How to build a company culture with a remote team?
Remote work is becoming more and more popular in France. But its implementation has often been carried out in a hurry - aka during the pandemic - without a well-defined strategy. Thus, many managers might still encounter difficulties in supervising their remote workers.
It must be said that managing a remote workforce differs from an on-site one, and it is necessary to be agile in management practices.
Wherever your team works, it’s essential to make sure they always feel connected. The best way to do that is to create an influential remote company culture that can deliver several benefits to your employees, including reduced turnover, increased productivity, less absenteeism, and happier employees.
Therefore, working remotely doesn't mean strong company culture has to wane.
So, how to create an effective employee culture in a virtual environment?
What are some work-from-home tools to use?
And what are the good practices of virtual management and virtual team-building?
This might sound obvious, but communication is key!
It's no surprise that communication plays a vital role in establishing a culture within a company. Imagine a company that does not communicate openly among its team members. How do you think they perceive each other, and how do you think the customer perceives them as a whole?
Companies should strive to embody the values set out in their vision, starting at the top. So even if your employees work virtually, they will know they are working for the same common goal.
Effective communication must be frequent and done via the right platforms. Fortunately, today, collaborative tools are very varied. Whether it’s Slack, Discord, Skype, or Zoom, staying in touch and collaborating is essential. However, remember that using too many different channels can be overwhelming.
In addition, when possible, preference should be given to video calls. As in-person interactions are being replaced, the manager can set a plan before the call and ensure everyone is aware of it.
Since these calls now replace traditional team meetings, everyone’s participation is essential. This way, each teleworker is aware of the team's projects and participates in the joint effort.
Take the time to have fun.
A good moment of laughter is what consolidates a team. We laugh, build good memories, and strengthen our employees’ bond.
However, Doing this with a distributed team might sound difficult since we cannot see each other face-to-face, and going to happy hour after a long day is no longer an option. But different new and innovative ways exist to build a fun remote work culture.
At Stakha, we have a few traditions of our own:
Each week, a team member prepares a game for the team where everyone plays. The winner gets a small reward, and the loser prepares the challenge for the week after. These games take up to 10-15 min every morning and help you start your day on a good note. This weekly challenge is a great initiative to help build a remote employee engagement.
Offsite meetings - or on-site in our case - is a meeting that takes place outside the usual office. The idea is to bring the team together to discuss big goals and brainstorm strategies and team-building activities. Offsites are frequently used to set quarterly plans and boost team morale.
Having a buddy
Joining a new team can be overwhelming, especially when you don’t quite know the remote team culture. At Stakha, building culture is significant, and that’s why we have a buddy system. Each newcomer is assigned a buddy who will help that employee through everything: introducing the work environment, having weekly check-ins, helping them with their work-life balance, etc. We believe this system will give the new employee a sense of belonging.
Employee recognition and transparency
In the office, we know what is going on through more or less formal discussions: team meetings, annual dinners, etc. In teleworking, it is just as essential to establishing transparency. We can never say it enough, being part of a team means moving toward a common goal and following the same core values.
We believe that by sharing weekly figures, quarterly and annual strategies for each team, along with the successes of the start-up; each member will feel included and invested in the company’s growth.
As you will have understood, transparency means doing everything, so everyone feels involved in the mission. We move forward and go further together by sharing data and giving each other positive and negative feedback.
Integrate new members
New hires and virtual onboardings can be a bit tricky. Thus, it is essential to pay particular attention to the profiles of the candidates. At Stakha, for example, we have set up a dedicated process to verify the match between the company values and the candidate’s (culture fit).
In most remote companies, when new employees join the team, a colleague is responsible for integrating them during the first few weeks. The latter is his referent if he has questions concerning the organization, the management of the tools, and his objectives. It does not matter which position you join the company; you must add your photo accompanied by a description on the company’s website to familiarize yourself with the product. In addition, you have “coffee calls” to spend with random company members to discover the different departments and take the pulse of the company culture. These moments make it possible to realize that colleagues share the same values even on the other side of the world in a different time zone.
Integrate new members
Working in a team requires everyone to understand their role and complete their tasks on time. It is therefore essential to be able to follow the progress of the project without constantly holding team members to account. This is where digital project management solutions come in.
Notion is software for project management and note-taking. It allows employees better to organize their deadlines, tasks, and objectives to increase efficiency. This workspace is also a great way to work asynchronously and collaborate in real-time or with teams in different time zones. Easy to use and available online, the solution can be used immediately, free of charge.
Slack is a messaging application dedicated to collaborative work; it is a communication tool that allows employees of the same company to exchange messages, files, and projects.
“A casual communication tool like Slack could significantly reduce the time teams spend writing emails and attending meetings that could be transitioned into Slack channel formats.”
A company needs to create a Slack instance, name it, and then create different channels. You can then invite all employees to join, and then they will receive access to the various channels relevant to them.
A channel can be public, meaning anyone can see and join it. It can also be private.
Whether it's a channel or a private message, each chat window offers the same possibilities. It is possible to read and respond to the various messages, use emojis as reactions, or send GIFs. It is also possible to configure memos, view RSS feeds, or receive notifications from Add-In extensions.
Claap develops and publishes a platform allowing teams to participate in meetings without being and seeing each other simultaneously. It offers a solution that allows employees to record a short video update on a topic, comment on the relevant part, and set a deadline for team members to respond. Colleagues then watch the video and respond at their own pace. It is convenient when you present a feature or a project and primarily when you work remotely, where you generally need to synchronize more often.
Managing a remote team? Here are some tips to follow
I asked our Co-founder Amaury de Thibault to give his input regarding the tips to follow:
“I believe that good mental health is vital, and in order to help employees with that, there are two main key points to follow to build a great remote organization.
The first is: to keep open communication.
To be more specific, over-communication: you need to speak about the goals, the values, the missions, and the role of the company along with the roles of each team member.
Let the employees be involved in the hiring process; all the information related to the organization should be accessible to everyone within the company.
”He continues to say “secondly: give ownership to your employees “it’s impossible to track what people are doing at home, and managers should be able to fully trust their employees.
And so the only way to know your employees are giving their best is to make sure their objectives are clear and know why their role is important at the company.”
The transition from office work to telework is sometimes a source of complications for the teams and their managers, who must evolve traditional management methods and implement new strategies to manage their teams remotely.
Permanent supervision is replaced by other management methods based on trust and autonomy. Thus, instead of counting the hours of connection, the manager might set up a management system by results and measure the objectives and results produced by each team member.
By giving them all the autonomy and confidence they need to carry out their missions, the teams learn to take responsibility.
At Stakha we have a remote-first policy from day one, and we encourage our entire team to continue to foster a great company culture that is supportive and responsive to their needs. Check out our open positions here:
We have 90 open positions in full-remote, in France and the rest of Europe!