Embracing Telework: Building a Strong Culture with Your Remote Team

Good team culture is much like a good sports team. You have a rockstar team that is ready to jump in through thick and thin...

April 24, 2020

Good team culture is much like a good sports team. You have a rockstar team that is ready to jump in through thick and thin. Strong leadership and coaching calling the shots. The try and true rituals from start to finish. While many believe that this culture requires face-to-face interaction on a regular cadence, that’s not truly the case. With remote work increasing year-over-year and changes in the current landscape, as seen with the onset of COVID-19 in changing work-from-home culture entirely, we are at the forefront of major change. Making sure your remote teams still embrace a strong culture is crucial to growth, productivity and professional development for everyone involved. So, in managing the day to day changes in the telecommuting landscape, these are the three tips to build and grow your remote team’s work culture.

Hire a Team Where Everybody Feels like a Rock Star
It seems like a straightforward task, to get the best work you have to have the best team? But, within a remote work culture, your best team can be located across the globe. When hiring, take into consideration the diverse individuals and viewpoints you are bringing onto your team and how they will contribute to your culture. Are you bringing on team members who are all located in the same region? Are there ways to push beyond the standard and find new teammates from the larger hiring pool?

When you are onboarding new employees who will be working remotely, support them early and often. Make sure to take the time to introduce them individually to the rest of the team, preferably with a video call to make it more personable.

Culture starts with the first hire. Make sure that you create an even playing field when hiring and promote a culture of team building and togetherness. So, as your team continues to grow, they will feel more encouraged to contribute to the overall culture.

Create Inclusivity across Channels
Even before the days of social distancing, it has always been extremely important to ensure that your team feel engaged and connected. Establishing channels early on for your remote team to stay in touch regularly is the first way to do that. There are many streamline platforms beyond email and phone such as Slack and Zoom, designed with the work-from-home future in mind.

Once you the means of communication set up, make sure that your team feels included the same way they would in person. Hold group huddles digitally and setting up the cadence of conversation so you avoid the awkward talking over each other moments. Allow for everyone in your team to feel represented, giving credit for those who have made big accomplishments digitally that would normally be celebrated in person.

Create avenues for offering and engaging your team with encouragement and emotional support. Many new remote teams may have experienced a sudden shift into a new work-from-home lifestyle where to speaking intimately with their leadership in a non-office environment is a challenge. Set up a time for your employees to have a daily check in or virtual office hours to talk about things beyond the day to day tasks. Using this time to encourage self-care among your team, discuss long term professional development goals in a remote environment or whatever makes sense for you to promote one-on-one inclusivity among your team.

Show Employee Praise in Unique Ways
It can be hard doing your day to day work, managing projects, getting on and off phone calls to find the time to highlight your team’s accomplishments, no matter how big or small. While you can take the time to set up calendar reminders, manage multiple Slack channels, and have a whole separate notebook dedicated to just employee encouragement. But, finding ways to highlight your new and existing teammates doesn’t have to be complicated. Our engagement platform was designed to help you with just that. Between highlighting employee achievements in a snap, creating a space to share in the overall team culture and even team messaging blast for the bigger events like birthdays and holidays, we have you covered. No matter what way you go about it, finding the ways to encourage your team is the key to maintaining a happy, healthy and productive remote team.

About the Author: Derek Hawkins
Derek Hawkins is a Technical SEO and Content Marketing specialist with a focus on innovations in the search and HR-tech space. Currently, he is a Sr. Search and Linguistics Analyst for MRM//McCann, working with clients such as the US Army, The United States Postal Service, Reckitt Benckiser, and Honeywell.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. These one-time services start at $5,000. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at support@joinassembly.com.

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

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