As remote work takes over the world, HR must ensure company culture is not lost in the transition. Here are 6 tips for enhancing culture in remote teams.
Here's what you need to know:
- To enhance company culture in remote teams, reevaluate your hiring and onboarding process and communicate effectively
- Promote collaboration among remote teams and prioritize employee well-being and work-life balance
- Collect employee feedback from your remote team, reward employees, and celebrate successes
Company culture is vital for employee productivity, satisfaction, and retention in today’s work environment. The right mix of values, beliefs, goals, and attitudes can go a long way toward setting your business apart as an excellent place to work. On the other hand, a poor culture can quickly lead to low morale and a high turnover rate.
Positive employee culture is especially critical for remote teams. The lack of face-to-face interaction often makes remote employees feel disconnected from the company. Without a creative approach, HR professionals and team managers can fail at fostering the cohesiveness and trust necessary to maximize job satisfaction and retention.
If you are struggling to establish a unique culture that resonates with your remote team, you can turn things around with the right culture-building strategy. Read on for our top 6 tips for enhancing company culture in remote teams.
1. Reevaluate your hiring and onboarding process
Solid cultures start during the recruitment phase of building a team. So, if you want a culture with a strong foundation, consider the initial stages of the employee journey.
Below are 3 upgrades you can give your existing hiring and employee onboarding process to make it more accommodating to remote teams.
- Base your employer brand on flexibility: Ensure your employer brand highlights your company’s commitment to remote work. You can revamp your website, job descriptions, and social media accounts to focus more on work-from-home benefits.
- Create an engaging remote onboarding experience: Use the right solutions and resources to create an onboarding process that helps new hires feel like part of the team from day 1. For example, you can use an employee portal to provide access to the resources they need to hit the ground running.
- Implement a remote mentorship program: Pairing new employees with a mentor will help them acclimate to the company culture and build relationships with other team members.
2. Communicate effectively with remote employees
Communication can get disjointed when working remotely because teams do not have the same natural conversations as in an office setting. To avoid communication issues that could undermine your culture, you must establish clear communication channels and frequency expectations from the outset.
Use the pointers below to combat communication difficulties in remote environments.
- Set up basic communication rules for metrics like the channels to use, acceptable response times, message types, and the duration of meetings.
- Normalize over-communicating. In a remote setting, it is better to err on the side of too much communication than too little.
- Schedule regular team check-ins, both 1-on-1 and in group settings. Frequent check-ins will help you gauge how everyone is doing and identify potential cultural problems early.
- Encourage informal communication by creating opportunities for casual conversations, such as virtual coffee breaks, social events, or even just a dedicated channel for non-work-related topics.
- Address conflict early before it festers and becomes a more significant issue. Use video conferencing to have difficult conversations in real-time so that everyone can express their thoughts and feelings openly.
3. Promote collaboration among remote teams
One of the primary challenges of remote work is creating adequate collaboration opportunities. For example, team members working in different locations often find it challenging to hold impromptu meetings or “watercooler” chats.
These issues can lead to feelings of isolation and weaken company culture when left unchecked.
Encouraging collaboration among remote employees helps build trust and solidify company culture. Here are some ways to promote teamwork in a remote setting.
- Encourage video conferencing for as many meetings as possible. Seeing each other’s faces helps create a stronger connection among remote employees.
- Create dedicated collaboration spaces using tools like Slack, Google Docs, and Trello. These spaces can help remote employees feel like they are working together in the same office.
- Promote non-work-related interaction. For example, you can create regular virtual social events, such as happy hours and game nights, and invest in occasional offsites for some physical bonding.
4. Prioritize employee well-being and work-life balance
Staff working from home can often feel isolated and overworked, leading to burnout. According to Buffer’s 2022 State of Remote Work report, 25% of employees regard unplugging from work as a top struggle when working remotely. Therefore, employee well-being is an essential component of remote-friendly company culture.
Consider implementing these ideas to show your remote employees that their well-being matters.
- Encourage work-life balance: One of the benefits of remote work is the ability to create a better work-life balance. Push your team to take advantage of working from home by allowing flexible schedules and implementing a no-work policy after working hours.
- Promote physical activity: A sedentary lifestyle can lead to various health problems. Urge your team to get up and move around regularly by scheduling virtual workouts or providing standing desks.
- Provide wellness resources: Support your employees’ well-being by offering resources like counseling services, mindfulness app subscriptions, and gym memberships.
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5. Collect employee feedback from your remote team
Encouraging employees to give feedback is another great way to enhance company culture in remote teams. A feedback-rich work environment makes your remote staff feel valued and allows you to address cultural weak points effectively.
Implement these ideas when soliciting feedback from your remote team.
- Encourage honest feedback: People are often hesitant to give candid feedback, especially in a remote setting. Create a safe environment for employees to speak their minds by ensuring anonymity and confidentiality.
- Make it easy to give feedback: The process for providing feedback must be straightforward. Consider using a tool like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to collect feedback electronically.
- Follow up on feedback: Show your employees that you are taking their feedback seriously by following up with them after receiving it and letting them know your actions.
6. Reward employees and celebrate successes
Recognizing high-performing employees is one of the building blocks of any company’s culture. When done right, rewards and recognition programs help teams feel appreciated and more aligned with their organization’s values and beliefs.
When done right, rewards and recognition programs help teams feel appreciated and more aligned with their organization’s values and beliefs.
However, sharing appreciation can be tricky with a remote team. The lack of physical interaction means traditional methods such as high-fives are off the table. Instead, you must get creative with how you recognize employees and celebrate wins.
Here are some ideas you can implement.
- Normalize frequent online recognition: With a remote team, you cannot wait until the quarterly meeting to give employees credit. Get in the habit of sharing appreciation frequently and publicly via email, video conferencing, or a company-wide chat tool.
- Make it personal: A generic “Great job!” message will not have the same impact as specific recognition. Take the time to write a personal commendation highlighting an employee’s unique contributions.
- Acknowledge milestones: Birthdays, work anniversaries, and project milestones are all opportunities to celebrate your team. Recognize these events with a special mention during a team meeting or a small gift sent to their home.
- Send physical gifts: A physical token of appreciation is a thoughtful way to show your employees that you are thinking about them. Make sure the gift is personal and relevant to their interests.
- Celebrate successes big and small: A significant project win deserves a big celebration, but do not forget the small achievements along the way. No matter how small, a job well done needs a celebration to keep employees motivated.
Stay ahead in the job market with a remote-focused company culture
As the global workforce becomes increasingly remote, companies that succeed at fostering remote-1st cultures will have a significant advantage in the job market. With the right strategies in place, you can create a company culture that will attract top talent and help your business thrive.
A positive culture for remote teams is informed by:
- A remote-focused hiring and onboarding process
- Proper communication and collaboration
- Frequent recognition and feedback
- A focus on wellness and work-life balance
- A solid reward and recognition program
Implement the tips above to create a positive culture for your remote team and maintain an advantage in today’s increasingly employee-driven job market.