According to Gallup research, workforces that are highly engaged outperform other companies in earnings per share by 147 percent.
If your team works remotely 100 percent of the time, you are likely experiencing the lowest levels of engagement.
Ouch. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Here are three critical components to engaging a virtual team:
1. Hold in-person gatherings.
Dean Brenner, President and Founder of The Latimer Group and a member of the Forbes Coaches Council, recommends getting together in-person with your virtual team whenever you can. This creates ethos and improves communication.
And if you have a new team, according to Michael D. Watkins for the Harvard Business Review, it’s even better if you get together in-person within the first 90 days.
An article from Gallup describes the “immense power of face-to-face meetings.” After in-person interactions, managers report revived enthusiasm, pride and mission-mindedness. “There is an understated power in sharing a meal, exchanging jokes and stories, and connecting in the same physical space.”
Have in-person meetings as regularly as possible. It can be a challenge to get everyone on the same schedule, so build these meetings into your calendar in advance. We recommend doing this during your yearly strategy planning session. Whether it’s monthly, quarterly, or annually when your team has the dates on their calendar way in advance, they can plan accordingly, and you can help build excitement as the event approaches. Take it a step further and get your team members to vote on the group activities – but always make sure food is on the agenda!
At Thought Design in Grand Rapids, sharing a meaningful meal is our specialty. We provide a beautiful space where your team will cook together, eat together and kick back together with gorgeous views of the Rogue River. And everything is completely customizable, so everyone will leave satisfied.
2. Learn your virtual team members’ strengths.
According to Gallup, managers of remote teams have a duty to combat workplace isolation. One great way do that is by taking the time to get to know team members and learn what their strengths are.
At Thought Design, we specialize in guiding you to leverage your team’s strengths. We will customize our “Team Synergy” session to meet you where you are. You’ll identify the critical strengths of each member of your team and create strategies to apply their skills to roles that will support the team’s shared goals. This goes beyond personality or Myers-Briggs tests and takes you to application and implementation. Your team members will move forward feeling seen and valued.
3. Build trust.
Gallup asked more than 10,000 people, “What leader has the most positive influence in your daily life?” Then they asked the respondents to list three words that described what that leader contributed. One of the main categories that responses fell into was trust. “When employees don’t trust organizational leadership, their chances of being engaged are one in 12. But when that trust is established, the chances of engagement skyrocket to better than one in two.”
Two ways to build trust with employees is to talk about their talents often and help them feel that they belong on your team.
One of our favorite topics to discuss and teach about is trust. After diving into “The Connected Team: Making Your Team a Tribe” workshop, your team will take that learning and apply it in a kitchen challenge. In this unique setting, you’ll see team members’ talents shine in a way you’ve never seen before. Everyone will have a place in the creativity and fun that ensues. Inspire your team members to take some time to get to know each other better and reconnect, increasing trust and communication in each other and with you as their leader.
On a writeable wall, members of a team put their responses to the question “what is trust?” during a recent team building workshop at Thought Design.
Your team loves the flexibility that comes with working virtually. And you have the power to ensure they are performing, engaged, and feel seen and valued. Team building exercises for work need to have all of the right components in order to be effective and enjoyable. Let Thought Design help you design a customized experience for your virtual team.