Culture and Personal Growth in WFH Teams

Last Updated Apr 2020
Culture and Personal Growth in WFH Teams

How can you build a positive team culture when your team is scattered across the continent/ world? How can you attend to the personal growth of your team when you only interact with them online?

To different teams, culture means slightly different things. But overall it means how a company/ team does things. It is usually manifested in how a team communicates with each other, behaves, makes decisions, and in their beliefs, attitudes and the values they uphold.

A great team culture is an essential part of a high performing team. While teams working in an office easily have the chance to cultivate their culture through different types of shared experiences, a remote team has to put more effort into and be more deliberate about shaping their culture.

Here are some effective steps you can take to build a positive company culture with your remote team while boosting their personal growth effectively.

Define company culture

Define your company culture

While culture is ever changing, altered by those who newly join your team, you can always set the cultural foundation. This entails defining the values you uphold and you want your team to uphold. Document these and store them in an accessible location, preferably online, so anyone - including new employees - can easily refer to them whenever they are having doubts.

Have a solid set of tools

Have a solid set of tools that can foster your culture

Whether it’s for communication, file sharing or collaboration, the tools you select should help reinforce the culture you are trying to promote. For example, if you are trying to create a fun and relaxed environment, you can consider a tool like Slack where you can have a separate non-work related channel for fun conversations.

Connect in multiple ways

Maintain a variety of ways for your team to keep in touch

The only way a remote team can interact with each other, share feedback or inside jokes is online. While chat apps are great for random work discussions, encourage video calls so everyone can actually see each other as well. Slack video calls are good for one-on-one calls while for all-hands meetings, use a tool like Zoom or Google Meet. Trello and Confluence can be used for project management while a tool like Creately can serve as an online whiteboard.

Have fun within the work-day

Leave space for fun within the work-day

When you are not working from the same location, you need to get extra creative about building your company culture. There are many team building activities that are effective in promoting employee happiness, engagement and productivity. Check out these 37 fun virtual team building activities for remote teams, you might find many that will work for you.

Measure engagement frequently

Measure engagement as frequently as possible

It’s important to understand how your team feels about the values you have set forth. Are they happy with the way these values/ the culture affect the way they work or communicate? Encourage their feedback through a simple survey, one-on-one meetings or even during all-hands meetings. Getting insight on their perspective is important to deciding the future direction of your company.

Create a mentorship program

Help everyone have a mentor

A mentor - a more experienced and knowledgeable co-worker - can help an inexperienced or a new employee to quickly get familiar with the cultural and social norms within the company. They can also help new team members grow in their position and learn how to succeed in their job role.

Have weekly one-on-ones

Let managers have 1-1 with their reports at least weekly

This allows them to recognize the individuals for excellent work and guide them where they need to be improved. They can also make this an opportunity to check in with the team members on work and non-work related issues.