Remain Close, Even When Far Away

by Fred Schonenberg | 2020–04–23

We are all masters of Zoom, Slack and Microsoft Teams at this point, but how do we maintain company culture and our camaraderie while working remotely? Can you replace serendipitous networking, team lunches, happy hours and running into each other in the hallway? I spoke with several visionary executives as well as our global network of founders and investors for the most creative and effective ideas to maintain culture and a sense of corporate identity amidst the disruption we all face.

Virtual Happy Hour

“As a global company, we have already had to learn how to interact via video conferences or zoom calls… collaborating with 6 different zones. But recently, this has become the only option for communication in most cases. One important point that we are enforcing with all the leaders is the importance of trying ‘to remain close, even when far away,’ by ensuring weekly touchpoints between managers and their team, increasing the frequency and improving the quality of the communication calls and routines, and creating weekly moments for the team to interact with such things as a virtual happy hour.” Fabio Kapitanova, People and Management VP at Anheuser-Busch InBev

Global Zumba to Outside Speakers

“With 98 percent of our global workforce working from home, creativity has become one of our greatest assets to keep our people connected. We have leveraged our ten employee networks and existing internal communications tools to provide a rich calendar of events and activities for employees and their families to participate in from home. This includes everything from guided meditation sessions, fireside chats with outside speakers, family yoga classes and Zumba dance breaks, and even an after work in-home dance party. We know our teams need to recharge! As a global company with over 30 offices, these events are offered at different times so that our teams can participate regardless if they are home in Bangalore, Stockholm or New York City. And even though we are remote, we haven’t lost focus on our important employee development process. Our senior leadership team have empowered our managers with resources and information so that they can update their employees on company updates and virtual leadership and development opportunities to stay connected.” — Dyanne Rosado, Global Director of Talent and Culture Design at Nasdaq

Launch an Employees-Only Podcast

Employee-only podcasts are password-protected and usually uploaded and listenable from internal intranet sites only. Since they aren’t publicly available, they bypass external communications delays and enable executives to speak frankly and show vulnerability. “Internal podcasts help pull back the curtain of secrecy and offer the accessibility that employees crave. This is even more important now that so many large companies have sent their employees home for the foreseeable future.”– Molly Beck, Founder Messy.fm.

Listen here to the VentureFuel podcast interviewing Molly on how to launch one.

Pay Tribute

Employee recognition is a challenge when teams are dispersed, but Andrew Horn, founder of Tribute, has created a way to honor staff, appreciate their efforts and share beautiful video montages that spark tears of joy. “The necessity to celebrate and recognize employees connects people in meaningful ways.” Here is the VentureFuel podcast interviewing Andrew on how employers can celebrate baby showers, birthdays and workplace anniversaries remotely.

Agency Cribs

Several agencies including MCD Partners, Canvas Worldwide and Jam3, have launched versions of MTV’s “Cribs” — aka tours of celebrities’ insane homes. Their teams are showing off their more modest pads through virtual tours giving inside peaks into their lives, their fridges, their closets and even their kids’ toys.

The key is to encourage human connection, even if it is digital, virtual and remote. You must support your teams by listening to them, sparking their creativity, and demonstrating that you care about them as people. Everyone wants to be heard, appreciated, and celebrated. There are many emerging platforms, companies and technologies being spun up to enable these connections while we are distributed. If you are interested in learning how these new technologies can help your business, please email us at intro@venturefuel.net

A few more ideas to share: PWC has a Doodle Challenge and Krow Group does company-wide Virtual Bedtime Stories.

VentureFuel helps established companies discover and implement new technologies that drive measurable growth.

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