Building Remote Team Culture With Strong, Personal Relationships


Besides having discussions, it’s also important to have all of it down in writing. The best way to do this is simply to create a document on the topic in an accessible place to have it on hand for everyone to access and edit/comment on at any time. Effective and open communication is absolutely crucial in a remote team.

With a healthy team culture, everyone in your team can be happier, more engaged, and productive in the work that they do. In a good team culture, members of a team understand group and individual purpose as well as their role within the team. It’s vital to know why you are doing the work you are doing and believe in the goals and purpose of the team. Another way to develop a sense of autonomy is by setting employees up with opportunities to grow, develop, and work on special projects. As they create and work on things outside of their immediate job role, their sense of autonomy increases. The 2020 Global Culture Report shows that when employees feel they can take advantage of these unique opportunities, there is a 33% greater sense of high autonomy.

Regular positive interaction through recognition and appreciation should be a top goal among business owners, executives, and managers. Giving meaningful words and showing gratitude increases the bond between leaders and team members. The SHRM/Globoforce Survey 2015 Employee Recognition Report showed recognition increased employee happiness at work by 86 percent. Vulnerability can be difficult for some, but on a strong team, walls come down. As best-selling author, speaker, and researcher Brené Brown says, true leadership requires vulnerability. Above all, it shows your employees that you value them and their work.

Each person then writes down a few words to describe what they value most about the person named on the page. For some groups, big picture thinking around team purpose is enough to feel galvanized, connected, and ready to move forward. For others, it’s important to connect core purpose to concrete actions at the outset in order to get them on board. A strong team culture is one where everyone in the team is aligned on purpose, values, behaviors, and working practices while also feeling they are celebrated as individuals. If you ask enough top executives about their leadership style, you’re likely to hear a number of them say, “I hire the best people and get out of their way.” It’s a good line that makes sense at a certain level. Hiring the right people is the most important part of building a strong team, of course, and delegating to give people more autonomy is a powerful motivator.

What Is Team Culture?

Rather than encouraging competition, a culture of teamwork creates opportunities for employees to work together and use all available resources and skills to reach business-wide goals. Having a remote team doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t have a “watercooler”. Quite the opposite—this “offtopic” environment is even more important to have in a remote environment. Most remote teams we know use various how to build a team culture chat apps for their internal communication—whether it’s Slack, Fleep, or anything else. And although this doesn’t mean everyone in the company then acts in the same way, it has a negative impact on company culture. The support and safety offered by strong team/company cultures has been weakened as a result, and employees are unlikely to speak up about things that aren’t in line with their own values.

Aside from the teambuilding that happens during the onboarding of new employees, it’s great to have that flow going in everyday work, too. Being kept in the loop means that employees feel more important, connected and informed. A workshop to explore personal traits and interpersonal relations using the Myers-Briggs personalities model. Use this tool to go deeper with your team to understand more about yourselves and each other on personal and professional levels.

how to build a team culture

Use this exercise at the end of a project or program as a way to reinforce learnings, celebrate highlights and create closure. When working in a virtual team, it’s helpful to acknowledge the unique and sometimes challenging nature of remote work in order to come up with a set of working practices that are fit for purpose. This method from Hyper Island is designed especially to help a virtual team define how they want to work together while surfacing some of the challenging elements of remote working in a productive way. A workshop to support teams to reflect on and ultimately increase their alignment with purpose/goals and team member autonomy. Use this workshop to strengthen a culture of personal responsibility and build your team’s ability to adapt quickly and navigate change. Without a shared purpose, it’s hard for a group to feel like they are pulling in the right direction and might not even understand why they are doing what they are doing.

This factor is central to a company’s team culture and overall success. According to research conducted by PwC, businesses with defined, articulated values make employees feel twice as proud and passionate about their job. As part of our team’s effort to build relationships with each other, we use chat apps like Slack and encourage each other to share photos of their pets, friends, family, and anything fun.

Start by writing down “Meaningful” and “Pleasant” and inviting the group to share how they will make the meeting or workshop have those outcomes. By then asking participants to agree on what an idea means and how they might ensure it happens, you can effectively move towards creating a code of conduct you all feel empowered to follow. Team culture can often feel like an indescribable, effusive thing and your group might have different ideas of what your team culture is.

Trust Battery

And it means that if they have an out-of-the-box idea for the team, they may think twice before sharing it, out of fear it will be dismissed. If team members don’t feel respected, they won’t be motivated to bring their best ideas — and their best selves — to work. Most people can’t remember more than three things day-to-day, and the lists don’t need to somehow address all potential human behavior, good and bad.

how to build a team culture

Bring teams in when you’re looking at new trends in the market, or need to see things through new eyes. It’s important to mix it up and not have the same people making the same decisions all the time. Make it your aim to catch people doing something right,” says best-selling leadership and business author Michael Hyatt in a blog on his website. Whether it’s cooking, painting, or even an online game, figure out what activities can be brought online for your team to bring everyone closer together. In addition to transparency from top to bottom, there also needs to be full transparency when it comes to horizontal processes in the company. This means attention to the work process, dependencies and collaboration—clarity about who does what, why and how, and how different roles and workflows are connected.

Take Advantage Of The Time You Have Together In Person

Creating job descriptions and responsibilities with real people in mind helps business owners and managers think strategically about the teams they’re building. While building strong team bonds remotely is necessary, it’s important to take advantage of any time you have in person. If teamwork is only important at the yearly company retreat, employees will return to competitive work norms as soon as they’re back in the office.

Personality tests can be great tools for improving group and personal understanding. Being aware of both your own personality type and those of your colleagues can be massively helpful for your team. Not only can it help a group understand actions and motivations, but it can also make it easy to see and celebrate strengths too. Try using some of these activities to help a group appreciate one another and build an appreciative team culture where everyone is seen and valued. The result is a team of people who know each other better, feel more comfortable sharing what’s important to them, and are better positioned to contribute to an open and inclusive team culture. What I Need From You is a simple framework for helping members of a team express their needs simply and clearly and repair relationships that might have been damaged under previous working practices.

There’s a difference between just recognizing the value of team culture and actually putting it into practice as an infinite goal for team development. Taking a human-centric leadership approach creates and sustains strong team connections by supporting individuals working together toward a collective, broader company purpose. Building team culture requires constructive feedback that is transparent, honest, and demonstrates care from employers. Speaker and author Kim Scott calls this type of feedback “radical candor.” In order to have radical candor, leaders must know each individual on their team on a personal level. They should know their strengths and weaknesses, their goals, what they need in terms of support, how they like to be appreciated—the list goes on.

How To Build A Successful Team

In a good culture, the opposite would happen because they know their company and peers support them. An example of poor team culture is when people don’t feel connected to one another. Of all the methods there are for building team culture, having fun as a team can be one of the most transformative. Simply feeling more connected and getting to know each other outside of working roles can be instrumental in helping your team culture grow. Hearing about your strengths and receiving positive feedback from others is an effective way of building bonds and creating a healthy team culture. For this exercise, start by having each participant write down their names on the bottom of a piece of paper before handing it to the person to their left.

First, leaders in charge of building teams must strategize for each individual job and the duties for these positions. Team-building shouldn’t be limited to a few days at a corporate retreat every year. Instead, think of team building as something that the people in your business do every day.

  • A good team culture is one where everyone is treated how they want to be treated and you are aligned on working practices.
  • You’ll need a set of values, behaviors and cultural guardrails so that everybody knows how to work together.
  • Following up and following through is key to showing you take suggestions and opinions seriously.
  • When teams have strong bonds with one another and their leader, there is 42% greater odds team members will feel they have high autonomy.
  • The negative attributes of these teams can lead to drops in productivity, profitability and job growth.

Make executives and managers available to answer questions, address difficulties, and mentor new employees. Have clear reporting mechanisms and systems in place for addressing employee concerns. If team members are not getting along, examine the work processes they mutually own. Provide training to your managers so they can successfully encourage collaboration within the teams they supervise.

Business owners and executives must work to deliberately build teamwork among their employees. Respect and honesty are important elements of a strong company culture, helping to build positive, caring qualities within the team and helping everyone get to know each other. Once again, these attributes are crucial at a time like this, so it’s important to let your team know you care about them during what has been a tough period for many people. Laughing and having fun together between tough tasks and periods of hard work can be integral to building a great team culture, even if it’s just ten minutes in your day. Try these games and activities if you want an easy, low-impact way to start building a fun team culture. As with all aspects of team culture, it’s vital that a group is open and honest about where they are at and what problems they face with trust in order to move forward.

How To Build Strong Team Culture

However, keeping an open mind about creating a more modern work environment shows a progressive business culture. Trying out these policies or taking suggestions from employees could help increase retention, productivity levels, and inspire more innovation from within. Innovation doesn’t always come from the top, but the top creates the right environment for it to thrive. Employees at innovative companies aren’t afraid of making mistakes because their leaders treat error and failure as learning experiences rather than a cause for termination. Having the right team players is one of the most important parts of building the right culture.

Treat Strong Team Culture As A Infinite Goal

Regardless, the general consensus seems to be that culture in a team isn’t about individual performances, personalities or attitudes—it’s about how the team works together as a cohesive unit. Not only is this important in times of strife, but by building relationships with your team, you’re more readily able to understand their strengths, weaknesses and skills to be developed in the future, too. If getting everyone on the same page is something you’ve struggled with in the past, then you should find this article useful. We’ll run through some definitions of team culture, why it’s important, and some methods you can use to start building a better team culture going forward. With the ability to boost productivity, profitability and job growth, here’s how and why you should put the effort into creating a positive team culture. Having fun as a group is especially important for virtual teams who may not have as many opportunities for spontaneous games or exercises.

When you have these discussions in person, for example during a retreat, make sure to still write them down as you go—ideally right as the discussion is happening. Start by asking everyone to write down things that meaningfully impact the team, both internally and externally. Next, invite the group to decide whether these items fall in under the circle of influence or the circle of concern. Debrief and discuss in order to help everyone understand and align on what items they should or should not focus energy on in the future. With this activity the participants get to know each other on a deeper level.

Giving everyone a voice and making sure everyone feels comfortable to share their opinions and ideas means there will be a lot more different viewpoints and opinions to take into account. Simply mentioning it once and then falling back into previous habits is not enough; team members need to feel a sense of purpose runs through everything they do to continually grow and improve their productivity. Bang is a group game, played in a circle, where participants must react quickly or face elimination. One person stands in the middle of the circle as “the sheriff”, pointing at other players who must quickly crouch while those on either side of them quickly “draw”.

How To Build Strong, Personal Relationships For A Remote Team

All additional elements—principles, participants, structure, and practices—are designed to help achieve the purpose. By shaping these five elements together, participants clarify how they can organize themselves to adapt creatively and scale up for success. For big initiatives, P2P makes it possible to include a large number of stakeholders in shaping their future initiative. With this method, start by defining your shared purpose before introducing key elements—principles, participants, structure, and practices— that will help the team achieve that purpose in concrete terms.

For instance, there might be a digital marketing team, a customer service team, and an IT team. While these groups’ job is to support the company’s vision, mission, and values, building strong bonds within their own team is equally important. This is because within these groups is where close-knit interpersonal relationships form, which is where team culture develops.

We made sure we were mindful of a meal plan that worked across time zones! Learning cooking tips from one another and seeing how everyone’s dishes turned out proved to be an amazing bonding experience. This simple act helps us share our personalities and learn more about each others’ past experiences and fun facts — all of which we wouldn’t have heard otherwise. If you’re on the search for the best ice breakers, a simple online personality test or Buzzfeed quiz is a good place to start. Employees who are comfortable with each other, communicate easily, and feel that management is listening to them are better able to work collaboratively.

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