Building a Collaborative Culture with a Remote Team
More and more companies are making the switch to remote work, and it’s changing the way they work and hire.
No longer are employers limited to hiring candidates who live in their city or state. With today’s technology and resources, communication and collaboration can be just as effective between coworkers living in Idaho and North Carolina as it is between colleagues with offices down the hall from one another.
Thousands of companies and workers have proven that work really can get done from anywhere. The real concern that most employers have is, “How do we foster a strong, positive, happy, collaborative culture when team members work hundreds, if not thousands, of miles apart?”
9 Ways to Foster a Creative, Productive, and Collaborative Culture, Remotely
While building a great culture within any organization can be challenging, there are key guidelines that companies can follow to help ensure their remote work culture is innovative, creative, and productive. Below are nine things to help your company develop a positive, high-performance, and fun culture with remote team members.
1. Hire the Right People
As Jim Collins writes in his book Good to Great, “Start not with ‘where’ but with ‘who.’ Start by getting the right people on the bus (your company), the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”
For a company with remote workers, the “right” people are likely those who want or need to work from home, who really know how to work as a team and like doing so, and who are willing to help their team members—even if it doesn’t directly benefit them or their department.
2. Use Onboarding for New Hire Success
Once you’ve hired your superstar remote worker, it’s essential to have a comprehensive, in-depth onboarding process. Onboarding introduces new hires to the social and performance aspects of their jobs and provides opportunities for them to learn what’s required in order to function effectively within your organization. Onboarding sets them up for success, makes them feel welcomed, and better prepares them for their new job.
3. Invest in Technology
Technology plays a vital role in a company’s ability to have a remote workforce. It’s essential to have software, hardware, security protocols, and other tools in place that will safely support information-sharing and make communication easy.
- Video Platforms: Using video lets your team see each other in-person and share screens. This makes it easier to interact, collaborate, and get to know each other.
- Project Management Tools: There are tons of online tools (Asana, Basecamp, Trello) that help your team track productivity, tasks, and projects no matter where they are or when they work. The ability to share files, notes, and calendars helps everyone do their part and stay on target.
- Surveys: Anonymous or not, surveying workers about how they feel about everything from their job to the leadership helps the company measure the pulse of the organization. Many of these tools often include the ability for coworkers to recognize and celebrate others’ achievements publicly, helping peers feel valued, welcomed, and part of the team.
4. Conduct Face-to-Face Company Meetings
Even though everyone may see faces on video every day, there’s a lot to be said for occasionally interacting face-to-face, sharing meals and laughs, and learning team members’ in-person personalities. Face-to-face meetings are also a time to bond and create fun memories.
5. Promote Professional Development
Investing in the personal and professional growth of your employees is critical if you want to cultivate a culture of continuous learners, forward-thinkers, and motivated leaders who know how to inspire others to reach lofty goals.
Provide internal professional development or give staff a yearly budget to attend outside training that will help them grow. Showing you’re invested in your staff’s professional development demonstrates that you’re committed to growing their career and helping them advance.
6. Be Transparent
At many companies, topics such as company financials or what’s going on operationally are held close to the vest by the top leadership. However, a collaborative culture often starts with transparency about these issues and others.
When company leadership is transparent, credible, respectful, and fair, it fosters a culture of trust. And the more trust team members have in their coworkers, managers, and company leadership, the more empowered they’ll feel to be open and honest about their work and areas where the company can improve.
7. Create a Culture Deck
A culture deck is a visual representation of the things your organization holds near and dear. It tells the world who your company is, what you’re about, and what you value. Furthermore, a culture deck conveys your company vision and the expected behaviors of your team members.
8. Set Clear Expectations
You might be a fully remote company that allows flexible work, but what does that mean? Can staff work whenever it’s convenient for them—even if that’s between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.? Do they have to work some hours that overlap with a specific time zone?
Be clear about what you mean by “remote,” “flexible,” and any other term that could be ambiguous or misinterpreted. This helps avoid any misunderstanding and ensures that everyone is on the same page.
9. Gather Feedback and Adjust
In a remote company, it’s hard to “read the room” just by walking around the office. Instead, you’ll need to proactively gather feedback from staff about what is and isn’t working. Gather feedback from staff to gain deeper insight into what’s going well and what challenges are coming up.
However, asking for feedback alone isn’t enough. You have to really listen to feedback and course-correct as necessary. You may not be able to respond to every request. However, when you hear recurring themes or concerns, pay attention and do what you can to address them.
Build a Remote Team
Building a remote team that’s productive and collaborative takes planning and intention, but it can be done. When you create an open and trusting culture that encourages staff to get involved and speak up, they’re bound to thrive.
For more advice on building a remote team, check out our Q and A’s.
By Emily Tetto | Categories: Remote Management