4 ways to build a company culture that spans in-office and remote teams

Despite the return to office wave many employees are experiencing, remote work culture is here to stay. A Technology Skills and Sourcing Survey conducted by Andela in partnership with Foundry found that 27% of the IT workforce is classified as “remote.” 

Plus, twenty-nine percent of respondents say the size of their remote IT workforce will grow in the next 12 months, while 54% expect no change. Organizations are also discovering the value of hiring and maintaining global talent to supplement the skills of their office-based staff and bring in diverse perspectives.

As a result of this new way of work, companies are having to reevaluate and restructure how they approach building company culture when managing both in-person and remote staff. Remote work culture doesn’t just correlate with employee engagement, happiness, and performance: McKinsey reports that healthy company cultures are also more adaptable to change and transformation.

Of those who said in Andela’s survey that they expect their remote IT workforce to remain the same size or decrease, 55% said compliance was a top issue, while 47% cited concerns about productivity. Meanwhile, higher productivity is more often cited as a benefit to remote work in the US (44%) and UK (48%) compared to Germany (27%).

Below, we’ll outline what you need to keep in mind for hiring and managing remote and in-office team members, and the steps you should take to maintain a productive and successful hybrid work culture.

1. Recruit with values in mind

The people you bring into your company define the culture, so it’s important to outline your organization’s values and vet whether candidates align with them from the get-go. Thirty-three percent of respondents to Andela’s survey cited embedding talent as a major challenge to outsourcing.

Andela’s values, for example, are Excellence, Passion, Integrity, and Collaboration, or EPIC. No matter how perfect a candidate seems for a role, Andela’s team gauges every possible hire for whether they’ve shown excellence in past positions, have passion for the work they do, embody integrity, and work with or collaborate well with others. Behavioral interview questions can get to the heart of such values, like “Describe a project you worked on that you’re really proud of” or “Tell me about a time when you couldn’t complete a task without the help of others.”

2. Be remote-first, even in the office

Having a remote work culture doesn’t mean you value your offsite employees more than your onsite staff — it just means you make a conscious effort to include and acknowledge everyone, no matter where they’re based.

Remote-first cultures embrace asynchronous communication, meaning they don’t require people to be online at the same time or communicate in real time, so long as their work gets done. They utilize software, tech, and documentation that allow people to share and access information throughout the workday. For example, office IT staff should ensure conference rooms are equipped with video hardware so remote workers can easily call into meetings and participate without technical issues. That said, successful hybrid teams also have clear times — around a 4-hour window — where they overlap.

It’s crucial that a remote-first culture is part of your recruiting process to ensure you’re bringing in the right people who will hold themselves accountable to deadlines and work well in a flexible and distributed setting. Vet candidates for skills like time and project management, and experience working across time zones or locations, with questions such as, “Tell me about a time you worked on a project with remote team members” or “How do you stay organized when balancing competing deadlines or priorities?”

3. Tailor culture to the environment and people

Keeping the physical environment consistent across offices and locations is key to ensure everyone has access to the same resources and exposure to a similar company vibe. When Andela had offices, they all had a similar design while also highlighting each location’s unique traditions.

The same ethos holds true for fully remote companies — continuity across teams is key. Decide on a company policy for ‘on camera’ or ‘no camera’ meetings, ensure there is a central location for important documents and policies, hold company-wide meetings so everyone is in the loop, and foster regular communication through a messaging platform like Slack or Microsoft Teams.

It’s also important to acknowledge and embrace cultural differences when managing a global team. For example, working for long stretches at a time may be typical for one culture, while another may be prone to taking lots of breaks throughout the day. Or, one region may observe and expect to have time off for certain holidays that other regions don’t celebrate.

4. Gather feedback from employees regularly

Building remote work culture doesn’t stop with your last hire or latest company benefit — it should be a continuous effort driven by top executives.

Gather input regularly from both in-office and remote employees on what they like or dislike about your company culture, as well as ideas on how they’d create a more diverse, inclusive, and positive environment. You can host monthly or quarterly feedback sessions with HR, run engagement surveys, or allow employee-resource groups to spearhead new initiatives. Giving employees frequent facetime with and access to senior leadership is another great way to make them feel seen, heard, and understood.

Andela Talent Cloud allows hiring managers to find the right talent for the right role at the right speed and cost with ease. Learn more about Andela for Enterprises and get in touch to get started.

Building a remote team? Dive into insights and best practices for successful remote work in our Tech Leader’s Guide to Remote Work.

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