What once was only reserved and regarded as a hustle for freelancers has now become a new normal for almost every business post the Covid19 pandemic. Yes, it’s Remote Working! Companies of all types and sizes are realizing the true potential and long-term benefits of remote working. Employees, on the other hand, are enjoying remote work like nothing else.
A survey report shows that millennials are prioritizing remote work above any other mode of working and about 80% of employees working completely remotely are less stressed while working. Employees are not only the sole beneficiaries of remote work, but it also brings scores of benefits for the employers. Efficiency and productivity is believed to increase resulting in building a healthier workforce.
Amidst all the positive talk about remote work, there is one challenge that HRs and CEOs around the world face and wonder about with remote work — how to build a strong culture with a remote team. Recruiters usually complain of failing in building strong team culture in office setup; the remote team amplifies the challenge to many levels. This is where businesses ask a common question: how to build culture in a remote team?
Strong company culture matters significantly especially when you build a remote team and the team is spread over the globe working in different time zones and from different cultures. Strong company culture is regarded as the steering of the company that influences and drives the workforce’s decision toward a particular objective and goal.
Let us know in detail what exactly a strong company culture for a remote team means. We’ll also discuss how to build a strong culture in a remote team.
Remote Company Culture
To be honest, there is no particular definition of Culture. Each person can define culture in their own way and one cannot say what is wrong or what is right. When a large mass of people start practicing an idea, belief, or form of life and continue generation over generation, it becomes a Culture. Culture is like flowing water. It never ceases at one place or with one person. It keeps moving from place to place and from person to person.
Similarly, when it comes to Company Culture, it can be defined this way. Company culture is what and how you do at your workplace! Messy? Let’s make it simpler. Company culture is the overall characteristics of an organization, its shared values and attributes presented by the attitudes and behaviour of the employees of the organization. It largely encompasses how the employees interact with each other, the values they hold, and their decisions when representing the company.
The ‘what’ and ‘how’ in the above definition includes both the formal and informal behaviors and values an employee holds. In simple terms, it means how an employee represents himself in front of the public or even colleagues. It also includes what he does as a part of his job.
For example, the company has the general agenda to get on a Zoom call every morning at 10 AM. The Manager joins the zoom call 15 minutes late (what he does) and starts yelling at his co-workers and team members (how he does). This shows the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of an employee’s behavior and value. As said, culture is like flowing water. This behavior influences the upcoming Manager and other co-workers. They may carry the same values and behavior in the organization which will continue down the line.
How to Determine Company Culture?
Culture is something that can be felt even from outside of an organization. It hardly matters if your team is based out in a particular office or your employees are working remotely. Creating a healthy company culture is important for any type of organization. Remote company culture can be defined as an organization’s shared mission, principles, and values that the employees uphold. Therefore it is important to learn how to build effective remote team.
When you build a remote team, despite the fact that each team member is miles apart from one another, their common beliefs and guiding principles help the team to remain committed to one objective and goal and help them thrive in the company.
Maintaining a remote company culture is crucial as it:
- Defines a company’s purpose, mission, and objective
- Makes your company unique or different from your competitors
- Explain how things are done in the company
- Makes each employee responsible and accountable for company’s overall growth
There is no straight definition and pathway to build remote team. A positive remote company culture instills a sense of responsibility among the employees. It also prevents them from committing any unorganized behavior inside or outside the company (with co-workers or even outsiders). The team becomes more responsible and are less likely to move away from the prescribed work conditions, thus resulting in organization’s success by answering a common question: how to build a strong culture with a remote team?
It also brings innumerable benefits to an organization, some of which include:
- Better financial results
- Higher employee retention
- Better customer service
If you are wondering how to build effective remote team with a strong company culture, here we have you covered. We will discuss in detail how to build a strong culture with a remote team if you are planning to hire remote developers for your company
How to Build a Remote Team with a Strong Company Culture
The above discussion makes it clear how important it is to build remote team with a strong company culture. Now the question arises what is the process to make it or how it can be done. Read to know more:
Clear and Transparent Communication
The success of any remote business depends on how clearly and transparently the team communicates with each other. With a number of digital and video conferencing platforms available, the distance is no longer a challenge to build remote team. Though the team members are countries apart, online tools make communication and collaboration a cakewalk.
With tools like Zoom and Slack, you can bring your office culture to virtual space. By having open communication among the team members, employees tend to create a supportive team culture and are more likely to help each other in any project. Besides, effective communication creates seamless collaboration and timely completion of the project.
The virtual distance that remote teams face is of three types: physical distance, operational distance, and affinity distance. An effective communication plan must be laid out such that it bridges the gap of affinity distance. Affinity distance is all about relationships, values, trust, and interdependency. Once these gaps are filled, your company will experience a positive work culture that will inspire the newcomers too.
Make your virtual Onboarding Realistic
Onboarding new joiners is a very crucial process when you build remote team. Creating a smooth virtual onboarding is necessary. It sets a tone for how newcomers feel and perceive the company. It is the onboarding process where you, as an HR or CEO, want to make your new employees feel at home and comfortable in the team.
If you are wondering how to build a strong culture with a remote team, then onboarding is the first step to do so. Share your company’s mission, vision, and broad objectives and introduce them to your company culture. This will help them to cope with your remote work policies. It results in better cooperation and creating a healthy remote culture.
When you build remote team, besides sharing your company culture with new employees while onboarding, also clearly tell them what is the company expecting from them, how is the performance measured, the communication guidelines, collaboration protocols, etc.
Employing Software to Manage and Hire
Technology not only facilitates communication among distant teams, but it also assists managers in selecting the best employees and overseeing their staff. To save time, create better teams, and manage them more efficiently, savvy leaders are preferring to use software.
You do not need to screen individuals based on their location or their desire to relocate when you want to build a remote team. You can just hire the top applicant with the help of software. The employment market is highly competitive, and businesses require all the assistance they can get. You can save energy and cost by using software to speed up a talent search.
Software for management can help you with more than simply project management. For instance, you can find a solution that improves team management and leadership. With the software platform, managers can set targets, conduct weekly check-ins, and can even help in conducting one-on-one meetings. Software relieves managers of some of their duties and aids in locating blind spots, which are particularly prevalent in remote teams.
Remote team leaders usually advise using software to support and enhance human resources, workforce optimization, and leadership.
Gratitude for your employees’ contributions
According to research, achieving a company’s financial goals does not inspire the workforce. Employees are considerably more motivated to support the goals and missions of the organization when they get reward and recognition.
Many employees who work remotely are unable to contact their team leader or a reporting manager, which is a problem when you build remote team. This lack of interaction can quickly lead to self-esteem issues and a deterioration in the respect for rank-and-file employees’ roles. Additionally, they can doubt their ability to do effectively at their job if they do not receive praise from their supervisor for their efforts.
If you are wondering how to build a strong culture with a remote team, leaders should communicate with each team member and let them understand how important their work is to the accomplishment of the organization goals. If they feel important, they will easily develop a deeper sense of responsibility towards the team. This feeling will lead them to do better and collaborate with the rest of the group.
Performance Benchmarking Metrics
It is simpler to determine how much time an individual spends working when they are at work. When you build a remote team, this is more difficult. However, one of the most crucial aspects for remote team members is that they complete their tasks on schedule time and with professionalism. Instead of concentrating on how long it took them to finish anything, pay attention more to what is being accomplished.
Establish a set of metrics for each team member in order to monitor productivity properly. Do not overdo it when using various metrics to get a better complete idea of your team’s performance. You can even establish benchmarks based on past performance information once you have selected and computed the productivity indicators for your team.
You also need to consider the duties assigned to each team member when you build remote team since the duties may have evolved through time, just like certain metrics. However, some tried-and-true metrics continue to be the best course of action when dealing with specialized tasks.
Invest in the Team’s Growth
A leader does not become great by merely delegating work. A successful team leader devotes time and effort to their team’s ongoing training and development. The same thing goes for when you thought to build remote team.
Prioritize your spending on training and development because learning is the key to both personal and professional progression. The need for providing employees with access to continual training and development is nothing new. However, Millennials in the workforce have reemphasized its significance. It has got simple by initial planning, hiring, distributing computers, and opting for IT Staff Augmentation Services to get the adept staff to successfully build a remote team.
You must invest in the growth of your remote team if you are serious about creating one that is successful and productive. You can even conduct workshops and review sessions to achieve this. Offer your team members, if you can, a scholarship or study allowance. This will help them enroll in a course that will enhance their knowledge and productivity as a result.
Culture should not be Ignored
It takes time to create a company culture, therefore it is crucial to state your aim at each stage as you move forward. For any organisation or business to succeed, cultivating and maintaining a culture is essential. The same as with other things, the distance might make it more difficult to establish a company culture when you have to build remote team.
Now, the question arises how to build a strong culture with a remote team. You can start by nurturing that mindset, for instance, if your goal is to have everyone in the organisation approach their work in a more result-oriented way. You need to make sure the lines of communication are open first.
Although there are tools available, the secret to how to build culture in a remote team is to include culture in everything you do. It is recommendable to incorporate the company culture into all team meetings, one-on-one conversations, off-site, and other workplace events. You need to make sure the remote workforce is informed of the company’s principles and set an example for them.
Besides that, allow your team members to offer suggestions and point out places where your processes need to be improved. In the long run, this leads to self-improvement by enabling team members to develop a keen eye for ineffective habits. Apart from that, when you want to motivate your team members to pursue excellence, you must set high standards whether it is an accomplishment of a task or project or an improvement in an existing process.
Mental Health should be a Top Priority
The solitude that comes with working remotely is one of its main drawbacks. If it is not dealt with right away, it will probably build up and have a bad effect on someone’s health.
If you are a leader, you must provide spaces where people can actively discuss this and look for answers. It is not just the individual’s responsibility to look after their own mental wellbeing.
Here are some detailed recommendations you might use if someone asks you how to build effective remote team:
Accept the problem: Accepting that there is a problem with mental health while working remotely is the first step toward finding a solution.
Encourage participation with open culture: When you do not see your teammates or interact with them, it is simple to believe everything is good. Therefore, it is imperative that you make sure there is a space where everyone may speak freely. This will also help you to learn about how to build a strong culture with a remote team.
Encourage your teammates: It can be difficult to talk to others about your stress or depression issues. However, it is crucial that their teammates stand behind them after they have taken that action.
Also Read: IT Staff Augmentation vs Managed Services
Integrate it into your culture: Given that mental health is the top priority, your culture should reflect tangible actions that promote mental wellbeing. Many leaders come across this question about how to build culture in a remote team.
How to identify Culture in a team?
Culture refers to shared vision, responsibility, behaviour, and attitude of a firm being presented by its employees. Culture in a team can be identified by various ways like how the team communicates with each other, how the team collaborates on various projects, whether a team goes out for outing or not, how the bosses treat their employees, how the lower grade staffs are treated in an organization - everything sums up to culture.
Is it possible to instill culture in a remote team?
Absolutely yes! In a remote team, employees are only physically apart from each other. It is true going on a team lunch or picnic is not possible in a remote setup but a team can collaborate using various digital video conferencing platforms like Microsoft Team, Google Meet, Zoom, etc. to virtually e-meet each other, discuss plans, have some casual conversation too. This slowly builds up a friendly culture in a remote team.
What are the benefits of instilling culture in a remote team?
When you build a remote team with strong company culture, you always get positive vibes from your employees. The work environment becomes friendly and jovial. Employees are more dedicated towards achieving the company's mission and objectives. This also results in higher revenue for the company, timely completion of the projects, and builds a brand that attract more employees and customers as well.