One of the major concerns of having remote employees is developing and increasing their engagement and motivation at work. After many trials and errors, we have realized that building a community at work has increased engagement and motivation at Link Motion. But how can we build a community when most of our employees are working remotely?
From the beginning
Building a community needs the right kind of people that would be able to work in a remote work environment. That is why, from our recruitment and onboarding process we focus all our attention on finding the right candidates that will be able to easily integrate into our working culture.
Since the induction we introduce the employees to the company, culture, values and vice versa. Our induction happens in two different layers, one is remotely and the other is at a physical location. The employee’s first day will always be at one of our offices, this will introduce them to the location and allow them to have a basecamp. As well, employees will present themselves on our internal company blog, which will introduce them to the rest of the company and remote employees. On this blog posts they talk about their work experience, current tasks, and hobbies.
The benefit is that both layers of the induction give a different perspective to the employees allowing them to expose themselves to both aspects of the company; communicating onsite and remotely. This will make it easier for them to integrate and adapt into our community.
Regular feedback is intrinsic in our culture. For us feedback is the way to improve and keep moving forward. That is why we appreciate feedback in every area at Link Motion. Don’t know something? Need different perspectives? Want to boost areas that are lacking? Feedback will always be the answer. Not only does it improve every aspect of our company, but it allows employees to feel heard, and gives them a safe space to praise or rant about any subject.
We have constant and consistent feedbacks that are measurable, such as our yearly Pulse Survey. However, our preferred method is everyday feedback. Inside our community it is well known that feedback can be given through any of our channels on any given subject or area. Our goal is to let employees know that they are being heard, and that they can be honest. We don’t want BS, we need honesty to move forward.
An example is one of our current Feedback Surveys, “Rant about QMS”, where employees can anonymously praise or rant about our quality management system. By listening to feedback and adapting it to our working practices we will be able to increase its application.
Based on data received through Pulse Survey, a persistent feeling that remote employees have is lacking the same information that non-remote employees. To solve this problem, we consistently try to communicate news and efforts done at Link Motion. One example is Motion Updates which are bi-weekly conference calls with the purpose of updating employees on the most recent news in all areas of the company. Everyone is welcomed to join, and we also create a blog post for people who were not able to attend the call. This is accessible for everyone no matter in which part of the world they are in.
Creating forms of communication that can reach both remote and office employees is challenging and requires creativity. However, it is always rewarding seeing the benefits that they bring.
An example of a relaxed environment we created for employees can be found on our Slack where we created a channel called #coffeeroombstalk. Yes, like the title says, no formalities are needed in this channel. The goal is to bring back that coffee room chit-chat talk that is missing from working remotely. Fomenting this type of casual talks will always create more ideas, bring people together, and solve problems.
IRL (In Real Life) Meetings
IRL Meetings are essential. Bringing people together will always strengthen and improve the team spirit. At Link Motion we have two types of main events which bring our employees together. Code Camps, which happen four times a year with a focus on updating and training employees, and seasonal events such as Summer and Christmas parties. Knowing each other IRL will give a different perspective to remote teams and will create bonds that will increase communication and understanding.
This recipe has been built out of experience and a careful analysis and understanding of what our employees need. Employees that are heard will be invested in the development of their company. Therefore, building a community on the foundation of communication will bring benefits to everyone. Establishing the framework takes time, however, once everything is set and running it will certainly be rewarding.