How to Build a Solid Company Culture When All Your Employees Work Remotely?


If you want a thriving company, it's not enough to just talk about the sales figure. We all know "People drive business". The harmonious flow of camaraderie between employees ultimately creates a business entity running with or without you. And that's the dream!


Understanding Company Culture

But the question is, what drives people to the company’s goals? According to Insight Association, it is company culture.  Company Culture has been a buzzword for the past years. But what it is exactly? Investopedia said it best:

"Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company's employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions.

Often, corporate culture is implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires.

You can check out this video if you're still clueless about what it is:


The Philippines vs. Japan Analogy

Let's give a comparison between the Philippines and Japan. In Japan, it's their culture to follow rules and cross the streets when the green light says go even if no one is watching.

In the Philippines, people just cross the pedestrian whenever they like it whether it’s green, red, or whatever the future colors would be.

But if a Filipino goes to Japan, do you think they will cross the pedestrian the same dangerous way they do in the Philippines? I don't think so. The simple cultural trait is so strong, people outside of it just follow.


Autopilot Mechanism

And you want this autopilot mechanism. It is essential for a company to have a strong culture, especially if they want to grow big. It allows them to minimize the need to police certain erring employees (if there are at all) and to closely supervise staff.

This is because everyone just upholds the culture, people just automatically blends and follow.



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The Remote Working Problem

But it's quite hard to foster such in a normal company. What traits do I cultivate? Do I post a big mission vision wall? Why are the people apathetic? Why is no one following the culture we set!

And the challenge goes notches higher when you build one for a company of purely remote workers. I mean, how can employees immerse themselves with "the culture" if they don't see anyone in the first place?

Albeit hard, it's still possible. These are tips to build the company culture for your remote working team.



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It All Starts With You (and Your Key People)

Leadership is all about influence. In a company, the influence of each individual is relative.

Some people might be more effective in leading other people. But as an owner or a manager yourself, you need to pinpoint the most influential people in your workplace.

These people should embody the culture you want. As the Pareto Principle states, 20% of the people will produce 80% of the results. People look up to them. They willingly follow these influential people and model what they do.

If you tap this top 20%, the culture will spread in your organization like wildfire.



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Encourage Open Communication

In a physical office, we can feel if people have certain qualms just by talking to them. We can sense their body language, the tone of their voice, and so many subconscious cues. This is not the case in front of our screens.

The biggest problem of completely virtual operations is communication. We only see messages and emails on our computers. How can we know the emotion and innuendos behind their messages?

It begins by encouraging open communication. Let your employees speak their mind without judgment. Drop the formalities and let them be their quirky virtual selves in front of everyone. In this way, you can properly communicate your culture and the people are transparent and comfortable enough to speak their mind.

For the newcomers, they will also be comfortable with the people in their respective teams. And the chances of them assimilating to the culture will significantly go higher.



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Create Virtual Hangout Chat Rooms

Just like normal workplaces, there is this space (like a lounge or a pantry) that people just chill and talk about anything under the sun. This is where the bonds between coworkers strengthen.

We also want this in our drive for company culture. Utilize a "Virtual Hangout Chat room" for your employees. Let them spend time with each other remotely. You can even put this up a notch by having subgroups. If the company is big, it's hard to socialize even if we have a general virtual hangout chat room.

We can make subgroups (like for those who live in Cebu or those that like Traveling) to encourage these people to interact with colleagues with common interests.



Image Credit: Skype

Meet Face-to-Face in Person (or At Least in a Video Conference) Once in a While

Nothing beats personal interaction. But this might be difficult with a remote team. If you can, it's best to have your team meet-up once in a while to get acquainted.

New people will be immersed with your key people. This "expense" is an investment to further solidify the culture.

If you can't afford to fly everyone in a place, try doing a video conference meet up. It's not the same but at least everyone gets to see how their colleagues look like. It's a good compromise with the aide of technology. And you get to finally have a face when you do friendly banter online.



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Let Your Employees Practice Shared Leadership in Your Team

A company should not be composed of followers only. You should train people to become leaders in their craft. Give your best people the freedom to hone their leadership skills.

Assign leadership tasks for the worthy employees to become better from the challenge. Motivate them to take calculated risks. This will not only boost a culture of excellence in your team, and it can also be a springboard for innovation in your company.

Are you ready to build a strong company culture? You can also check some of these 10 simple steps to build your company culture. I hope you can hone a conducive culture for the growth of your business! Good luck!


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