsewhere.

Find ways to teach employees new skills and give them opportunities for career growth—no matter where they’re located. Consider creating a stipend for employees to attend conferences or seminars in their field or to take online courses.

You can also hire speakers and coaches for online presentations for your employees. By providing employees with opportunities for growth, you can increase career satisfaction and improve retention. Making employees even more willing to invest in the company when they see the company investing in them.

8. Send anonymous surveys to gather feedback

Some employees may feel uncomfortable voicing their concerns to their employers if they aren’t given a safe space to share their minds. They may fear punishment, judgment, or being perceived differently. They may also worry that they're going against the grain and that they'll ruin their relationship with other employees.

Anonymous surveys solve this problem. Your employees will feel more confident voicing their concerns, problems, and even praise under the shield of anonymity. Navigate’s Pulse Surveys, for example, are a great way to incorporate this feedback into your wellbeing program and initiatives—sparking more meaningful change with organized data that you can easily access.

When you receive employee feedback, be sure to actually implement it. Even if something doesn't seem reasonable, investigate and see if you're able to find a way to compromise. After all, no one knows more about what will help you retain your employees than your employees themselves.

You can improve your remote employee retention

Many employers have experienced the struggle of remote employee retention, but you're equipped to handle it. Your primary goal? Show your employees that you value them.

When you treat your employees well (and respect their individual struggles and strengths), they'll treat you well too. A positive work environment goes a long way.

Spark a conversation with one of our wellbeing experts to see how you can engage and retain your remote employees with a holistic, easy-to-use wellbeing solution.

Want to collaborate? Have a topic you'd like to learn about?