Having a solid company culture has multiple benefits such as increased employee engagement, strengthened brand image, and higher quality goal alignment. Developing this type of environment can be difficult when a company’s employees aren’t in one physical office location, but there are best practices for doing just that. Here are some fresh ideas for building company culture with remote employees.
1. Embrace the Remoteness
Some managers believe that the best way to build up culture with remote employees is by simulating the kind of interactions that office workers have through conference tools like Skype. However, by its definition simulation is “an act of pretending.” Instead of forcing the imitation of an office life, especially in the onboarding process, managers of remote teams should embrace the remote nature of their employees’ work. For example, instead of playing the 2 Truths and 1 Lie “icebreaker” game, remote employees could take a photo from inside their work vehicle and take turns at guessing which car belongs to which employee. This kind of staff exercise celebrates the remoteness of their jobs and can be just as engaging and fun as in-person icebreaker games.
2. Share Relevant Content
Building company culture is as much about employee engagement as it is about the reinforcement of the umbrella vision or goals set by high level leaders. Some managers like to bring employees together (in an office or online conference) to discuss the progress of the team, believing this the most effective way to reinforce goals. However, 17% of employees from this study reported that they would rather watch paint dry than attend a team meeting. This will be especially true for a team of employees that have characteristics that excel with independent work. A more organic way to spread company goals through a remote team is by sharing relevant content, such as articles or blogs that directly correspond with company visions. Some leaders even encourage their team to share animated Gifs that relate to the specific aspects of the company or remote work. The element of humor can go a long way towards understanding and reinforcing company culture.
3. Involve Work in Your Culture
Despite all the advice on the “perks” organizations should offer to attract new employees, this Zapier article points out that the most healthy company cultures have one important thing in common: their employees love their work. Employees are unlikely to stick around a job just for a foosball table or happy hour on Thursday nights. Involving remote employees in the decisions that affect their core activities can also be a way to build up a meaningful company culture. One relevant example for field teams is the decision on how best to communicate with other team members. Involve your team in this decision and let them weigh in on whether they prefer email, phone, or even more specialized communication through a mobile app. Even small decisions like this can place identity on the organization as a whole.
Erin P. Friar
Erin Friar is a Content Marketing Journalist Intern at Repsly, Inc. and is completing a Journalism degree at Suffolk University. She is a master of grammar and is passionate about creating fresh content to help foster efficiency and overall success in small businesses.