In the past year, remote work has been on the rise. However, one area that companies who suddenly went remote have often neglected is company culture. Company culture is more easily defined in an office space, where meetings, company lunches, and holiday parties can take the place of getting to know employees on their terms. Unfortunately, there is no such luxury when managing a virtual team.
When doing so, you will have to evaluate where your team is at and how they are feeling using non-traditional methods and virtual tools. Company culture is not just about shared interaction in that sense, but also shared values. Not only are shared values guiding principles you can use when interacting with the team, but these values can also be translated to customer or client interactions. For example, if a company builds its core values around honesty and integrity, then it needs to show these values when it works with customers and clients. This can be done by holding customers and clients to high standards, and not tolerating when they berate team members for minor issues. This will help remote team members feel like their employer has their back, even when they cannot physically see each other.
Employers can also use various fun teambuilding techniques using virtual tools. Off-topic Slack channels and Zoom happy hours are a good way to get employees talking with each other, and they can share everything from great music and movie recommendations to travel photos and photos of their pets and children. This makes employees feel closer to each other and allows them to find some common ground within a virtual team.
On top of this, you can emphasize shared goals by making virtual team members really feel like they are a part of a team. Because Slack, email and other digital communication tools are so decentralized, companies can get rid of rigid hierarchies and allow digital tools help them identify and emphasize the unique strengths of each team member. While every person is, of course, in their own role, things like client management or customer satisfaction is now more of a team effort, particularly in smaller companies that have gone remote. This can help employees feel that they have a shared purpose and you can draft KPIs around both business goals and employee expectations in order to make sure that the business operations as efficiently as possible.
Overall, promoting culture in a virtual team is an opportunity and should be seen as such. Not only can companies take advantages of the unique advantages of digital tools, but they can also work hard to grow their core values as a company, as this is what will keep employees on the team for years to come. They can also go out of their way to allow employees to share things about themselves that may not have come up in an office setting, and they can even help to invest in their employees home office setups in order to create cohesion among virtual team members. While none of this will emphasize company culture on its own, combined, all of these factors will allow you to better engage and focus a virtual team while keeping them happy within their roles.