How to manage teams remotely while maintaining company culture

How to manage teams remotely while maintaining company culture

Many leaders have found themselves in the position of having to manage their teams remotely since Covid-19 struck. The vaccines are beginning to be distributed and it seems that, at last, everything is returning to normal.

However, the telecommuting model is here to stay and, while some people are looking forward to going back to the office, others prefer to stay at home.

Home office or remote work is now a reality for many, and leaders are faced with numerous challenges. Among them, understanding how to maintain the culture of the company without the factor of presence.

What is understood by business culture?

The organizational culture represents the mission, vision and values that the company wants to transmit to its clients and the general public. To achieve this, companies instill these values in their employees so that they feel identified with the brand and this is reflected in the way they work.

In other words, the way in which employees carry out their functions serves as a mirror for companies.

The business culture of an organization can be observed from many aspects. Some of the most notable are its operating rules, the way it communicates with employees and customers (language and tone), its involvement in social concerns and how the hierarchy is organized or the importance given to the different positions, among others.

In any case, all companies, regardless of their size or magnitude, use a large part of their resources and time in working close to their employees in order to align the objectives of the organization with the expectations of the collaborators.

However, despite all these efforts, the cultural development of Spanish organizations is very green. This is what the report “Corporate culture: An empirical study in Spanish and Portuguese companies” of IESE says, in which after analyzing the culture of 65 national enterprises, the returned results scored the companies with 52 points out of 100.

If it is so difficult to manage culture in a face to face environment, what can you expect from remote work?

Business culture on distance: myth or reality?

Does Telework help to create a common culture? Is it possible to create a cohesive culture without the daily physical contact of people? Is it worth the time to invest in it considering the circumstances and the difficulty?

It is clear that teleworking brings some difficulties in creating the ideal conditions, however, it is entirely possible to manage teams remotely while maintaining and fostering the business culture.

The mistake is to try to achieve it with the traditional methods of a face-to-face culture.

If managed well, the benefits are exactly the same. It:

  • Boost to productivity.
  • Promotes the feeling of belonging.
  • Increase the engagement and retention of talent.
  • Improve teamwork.
  • Increase satisfaction and commitment.

How to transmit the company’s culture effectively and remotely

It’s difficult but not impossible. You have to know how to adapt to the circumstances and make use of the tools and resources that the digital transformation hands us.

Here are several tips that can help you effectively manage remote teams while maintaining the company’s culture.

1. Fluid and constant communication

If in face-to-face environments daily communication must be constant, with remote workers it must be further enhanced.

Daily e-mails, calls, videoconferences, chats across digital platforms such as Teams, Slack, Skype… The contact with workers should not be forgotten and it is the best way to remind employees why they do what they do.

The feedback and providing meaning job position are two of the most influential variables when share values and achieve a cohesive culture that generates commitment by the organization.

2. Select the right talent

By this we mean find those people who from the beginning are synched with corporate culture and what the brand represents.

People who already have values aligned with those of the organization will be less likely to leave and will do everything in their power to integrate with the rest of the team and act in accordance with the company.

It is also important to pay attention to the remote on-boarding process and design a reception plan for new candidates that allows a warm welcome, even if it is from a distance.

3. The importance of good leadership

Without the advantages of face to face, leaders need to read between the lines (never better said) to understand how employees feel, to perceive the level of stress they may have or see if they have a specific problem that makes it difficult to carry out their tasks.

In this sense, trust is everything, and in remote work the trust that the leader places in his or her collaborators is intensified. This does not have to be a bad thing; it means that it is essential that managers know their team perfectly and, have constant communication, as mentioned above.

A good leader will know how to manage people from a distance, while maintaining the culture of the organization.

4. Remote socialization

In the midst of the technological revolution, saying that collaborative events cannot be held online is out dated.

It is possible to hold team meetings and activities with the sole purpose of enhancing and sharing the business culture through specific workshops, motivational talks or virtual coffee or brunch, in which each person can contribute with some ideas or simply just chat.

We are social human beings, and sharing experiences with others helps to create strong bonds and a solid, common culture.

5. Gamification

Another way to manage and promote organizational culture remotely is through gamification.

Digital cloud applications can be designed to allow all remote employees to cooperate and interact in a game to achieve a common goal. The tasks become missions with virtual rewards such as coins, cards or avatars that can be collected.

In this way, employees are motivated to work as a team and the rewards serve as an incentive.

6. Create organizational culture surveys

Knowing the status of the corporate culture within remote teams is more complicated. To obtain this data, organizations use surveys to find out how employees feel about their values, mission and objectives.

What works? What isn’t working? What can be improved? What should be modified? What do organizations need to boost?

Team Insights is an excellent option to send surveys to your employees and find out how far the culture is integrated into your teams.

In an automatic way and according to the time that you have pre-established, short surveys will be sent to employees that can they can fill out in a completely  anonymous way, providing you with all the necessary data to make the right decisions that improve the feeling of identification with the brand.

You can request a demo or if your organization has up to 50 employees you can use Team Insights for free with our Free Plan.

So, these are our tips for managing teams remotely while maintaining and promoting company culture. Paying attention to your remote employees is crucial not only to foster culture, but also to increase productivity, satisfaction, and avoid feelings of loneliness and isolation.

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