Building great remote teams: tips for employee engagement and satisfaction

by | Jul 6, 2022

"well done" written on a note: shoutouts, gratitude and recognition are important for building successful remote teams
Image Credit: Rosie - Pamela Barba
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In a world that is unpredictable and uncertain, there is one thing that we are sure of: remote work is the way of the present and the future. Because, put simply, remote work works if you’re intentional about building a successful remote culture for your employees.

Not sure how to do that? You’re not alone! Two of the most common worries among leaders regarding remote work are:

  • how to maintain company culture
  • how to keep employees engaged without being in an office setting 

We Are Rosie has been remote since our start in 2018, so we’ve had a few years to figure it out. These are the best practices that keep our employees happy and our remote culture thriving. 

 

Communication and connection are critical to your remote culture

Communication, collaboration, and connection are essential in any company, but they need to be emphasized within a remote workforce. 

Increasing the frequency of touchpoints is necessary when employees live across different time zones, but it doesn’t end there. Leaders shouldn’t just look at how often people are communicating, but they should also take a deep dive into the content and logistics of the communication. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are employees consistently engaging in meaningful conversations?
  2. Do they have the time and space to build relationships, extend gratitude, and engage in training sessions?
  3. Are questions encouraged?
  4. Is there a structure around the way that meetings and touchpoints happen?
  5. Are shared agendas utilized?

 

These are all crucial when looking at the way communication occurs within your organization. Once you’ve answered these questions, you can develop new strategies to improve communication and connection. Here’s what we do at We Are Rosie:

1. We build relationships through Slack

Whether it’s sending fun pictures in #watercooler, exchanging stories of pets in #rosie-pet-fam, asking questions to get to know one another better in #qotd, or sharing good news in #humblebragfriday, the main theme is always connection.

We also use the Donut integration, which gives employees space to connect by automatically pairing them up once a month. They’re then encouraged to chat with their Donut buddy and get to know each other on a personal level, beyond work.

2. We use our ‘Magic in Meetings’ philosophy

This streamlines meetings by setting a purpose and using a shared agenda. The agenda allows each person in the meeting to contribute to the discussion and view the flow of the meeting ahead of time so they can be prepared. There’s also a Q&A section at the bottom of the agenda, which provides the opportunity to ask questions or include comments as they arise and promotes inclusivity by ensuring everyone’s voice is heard, even if they don’t speak up in the meeting.

3. We send shout outs using Nectar, a recognition and rewards platform 

We celebrate everything, big and small, and we recognize accomplishments by exchanging points and gratitude between team members. 

The best part? These shout outs are tied back to company values, so we can see employees living out our values in real time! (And points can be exchanged for swag and rewards, which is neat too 😊)

 

Go remote, but stay true to your company values

Speaking of core values, organizations are more likely to be successful and experience effective communication when the culture and climate of the organization are closely aligned with its values. We’re not talking about the values that are posted on the website and then forgotten about. We’re talking about the values that are at the core of the business; the values connected to the mission; the values that the leaders of the company exhibit each day. 

We Are Rosie has seven core values that are built into our framework and keep us successful, but to keep it short and sweet we’ll only touch on four.

 

 

Growth

MetLife’s 2022 study on benefits reported an increase in training, development, and advancement opportunities as a “must-have” from employees. We Are Rosie recognizes that learning and growth are essential and provides employees with the space and resources to pursue growth in a few different ways:

Rosie Refresh: We offer a Rosie Refresh, an annual stipend that can be used for personal or professional development. Employees have utilized this stipend on certifications and classes, retreats, vacations, and even gym memberships. The beauty of this unstructured policy is that it allows each person to use the stipend in a way that truly supports their growth within that moment.

Upskilling: We’ve created more formalized upskilling opportunities through our “Lunch & Learn” series and People Leads training. Lunch & Learns are a monthly event for all employees to learn about a new topic while enjoying lunch on us (via a gift card). People Leads training is specifically for managers to learn about the importance of goals, one-on-one conversations, hiring best practices, escalation processes, giving feedback, and more.

 

Trust

The fundamental value of a remote work environment is trust. At We Are Rosie, we trust that employees are getting their work done; we trust them to create their own working schedule based on their most productive hours; and we trust their decisions and expertise within their zones of genius—after all, that’s why we hired them, right? This means saying no to micro-managing, and saying yes to mistakes, questions, and creating an environment of psychological safety.

 

Caring

Employees are humans and should be treated with support and care. Period. 

On our team, we look at employees as whole human beings and always strive to support each individual in a way that honors their highest good. This means crafting flexible, customized benefits; acknowledging difficult times and creating space for them; providing options to support mental health; and encouraging time away from work.

It also means we recognize all aspects of an employee’s life, including their physical, financial, mental, and social health. We support a healthy balance across each to the best of our ability.

 

Inclusivity

Remote work is a form of inclusion at its core; it allows people to work in a way that suits them best and opens opportunities for those that are typically at a disadvantage within office settings. So yes, remote work is a good start to building inclusivity. However, there’s much more to it. 

To stay accountable and ensure that everyone within the organization truly feels included, We Are Rosie performs audits and engagement surveys. We collect confidential data from individuals across the company and build out insights and action plans based on the results.

There you have it: a few of We Are Rosie’s keys to success for employee engagement in a remote environment—all things that you can implement to build your own remote work culture. We know it’s a lot, but trust us, it’s worth putting in the effort to keep your remote team happy, supported, and thriving!

Written by Tessa Dillenbeck
Tessa Dillenbeck is the People Operations Lead at We Are Rosie and holds a master's degree in Organizational Leadership. She loves learning, psychology, and finding what lights people up. Follow Tessa on LinkedIn.

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