It is up to you, the leader, to actively influence this process with the goal of fostering a positive corporate culture, thus improving the efficiency and productivity of your remote team.
What is the right company culture and why do you need it?
Company culture shines through everything leaders and employees do. It is evident in the way the organisation makes decisions and executes them. Leadership speakers have always made it clear that the entity responsible for setting the core values of company culture is the leaders themselves.
In my book, The Intelligent Leader, I defined the right company culture as an environment where the strengths of individuals are leveraged, employees feel valued, and team members complement each other’s abilities.
Eventually, corporate culture is the result of the unique values every team member brings to the table. Company culture evolves in perpetuity and it changes every time a new team member joins the fold.
The ideal team culture differs from one organisation to another, always reflecting the unique values of the company. Most CEO coaches agree, however, that it does have a few overarching elements.
- A sense of accountability is the core element of every strong company culture. Employees need to know and understand their place in the organisation and how their work matters.
- A relaxed and open environment allows employees to express their opinions freely, providing and receiving feedback, and thus realising their importance in the context of the strategic plan of the organisation.
- The existence of team rituals and traditions amplifies employees’ sense of belonging.
- A well-defined focus on putting people first.
- A continuous focus on hiring the right team members heads off cultural conflicts and drama. Most leadership speakers will tell you that this is the first step to facilitate the formation of strong, natural team cultures.
- Great leaders instil great corporate cultures.
How do you build the right culture with your remote teams?
- Set a strong corporate culture. Define it well. Create rituals and traditions. Put together a document in which you clearly define the values of your organisation.
- Communicate and nurture your culture regularly. As I have always made it clear in my books, a great leader possesses the ability to create a great culture, where employees freely commit to continuous improvement and feel safe enough to take chances, whether the worker is remote or on-site.
- Keep your reports engaged. Prioritise regular meetings. Your meetings should cover team-wide virtual chats as well as one-on-ones.
- Create the opportunity for water-cooler discussions for your remote team members. Allocate a special virtual space for this purpose.
- Promote full transparency. Keep all of your team members in the loop and communicate all major company decisions to all of them. Being informed is the first step towards feeling connected and important, particularly when teams are remote.
Most employees choose a strong company culture over a fatter paycheck. Organisations with a strong culture retain high-performing employees, increase engagement and productivity, increase their profits, and boost innovation.