Establishing a strong team culture is important in any business and company, but I think it can almost be more important to create one when you are working with a virtual, remote team. When you work in an office with your team, your co-workers, and your peers it becomes almost automatic that people will connect, chat, pop into your office to ask a question and bond over after work drinks or through social gatherings. When your team is located all over the country and in different time zones, the extra effort is going to need to be made to create and maintain a strong team culture within your business.
The strongest way to build culture among your virtual team is through communication. Most of our communication is done in writing either through email, tools like Slack or texting so we have to make sure we work extra hard to establish a strong team culture.
Today I am walking you through 5 surefire ways to start growing your virtual team culture. And if you are just getting started building your team make sure to check out my post on the 6 things you should do before you hire your first virtual team member.
Tip #1: Take the Lead
One of the most important things to remember as the leader of your tribe is to set the example. Your actions, the way you communicate to the way you interact with everyone can set the tone for the entire team. If you want your team to be a cohesive and effective powerhouse they will most definitely be looking to you to set the tone and establish the environment you wish you create.
Tip #2: Connect Around Your Core Values
Showing your team what your business is all about and diving into the why and the heart of your brand and business is so crucial when building your team culture. You want to share your core values, your vision and mission statement of your business so your team can get excited about being part of something so great and wonderful. It can also build a sense of unity and show the team that they are all working together towards a common purpose. From my experience working on different virtual teams and seeing behind the scenes in numerous businesses I can honestly say that the biggest reward was feeling like I was apart of something special and truly helping people.
Tip #3: Have a space online for everyone to come together
We are so fortunate that we live in a time with so many ways of communicating. Make sure to utilize a communication tool or platform like Slack, Google Hangouts or Skype and encourage your team to use it for some non-work chats as well. You could even create a separate channel for this purpose as to not distract from getting actual work done. You want to make sure everyone gets to know each other outside of their role on your team so those connections can be deepened and relationships can evolve.
Tip #4: Create an open space/environment for feedback
Feedback makes business go round! This is such an important topic that I could probably write a month’s worth of posts on because I feel so strongly about it. You want to ensure that your team feels comfortable enough to ask questions when necessary, be open to receiving feedback and for providing it. If the environment you create feels open, honest and encouraging it can do wonders to understanding how satisfied your team is not only within their role but with projects, policies and the culture itself.
Tip #5: Have in-person retreats and planning sessions
There really is nothing like being around the people you work so closely with day in and day out. Although not always feasible and can be considered somewhat of a luxury perk, being able to meet in-person with your team at least once a year if possible can do amazing things for strengthening and building your team’s relationship and culture. Being able to meet my virtual teammates in person established such a deeper bond than I ever anticipated. They become more like friends and people I truly felt comfortable with.
Meeting in-person can combine business and pleasure by planning some team building activities or just time to hang out and get to know each other better along with business planning sessions or hashing out quarterly or annual goals together. Again being in alignment and on the same page when it comes to the vision for the year ahead and the goals needing to be achieved you are continuing to build an amazing virtual team in the process.
If you are thinking of planning an in-person retreat in the near future, make sure to grab my FREE team retreat agenda template below!