With more and more people working harder than ever behind their smartphones and laptop screens, it can feel even more difficult to connect and engage with your co-workers – especially if they’re in another time zone. So, how can you bridge the gap so that geographically-dispersed teams are on the same wavelength?
Communication, trust and respect: essential ingredients for a positive company culture
You’ve heard the cliché “There’s no ‘I’ in team”, and this certainly rings true for any global company. Successful businesses know that the key to a positive corporate culture lies in high-functioning employees that have achieved authentic cohesion with one another. Anyone who has worked on a team knows that in order to get the job done efficiently, all members must be able to trust each other. While trust is challenging to create and maintain in general where business is concerned, it can be especially difficult if your team members are separated by international waters.
Why is company culture so important?
For many of us, a large portion of our week is spent at work. So, it goes without saying that your job can make a huge impact on your quality of life. According to a recent study, there is a direct and positive correlation between workers’ happiness and increased productivity. For management, it’s about cultivating a general attitude that puts the employees first so they can feel appreciated, respected, and part of a community that’s working towards a shared vision.
Regardless of where your offices are, you can successfully build a unified corporate culture within your global team. Over the years, we’ve provided many large-scale businesses with conferencing technology to help them stay connected, and we’ve also discovered a few ways to achieve a unified culture.
1. Start a company blog or newsletter
While organising company-wide barbecues to relay information or acknowledge hard work may work on a small scale, employees who work overseas won’t be able to attend. Therefore, it becomes essential to find new ways to open up lines of internal communication. Consider starting a company blog or newsletter. Uploading content regularly could be the easiest and fastest way to inform employees about new changes as they happen. Best of all, it promotes transparency within the business, which is important when building trust.
2. Be consistent
Employees like to know they’re equals, but when some team members get awarded with flexible hours while others are working 9-5, it can create an ‘us versus them’ mentality. While it may seem inconsequential to managers, it can strain communication between the two groups in question. This is why it’s important to try to remain as fair and as accommodating as possible to the needs of your employees. We already know that flexibility in the workplace can reduce burnout due to work overload, allow people to work when they feel most productive, and even reduce absenteeism and lateness. So, keep all this in mind when team members request to finish early some days or want to take annual leave during certain times of the year (within reason). Set ground rules for flexibility across all headquarters, so that every employee, no matter which office they’re based in, will feel as though everyone is on the same team.
3. Commit to weekly catch-ups
Organise a start-of-the-week or end-of-the-week video conferencing session to get your whole group together. In order to implement this strategy, you need to plan (and stick to!) a day and time each week, while taking into account time differences. Similar to the company blog or newsletter, each manager or team leader can be allocated five minutes each to talk to the rest of the company about their team wins and achievements, share ideas, or mention upcoming events specific to their office. In addition to the convenience of this platform, the visual aid will help put faces to names and create personal relationships, which can help to generate trust.
4. Use online collaboration tools
Tired of getting 100 emails a day and then trawling back through them to find specific information and attachments? You’re not alone. Help your employees stay in touch as well as document everything on one modern platform. There are some great options for any size of company. For chat groups, think Slack and Yammer; for project management, there’s Trello, Asana and Jira. Making collaborations more streamlined for all team members can really have a positive impact on company culture by enforcing structure and unity. As every company is different, it’s a good idea to review several collaboration tools to find the right fit for your business.
5. Boost motivation
Encourage managers to send out an exciting email alert whenever there’s an employee success story. What better way to generate a positive environment than to spread good news? Not only will employees feel important but they'll realise their efforts don't go unnoticed. This is especially valuable for offices with fewer staff or those in a remote location - being heard and acknowledged will set a standard across the board that all employee achievements are worth celebrating.
The bottom line: building a unified corporate culture starts with the right tools and mindset
Your company’s success doesn’t just depend on a vision or product. It’s not even enough to fill the roles in your business with the right people – you need to work on your corporate culture. Once you really understand the importance of having a unified set of values and principles within your global team, you can work towards achieving a positive culture that isn’t limited by distance.
Working as part of a global team has its challenges but, by thinking smarter, you can make all members feel part of the one team regardless of location. Use these tips to create your corporate culture today and let us help your offices bond and stay connected across countries with our audio conferencing, web & video conferencing and operator-assisted conferencing services.