Trust is an essential building block for any team. Without the intentional effort to encourage bonding and transparency, building personal relationships and retaining remote employees wouldn’t be possible.
But like any ‘long-distance relationship’, virtual relationships are prone to assumptions and misinterpretations that break down the trust.
And this breakdown could negatively reflect on your team!
According to a Harvard Study, organizations with higher trust among team members have higher empathy, collaboration, recognition, vulnerability, and personal growth for everyone. But organizations with lower trust lead to a toxic work environment.
The study further shows that organizations with higher trust positively impact the employees leading to -
- 74% less stress
- 106% more energy at work
- 50% higher productivity
- 13% fewer sick days
- 76% more engagement
- 29% more satisfaction with their lives
- 40% less burnout
Key Elements that Help us Build Trust
Trust is the very foundation of a great remote team. And it reflects in the way they communicate, collaborate, and collectively achieve goals.
People often ask me, how do you build that personal rapport with someone who’ve never met before?
My team not only includes people working across different time zones but also people from different cultures globally. And with a team like that, each team member should feel included and comfortable to build a positive virtual relationship.
Over a period of three years, I have realized that there are a few key elements that make or break a remote team’s trust. Maintaining these can help you ensure trust in your team as well.
- Dependability - If team members are dependable, you can anticipate how they will perform together and how well will they accomplish the target goals.
- Consistency - An ideal remote team needs to be consistent and predictable. All team members should follow the workflow consistently and should be aware of the protocols that are applicable to everyone.
- Congruency - Teams should work in harmony. When team members say what they mean, and do what they say, it is easier to build trust among them.
- Reciprocity - Everyone knows that there is no ‘I’ in the team. If a team member is giving their 100% to the team, the rest of the team members must reciprocate it.
Transparency - Sharing information openly with the entire team is an essential step to build trust. When team members are fully aware of the on-going projects and tasks, they tend to collaborate better with each other.
[Case Study] How we Build Trust in our Remote Team
The number one thing I tell people when they ask me about managing a remote team is - Always trust your team members.
Naturally, the response I get is - how? I understand why people wouldn’t trust their teams right away. Especially when they haven’t proved themselves as a valuable resource for the organization.
But it’s also important for you to understand that each individual working in the organization is valuable and should feel valued. If you pitch employees against each other for ‘proving their worth’, it will only lead to unhealthy competition and lack of collaboration among them.
To motivate remote teams the right way, you need to assure them that you completely trust them and rely on them. This way, you develop a sense of unity among the team members and they are able to trust each other.
Monitor, Don’t Micromanage
We pay special attention to not micromanage our teams. It is another way to build trust among them. But as a manager, you need to keep track of how things are going. And we have been efficiently doing that without micromanaging our teams for over a year now.
There are many tools available to you that can help you achieve the same.
In our team, we rely heavily on Prodoscore to calculate productivity. It is a cloud-based software that calculates your employee productivity score based on assessing their performance and time spent in G Suite applications like email, calendar, docs and hangouts and other tools such as your CRM.
With the help of this tool, we are able to evaluate how long each employee is working and how productive they are during their work hours.
This enables us to -
- Put numbers on individual productivity
- Consider productivity when discussing appraisals or promotions
- Meet deadlines
- Predict burnouts
- Build trust among team members
Make Technology your Best Friend
Think of any challenge that you face when working remotely and I can tell you a tool that can help you overcome it. The availability of tools is unlimited for us. Only if we make the right use of them, collaborating and building trust within teams will be a piece of cake.
Since we’ve started using tools like Prodoscore, Miro, Slack and Trello (four tools we swear by), we are able to tackle almost every problem that we used to face earlier.
Our team, like most remote teams, uses Trello for project management & Slack for communication. I don’t think I need to convince you that Trello and Slack are among the best tools out there. Having a separate Trello board for each team member (besides the project boards) has also helped us maintain transparency and consistency among the team.
Although, we did find brainstorming a little difficult on Trello so we switched to different tools for that. Our entire team has been using Miro, a collaboration platform, to brainstorm ideas, strategies, content and so much more. We prefer Miro over other collaboration tools as it helps keep each team member engaged with the idea and efficiently list it down.
Over to You - Build Trust in your Team Today
After running remote for the past few years, we’ve found that building a strong culture has a great impact on team relationships. Relationships that extend beyond work build empathy and empathy builds trust and accountability. If you build your company culture around how your employees interact and work with each other, it can significantly help you build trustworthy relationships virtually.
But trust and culture do not build on its own.
Lucky for you, we can help you in creating a strong company culture. Learn about the importance and benefits of a strong culture and how you can build one in your team today!