How to Build a Strong Remote Culture for Your Company

Hire the best candidates

Of course, hire the best candidates based on their skills, their mindset matching your company’s stage of development, and the right fit for the culture of your company. There are hundreds of guides to assess an employee’s skill set, however matching their mindset and your stage of development requires more effort. At the beginning you need hustlers, yet in the middle or “business perfection” level, you need executioners to bring home the bacon. Taking time to hire the smart people who fit in your culture enables an organic cultural development with buy-in from everybody.

Create a set of rules to live by

In order to hire the best candidates, you need a context to frame the term “best” within. The most engaging process involves collectively creating a set of rules to live by. Collectively requires more than the upper management level, it includes everyone. You can start with five or six generic values and let everyone re-express or expand each one until you have a clear set of rules to live by. This can become the foundation of your culture and can be used to discuss the performance of individuals and the entire business. Essentially it becomes the “happy trail,” the fundamentals of keeping everybody happy; it will evolve in time.

Onboard your new hires in style

On boarding new hires helps them understand what the company is about and helps the company understand who they as individuals are. You will have to build a process with rituals that cause employees to interact and express who they are, the best ways to work with them and the best ways they like to work. If some parts of your process does not work for your new hires, be prepared to let it go.

Effective communication is critical

Without effective and open communication the remote team will fall apart. Everyone should be able to communicate either in writing or video chat asynchronously, or synchronously in direct meetings. This should also be a key element in hiring the best candidates. There is a structure and norms that will characterize the tools everyone uses:

Establish synchronous communication tools

(Zoom, G Suite Essentials, Microsoft Teams)

  • Software tools you will use for collaboration (Google Docs, Microsoft 365 Suite, design and development software, virtual whiteboards, etc.)
  • Determine common calendaring, “office hours,” average response times, etc.
  • Establish communication norms regarding which team members to notify, thereby not leaving out copywriters when product launch details are altered.

Implementing communication standards significantly improves the company’s culture. It assists team members in being respectful of other people’s time while opening up opportunities to seek help and build camaraderie

Keep teams small

Small teams promote greater effectiveness. Big groups allow team members to purposely or accidentally hide. Smaller groups require everyone’s participation in order to be effective. Most importantly, managers must focus on each member to make sure that they learn and have clarity on pertinent issues. Within that context, managers develop great personal relationships with their team members which boosts the motivation of remote team members. Happy employees persevere when times get rough, stay loyal when the other grass looks greener and embrace the overall culture instead of trying to skate around it.

Make time for fun

Remember remote companies don’t have two hour company lunches, special recognition parties or happy hours. Nothing defines the most enjoyable aspects of the company culture like the special events. So before you get out the world’s smallest violin, it might be time to engage your digital creativity to create those “happy touch points.”

  • Schedule casual team calls once or twice a week discussing things outside of work. Everyone adds something about their viewpoint about their “I RL – in real life, experiences.”
  • Keep these types of events very chill by having company-sponsored pizza with beer or wine delivered.
  • Some remote teams have found ways to play board games while partying on Zoom or other platforms.

The final and most important practice is to make sure people are taking enough time off. This encourages loyalty and prevents burnout. Happy employees is the new elixir for conscientious quality work.

Encourage synchronous communication

Remote team meetings can be weekly, monthly or even short daily chats. The work culture and productivity scheduling determine what works best. However, standard meeting best practices promote team member engagement and fulfillment. Sharing agendas ahead of time and managers taking notes, creating action items and follow-ups keep each meeting valuable for all involved. A team member may feel left out until they get the manager’ s action items and follow-ups that show their specific input actually made a difference. Your synchronous time is very important, and you must use it wisely to prevent wasting time that could be used for individual work.

Check-in with people on both professional and personal fronts

Managers must make conscious efforts to keep members from going silently unnoticed in the background. Checking in with team members on both professional and personal friends is the vital preventative medicine. A racecar driver doesn’t just insist upon a gleaming spotless engine as a matter of pride. A drop of fuel or oil is immediately noticed so that disaster can be avoided.

Knowing how a team member feels about way you do things, what would make it better, how is it not fun working in the company, and simply what can be done to make their life easier? The time and effort it takes to cultivate a happy team member, and sent to a bargain versus hiring again.

Reward, recognize and relieve people

Rewarding team members for exemplary work literally builds a great remote team culture. It not only sets an example for others to follow, the recognition directly addresses the values that frame the team culture. It makes the journey very simple by rewarding people based on how they adhere to the processes/values and deliver results in a remote setup, following the company’s values. Reward and recognition should be expected.

On the other end, those who do not, despite all the levers of help that are offered, must be shed from the organization. Relieving team members of their responsibilities must stay consistent and free of shame for not fitting in the company’s corporate culture. You never know if that person’s work pattern may fit perfectly in the future.

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