Finding high-quality talent is one of the most common business challenges. In a survey of 1,000 U.S. small business owners conducted by Indeed.com, more than half of SMBs (56%) find it tough to find the right employees.
Megatrends, according to a PwC survey, play an increasingly important role. The role of “technological development, demographic change, and urbanization are creating profound challenges for the future of business and their workforces.”
“As they are redrawing the skills map for global businesses; the supply of talent is shifting at a time when demand is increasing. This is exacerbating a familiar worry for CEOs; 63% said availability of skills was a serious concern, an increase of 5% on 2013.”
One megatrend, in particular, technology, has created unprecedented access to a global talent pool and given rise to a new normal – the development of remote working and remote teams.
Company culture tips for remote teams
While it has become an easier proposition to assemble a crack team of professionals across time zones for your business venture, establishing remote teams comes with its own set of unique challenges. There is a significant difference between running a remote team, and managing a thriving remote team.
A productive, effective, and a motivated remote team is forged by strong leadership and deliberate company culture. Here are a few ways to accomplish this lofty, yet attainable, goal:
1. Emphasize transparency and equality
The first step towards building a thriving company culture within a remote team is to focus on equality and transparency within the digital workplace. No matter the racial, gender, geographic or socioeconomic makeup it is your duty to make employees feel welcome in your brand family – as true equals. This goes for all aspects of their work, including compensation.
Furthermore, understand that remote work brings with it a certain dose of skepticism. Your new team members haven’t yet built a trusting workplace relationship with you. Transparency in your communication will help you build this relationship faster. Be honest and help them realize you are invested in their professional future under your digital roof.
2. Improve visibility and availability using apps and regular chats
Emphasizing daily communication with your team will make all the difference in the way they perceive you as a leader and your brand overall. Keep in mind remote employees do not have the luxury of seeing you around the office all day long, neither can they take solace in the fact that you will be there to help with problems they are facing.
Make yourself available in the digital space as much as possible. Schedule daily chats using a team management app to check in with your employees to review their work, if needed, and offer your help or feedback. Make it a habit to send out weekly progress reports and go the extra mile to personalize emails with genuine communication when you share praise for a job well done.
3. Make internal branding and recognition a priority
Speaking of praise, doling it out regularly can help you keep employees motivated and engaged with your brand. Internal branding, in particular, will play a vital role here, as you look to build a strong employee collective on a foundation of mutual values, trust, and of course, real incentives (e.g., praise, employee perks, etc.).
Consider interesting ways to reward your team members. Meaningful and valuable rewards like paid time off (PTO), branded prepaid gift cards, access to professional training, etc. can support your brand impact on the everyday lives of your team. Employee perks and incentives can go a long way in connecting your brand with employees on an emotional level.
4. Set clear goals that empower and inspire your team
Setting clear and precise individual goals is one of the most powerful incentives in a modern work environment, especially a remote workplace. Your team members, regardless of location, need guidance and direction. They also need to feel passionate about their work, goals and have a structured plan to achieve them. With that in mind, set up SMART goals for your team members that highlight attainability.
If a goal does not seem reasonable to your employees, in terms of the workload, deadline, or available resources it can easily make them feel demotivated and exploited. To avoid this, build a goal-oriented workplace, and make sure everyone’s goals are scheduled and planned well in advance.
5. Create opportunities for professional growth
Millennial employees, especially, want access to professional growth. There is no way around it. You can’t expect to retain high-quality talent if you don’t educate and train your team and help them acquire new skills and progress in their careers. Structure simple yet comprehensive employee training and education programs, and allow your team to use their new skillsets to propel your business forward.
Managing successful remote teams
Successful remote teams require effective leadership, a skilled communicator, and most importantly, it means building a unique company culture that will inspire and motivate your team. Implement these tips and watch as your brand grow as it’s supported by the shared enthusiasm of your employees.
Lauren Wiseman is a marketing specialist, contributor to bizzmarkblog.com and an entrepreneur. She helps clients grow their personal and professional brands in the fast-changing and demanding market, strongly believing in a holistic approach to business.