As the founder and visionary of your company, you define your own company culture and values. When you’re working with a remote team, it’s important to think proactively about specific ways to develop a culture that supports remote collaboration.Creating a strong culture starts with communicating your values and hiring the right employees who share and embody those beliefs. It also depends on you encouraging team communication and camaraderie, as well as, recognizing and appreciating your team for a job well done.Here are four tips to give you a jumpstart on creating a successful "virtual culture" (and a few examples from successful companies and entrepreneurs):
1. Choose the right talent.
Take the time to find the right people — who are committed to your values and to working with people who may not sit next to them each day — and it will all feel effortless. We suggest looking for exceptional companies that you can trust to provide resources that will uphold your company brand and values. When it comes to remote work, the old adage “you get what you pay for” often rings very true. Be wary of seeking out remote work for the sole purpose of finding ‘cheap labor.’ More often than not, we’ve seen this approach cost business owners far more in the long run.
2. Set up regular video meetings.
Face-to-face conversation, even via video chat, is far superior to a phone call. Schedule regular video chats to touch base with long-distance employees. Author and entrepreneur Mike Michalowicz (The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur and The Pumpkin Plan) uses Skype to check in on operations by virtually touring his manufacturing shop and touching base with the shop’s manager via video chat.
3. Encourage conversation and camaraderie.
The absence of a water cooler does not make water cooler conversation unnecessary. Consider giving your employees a forum to chat casually, as they would across an office or lunchroom table. Communication tools like Slack are an excellent medium, and are used by many companies to organize group conversations, but also to share links, videos, and friendly conversation.
4. Recognition & Reward.
Many companies choose to implement recognition (think employee-of-the-month) or reward programs as appreciation for a job well done. Consider how you’ll regularly motivate and encourage remote employees to do their best — and how you’ll convey your sincere thanks when they knock it out of the park.
Developing a "virtual culture" with your remote team will help you foster a stronger working relationship that emphasizes communication, transparency, and teamwork. Supporting strong communication and teamwork in turn results in a more productive work environment, which will boost your overall business growth.