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Team building activities for a remote workforce

Trust is the foundation of all high-performing teams, and without it, everything and everyone suffers. Without trust, team culture will naturally evolve into a competitive, anxious, finger-pointing cloud of frustration, hurt feelings, and half-executed projects.

But how do you get trust? It’s not something you can force on a team, and it’s not something you can order online. Trust takes time and effort to build and can be more difficult to establish when the majority of your employees work remotely. Even when teams have built trust, they must keep nurturing it.

Tips for Low-Trust Teams

Okay, so you’re not exactly where you’d like to be. There’s a few quarrels happening between colleagues, disagreements on the direction of projects, mumbles in meetings, and results aren’t stacking up to where they need to be. You can fix this. 

Let me say that again: You. Can. Fix. This.

Get to know each other personally so you can all see each other as whole people, rather than a bunch of employees who are just working at the same company. Here’s a few ideas you can do virtually or in-person:

  • Fun Fact Friday: Start every Friday morning with a short team meeting. Go around and share one thing you are proud you accomplished at work that week, and one fun fact about yourself or something you are looking forward to this weekend. Who knows, you might find out your colleague sings in a band or races cars as a hobby!
  • Monthly get-together: Spend dedicated time with your team at least once a month without having the focus be on work. Go to a happy-hour together, volunteer, have a virtual soiree where you get to meet each other’s partners or pets, host a book club discussion, or play games together. The Jackbox virtual games have become very popular with the recent shift to remote life.
  • Relationship Guide: Part of getting to know your colleagues is getting to know how you relate to them and can work together. The Predictive Index (PI) Relationship Guide will show areas of strength, weakness, and predicted challenges between two employees. Team members can refer to this guide to navigate their meetings, discussions, and projects to improve productivity and reduce conflict. Since they are working from insights generated by data, both people are leveraging the same information to improve their working relationship, rather than relying on their assumptions or judgments about each other.
  • Use a MOCHA project plan. This plan, explained below, clarifies roles for projects so that everyone involved can agree to the plan and then hold each other and themselves accountable for that work. 
    • Manager: Assigns responsibility and holds the Owner accountable.
    • Owner: Has the overall responsibility for the success or failure of the project and holds other contributors accountable for accomplishing their work on time.
    • Consulted: Asked for input related to the project.
    • Helper: Assists with or does some of the project tasks.
    • Approver: Signs off on decisions before they are final. This person may also be the Manager, or it could be an Executive, Board Member, or external stakeholder.

Create this plan at the beginning of every cross-functional or collaborative project, and be sure to distribute it to everyone on the team. You can also use an online project management tool like Asana or Trello to assign more specific tasks to individuals.

Tips for High-Trust Teams

Congratulations – your people trust each other! Things are already better than you think they are, because trust is the backbone of everything else that has to be done in a timely manner. It’s very likely that your team moves fast, so making time to continue to reinforce trust is important. In addition to the suggestions above, here are other team building ideas for high-trust teams.

  • Employee of the Month: Once a month, select a team member to be “Employee of the Month.” Ask team members to submit their nominations and share why they are nominating that individual. If your company has a culture code, ask team members to align their submission with one aspect of the culture (such as teamwork or transparency). Since your team is already cohesive, you will likely receive submissions for several people so different employees can be selected each month. It will give the team a chance to celebrate one another. You may even decide to throw in a prize for the Employee of the Month, such as a gift card to a café or an extra half-day of paid time off.
  • Personal Development Plan: The Predictive Index (PI) Personal Development Plan highlights an individual’s strengths and caution areas for four traits: dominance, extraversion, patience, and formality. It also provides coaching tips to improve how they work with other employees. Ask your team to print their Personal Development Plan and select one strength and one caution. Schedule a team meeting and let everyone share their strength, caution, and how they may modify their behavior when working with others. Then others can chime in to reinforce the need for this behavior adjustment or let their teammate know they are already doing a great job at this. It’s helpful for the team manager to kick things off and allow employees to provide feedback before everyone else takes their turn.

Contact The Outstanding Company here for additional coaching on team building and to learn how to implement The Predictive Index solutions on your team.