Whether your team is remote or in a classic office, you can build a winning team culture. For a lot of employers and employees, a positive team culture seems like something you either have or you don't. Maybe it's just the right personalities coming together, maybe the boss is so charismatic that there's this intangible "atmosphere" at work. The reality is, a winning team culture is something intentional—you build it and cultivate it, and there are tools and practices that help. We're here to share how we've built a winning team culture at Trusty Oak, and we've done it all remotely.
Use Communication Tools
The last thing you want in an office or virtual company is for anyone to feel like an island. Finding the right tools to keep your team working together shows that you value a communicative atmosphere. Here are some of our favorite tools for remote communication.
At Trusty Oak, we use Loom frequently to communicate with our clients and our team. I create Loom videos to update the team on new processes, to communicate deals to clients, and to give feedback on projects. Loom is an excellent tool for conveying information more clearly and quickly than in an email, and it gets your face in front of your team and clients more frequently, which builds rapport. Loom helps me cut back on time-consuming emails by giving me the option to send a quick video to a client or VA. I wrote a blog post for Loom about how we use this tool to keep our team connected, and would highly recommend it to any company trying to save time while building a hyper-connected team.
When a Loom video can't replace a meeting, Zoom is my go-to tool. Zoom allows you to have multi-user meetings where you can share screens and even give controls to another person (an invaluable feature when helping clients accomplish tasks online). We frequently use Zoom for kick-off calls, team meetings, and collaborative projects.
Create an Online "Office" Space
Whether you're all sitting together at desks or all in different cities working remotely, creating an online "office" space is incredibly valuable to communication. This is where Slack comes in. We use Slack channels to provide specific spaces or "channels" to ask questions, share resources, celebrate accomplishments, take on new tasks, connect teams in the same town, and more! We have channels like #teamresources, #trustyoakmoms, #marketingstrategists, etc., all of which function as online "conference rooms," holding space for whatever conversation needs to happen, without interrupting anyone's work for a lengthy phone call or a stroll to someone's desk.
Invest in Onboarding and Training
Part of having a strong team culture is getting new hires on the same page as their coworkers. How can you consistently accomplish this without the right training and onboarding tools? At Trusty Oak, we have several go-to onboarding tools, and we have a mentor system in place.
Involving your team in internal processes whenever possible builds trust and commitment. We give our VAs opportunities to learn and pick up extra responsibilities by giving experienced Virtual Assistants the option to mentor new hires. Not only will this take pressure off of managers or HR and give the time needed for an in-depth training, it also means your new team member immediately has an advocate, resource, and a friend on the team. They get to hear from the perspective of a peer exactly what to expect, how to succeed, and what it's like working for your company.
Now you may be wondering how to keep trainings consistent if different people are mentoring new hires. That's where Trello is an invaluable tool. We use Trello to give new VAs a chance to work through a board with tasks, information, links to internal documents, due dates, etc. before they even meet with their mentor. The mentor also has their own Trello board taking them through every aspect of training each new Virtual Assistant. Once the entire board is completed, the mentor has check-in tasks to ensure that (again) no one ends up feeling like an island. The new VA is also encouraged to reach out to their mentor for questions as they work through their first tasks.
At Trusty Oak, we've always involved our team in our internal processes and goals. We truly consider each one of our hires to have valuable expertise, so involving them gives us a better chance of succeeding in new ventures, processes, and goals. As the CEO and founder of a growing company, one of the ways I exercise transparency is by sending a monthly "What's Up at Trusty Oak" email in which I share new processes, new hires, sales goals and results, and good news!
This brings me to the next piece of building a winning team culture—celebration! A happy team feels appreciated, and we aren't talking about the occasional "good job" or pat on the back. At Trusty Oak, we dedicate an entire section of our "What's Up" emails and a channel on Slack just for celebrating our VAs and their accomplishments. This often involves quotes from clients who are thrilled with our VA's work, praise from teammates who are so thankful for help from a coworker, and acknowledgments when someone helps Trusty Oak grow and improve internally. We celebrate work anniversaries, company milestones, and personal events. It isn't only seasoned VAs who get a #woot or kudos: our brand new VAs often hit it out of the park too! Rewarding hard work doesn't have to wait for tenure, and celebrating the little things truly builds a team culture that will benefit your company, clients, and team morale.
Building a cohesive and excellent team culture, whether remotely or in your physical office, is a task that takes intentionality. Communication, creating team spaces, mentorships, and celebration are the pillars that hold up your team culture. You've got this.
Need some extra support? Get in touch with me any time.