Different time zones. Multiple countries. Asynchronous communication. This is the traffic jam in the daily commute of a remote organization. Today’s highest performing teams report from all over the globe, multiple times during any 24-hour period. The conundrum remote leaders around the world face: how to ensure that each of these employees feels seen and understood.
Resources and routines around open communication must be established to foster collaboration, inter-team support and ultimately high employee engagement. The leadership of Final’s 100% remote team uses three techniques to establish connections among squad members. These procedures have allowed our company to scale while simultaneously providing opportunities that deepen the understanding of individual personalities, skill-sets and management styles. Our goal is to create an environment where continuous communication, cross-team collaboration and a shared culture of acceptance are the norm, despite the thousands of miles between us.
Here’s how in three simple steps:
Establish Routines: A weekly—same time, same place—full squad video meeting is scheduled in Google Hangouts and provides an opportunity for everyone to learn about company news, review project workflows and share departmental updates. Getting together on Tuesday nights is one of our core operating procedures but it has also provided us with a place to laugh, celebrate, and actually ‘see’ and engage with one another in person. We are constantly encouraged to be ourselves, without pretense. This has translated into a culture that values each individual for who they are. As we like to say one of the little luxuries of remote life is that “pants are always optional.”
Consider Collaboration: By actively placing high value on sharing ideas with one another, we are able to call upon previous experience to find solutions for problems that are unique and often serendipitous. This has yielded open lines of inter-team collaboration that have allowed squad members to benefit from invaluable knowledge with measurable outcomes. At Final, engaging with each other to create a collective win for the company is common practice. The ultimate prize is the knowledge that working relationships have been deepened by the “I’ve got your back” mantra, which ultimately creates a continuous cycle of high-level engagement within the entire team.
Rely on Resources: There is absolutely no shortage of resources for dispersed teams in the modern workspace. Slack, Monday, and Hangouts are notable favorites that allow the remote employee to easily be well-equipped with everything required to run a satellite office. The high value benefit of these tools is transparency which fosters the evolution of a synchronous workspace and allows for real-time view of policies, procedures and project updates.
Final Note: We employ all of these resources and relish the myriad of benefits, both obvious and unexpected, from each. However, we also encourage our team not to rely upon these methods as the sole means of communication. A practice of picking up the phone as often as needed to seek information or answers has been implemented. Through the adoption of “reach out and touch someone” our team has learned that there is truly no replacement for hearing the tone and inflection of a co-worker’s voice as a new project, workflow or critical decision is processed. At Final, we have frequently been rewarded by this custom and notably it is yet another critical piece of keeping our squad members engaged with one another and their work.
A shared culture of acceptance is the pivotal place from which truly engaged employees can bring their strongest and best selves. The cohesiveness of our team is fostered by ensuring that everyone has access to and takes part in the routines, collaborative process and resources available. Ultimately, the most rewarding employee engagement is built on unconditional support for one another, consideration and celebrating the wins of the day.