Remote work provides a benefit galore for most HR departments. Talent acquisition officers can recruit talent without geographic constraints, increasing the chances of attracting the right talent. They have to worry less about the devices employees will use at work, how to organise the workplace, and how to solve face-to-face conflicts. As for employees, the promise of a better work-life balance and flexibility is satisfying enough to embrace remote work.
However, the reality of running a remote workforce can present HR with a number of challenges, including how to communicate effectively, support individuals, and embrace team cohesion. While technology such as intranet software goes a long way in helping solve these concerns, a company’s culture is just as important in making remote working a success.
Why culture is vital in any workplace
Culture creates a sense of community and camaraderie in any workplace. It makes employees feel like they “belong” and might even give them some sense of pride. In turn, this improves employee engagement and increases retention rates. It also trickles down to how your workforce reacts to change. When every employee is on the same page concerning company goals, you can enjoy less friction when making sensitive changes to your organisation.
Company culture will create a sense of community in your workplace
The role of technology in building team culture
Smartphones and laptops are your biggest advantage for creating a connection between remote teams. Whether you want to reinforce an agile, collaborative, or accountability culture, your best channel is through technology.
Ideally, employees need to be connected through a single intranet network and use common tools for project and document management. They will also need to experience the human side of anyone on the other end of the screen. Working with apps such as internal social media will allow them to chat about things that aren’t work-related and promote team chemistry.
Connect your remote workers with tech such as internal social media
Consider cultural fit when hiring…
The conventional recruitment style is flawed. Often, recruiters only focus on the qualifications of a prospective employee on paper. While a prospect might seem good on paper, they may kill your team’s morale if their personal values differ with the rest of the team members.
These are the kind of individuals who might argue a lot or even resist change in the organisation. When hiring, you should look beyond qualifications and identify what makes the person tick. As long as they support your cause, there will be less friction between them and the rest of the team. Just be mindful not to fall into a bias trap, which can negatively impact diversity.
…but avoid being biased
Focusing only on personal values when recruiting can breed some bias among recruiters. In most cases, they will be searching for people who are like them. Without enough levels of control in the recruitment process, you may unconsciously discriminate some recruits with regard to religion, race, or even disability.
Yes, this might create a workplace that has like-minded people, but it kills the advantages you can get from a diverse digital workplace. With a diverse team, you can gain access to different opinions and personalities, making decision making more informed and increasing engagement.
Diverse teams lead to different perspectives and better engagement
Express your cultural goals often
Communication is the building block for strong remote team chemistry. Whenever team members veer away from the kind of culture you are building, let them know. For example, if an employee fails to communicate their progress in a task, approach and correct them.
Rectifying such minor mistakes can contribute towards building a strong culture, but be sure to avoid micromanaging. Similarly, whenever you achieve a milestone, find ways to celebrate with your remote team. Good reasons for celebrating can be when you land a new client or when you complete a project.
How you reward the team will depend on their personalities. While some might appreciate praise, others will value a day off or even monetary rewards. The more you interact with your team members, the easier it becomes to know what they appreciate most and to create a personalised employee recognition program.
Fortifying your organisation’s culture eliminates the guesswork in how remote team members interact with each other. And using technology to build your remote team culture will give it the best chance of success.