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5 tips for creating a strong culture in a remote team

Derek Homann

As more and more teams are transitioning to remote work (especially during Covid), it can be easy to overlook some of the things that may be a bit harder to accomplish when your teams are not physically in the same space. Creating and promoting a strong culture is one of them. When your team doesn’t sit across from each other at the lunch table every day, you’ll need to be extra intentional about how you make your company a unique place to work.

Below are a few ideas to help ensure your company doesn’t lose that special sauce while working remotely.

1. Celebrate wins regularly

When you work in the same office, it might be easy to just say “Nice job!” when someone closes a sale, or give them a quick high five when they get great feedback from a client, but in a remote team, it’s a little tougher. Firing off a quick message in Slack may be good, but you really want to drive a culture of continuous recognition for good work. If you have a biweekly all hands meeting, you might want to carve out 5-10 mins of every meeting to go over kudos for various employees or teams that have been received in the past two weeks.

2. Set a regular cadence for check-ins

When you don’t physically see people every day, the natural tendency is to just focus on the work. Putting time on the calendar to have virtual facetime can feel like a chore, but to set a good foundation for communication, your teams should have regularly scheduled one-on-ones and team meetings. This ensures that everyone on the team has time to talk through their specific wants, needs, and goals. Without a specific cadence of check-ins, it becomes difficult to keep a pulse on how everyone is feeling.

3. Be intentional about communication

Remember that everyone on your team communicates a bit differently. It’s also important to understand when and why different types of communication are used. When employees are hired, be sure to clue them in on how you use different communication channels i.e. we use Slack for conversing about ongoing projects, but we do all-hands meetings for keeping the entire company on the same page about important company initiatives etc. By doing this, it helps your employees know where to communicate things, and also the “why” behind it. 

4. Continuously share your values

As a remote team, having strong values to act as your guiding light is extremely important. By laying out your company values and continuously referring back to them, you’ll ensure that it becomes second nature for employees at your company to make decisions with those values in mind. If one of your values is “The customer is first, always”, then it will be much easier for an employee to feel comfortable making the choice that will do right by the customer, instead of another choice that may optimize for company profits. Repetition of your values helps build the muscle of your employees to stay aligned with the company’s purpose.

5. Over index on making new hires feel at home

While the above items are all great tips for creating a strong culture in a remote team, the most important factor by far are the people you hire. If you want a culture of thoughtful and caring people, the best way to foster that is to hire thoughtful and caring people. Once you get the right people in place, the tips above help that culture evolve and flourish to become something unique that your company can hang its hat on.

Do you have tips for creating a strong culture in a remote team? Drop it in the comments below. We’d love to hear them!

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