Are you struggling to hire your remote team? This article is about the methods that StartUp “ConvertKit” uses to build a remote team.
Here are 10 ideas for building a great culture on a remote team.
#1 Create a private team podcast
Everyone has the same get-to-know-you conversations. Instead, ask workers about their life stories for a private podcast.
The whole team can listen. This strengthens internal company relationships.
#2 Build a culture of written communication
This saves many meetings and prevents anyone from feeling left out. This is especially helpful when someone has not attended the meeting.
Your team will also be forced to clearly articulate the ideas.
#3 Joint “meeting-free” days
The team has no meetings on certain days each week. There should be certain days when the team does not have to get ready for the camera (e.g. hair, makeup, etc.) if they do not want to.
#4 Ask, “What did you do this weekend?”
Every Monday morning, a bot is posted on Slack asking participants to share a photo (text or video) from the weekend. This is a great way to get to know employees on a personal level and learn about their families, interests and lives.
#5 Create automatic emails for new team members
Explain how you work, where to find important things (e.g., the Slack channels), share fun facts about team members, make up inside jokes, and more.
It’s all automated to help you shape your first 30+ days with the company.
#6 Host “unsolicited feedback” sessions
This is where a small team (usually 4-8 people) gathers to talk about someone in the hot seat for 10 minutes as if they were not there.
Here are the prompts:
a) What does this person do that you find remarkable? What do you brag about her to other people?
b) If the person was going to be promoted in 6 months, what would you tell them now to give them the best chance of getting the job?
c) Assume that you will be working with this person for the next 10 years. What behavior is not a big deal now, but could become very annoying or frustrating in the future?
This leads to the best compliments, the most constructive feedback, and a culture of direct, open conversations.
#7 Mandatory fun days
When teams are feeling burned out, force everyone to take the same day off. That means you don’t have to come back with a mountain of Slack messages and emails.
Come back and share a photo.
We put in a 3-day weekend for the last 3 months of the year.
#8 Schedule conversation to get to know each other
We use a bot to randomly select 3 people each week for a 30-minute get-to-know-you conversation.
A group of three means you always get a dynamic group from a cross-section of the team. This builds relationships and breaks down barriers in product, engineering, operations, growth, etc.
#9 Host a meeting 2x a year
A regular face-to-face meeting of your team is one of the most important things you can do. 2x a year was the perfect rhythm for us.
We divide our time: 33% work and strategy, 33% personal contact, and 33% free time and fun.
The biggest mistake I see companies make is trying to get too much work done on a retreat.
Bonding is accelerated so much by great memories and shared experiences.
You can encourage all attendees to record a vlog to preserve the memories until the next meeting.
#10 Donating money together
At a team retreat, we divided our team into 4 groups with one goal: donate $10,000 in $100 at a time.
With 50 people on the team, that meant each group had to find about 12 charities to support. Then we regrouped to share who we donated to and why.