Working with independent contractors and remote employees who are not in your office is challenging. All parties involved must strive toward a similar objective and communicate well in order for collaboration to be effective. Use these pointers to improve communication with distant and independent team members.
11 Tips for Building Trust with your Team
1. Schedule Weekly Team Meetings
Have weekly team meetings as it can benefit everyone equally. Team members may get misaligned on project goals if frequent meetings are not held, or they maybe confused about who to turn to if they have questions.
Determine the ideal meeting schedule for your team. For example, some teams with constantly changing project demands may discover that brief daily meetings of no more than 15 minutes work well for them. On the other hand, weekly or even monthly meetings may suit the demands of teams working on a longer project cycle.
If certain team members work asynchronously, recording virtual meetings is a good idea. This feature is included in all enterprise-grade video conferencing applications, including Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.
2. Set Expectations
Another crucial aspect of openness is setting clear expectations for your staff. Inform any new team members of your expectations for work hours, abilities, growth, communication, and other factors when they join. Here, it's important to be precise without being overly formal. Team members may be told, for instance, that they must work from, say, 9 am to 5 pm in your time zone. Instead of that, they could be told to:
- ∙ Work 8 hours a day as per their flexibility.
- ∙ Attend weekly team meetings.
By doing this, you make it clear that you need a certain amount of interaction, but you also give your team members more freedom to manage their work schedules. Too many expectations might make team members feel micromanaged, which is bad for trust-building.
3. Set Precise Goals
It is crucial to clearly define goals and objectives for particular initiatives in addition to articulating general work requirements. Setting goals and monitoring progress prepare your team for success. Everyone will be aware of their and their coworkers' roles, which is essential for fostering trust.
Some team members could be uncertain about their duties or question what their coworkers are doing in the absence of defined goals and objectives. This misunderstanding could erode confidence over time. You can strengthen everyone's purpose and give your team more clarity by monitoring objectives and demonstrating how everyone's success fits into a larger picture.
4. Consistency Wins
By promoting consistency, you may strengthen the links of trust across virtual teams. You can do this by:
- ∙ Monitoring hours worked and distributing the burden.
- ∙ Making sure that everyone on the team has the resources they need to carry out their duties includes working with them to establish personal objectives and monitor progress.
- ∙ Promoting peer-to-peer feedback and praising accomplishments.
You may aid team members in becoming more acclimated to their jobs and duties by having a consistent workflow and practices. Remote team members might not always agree on goals if there is no consistency. They could also have issues with responsibility.
5. Use Team Collaboration Tools
Tools for collaboration are necessary for reliable, fruitful remote work. These technologies make it simple to maintain communication amongst team members and frequently decrease the need for meetings. Although each team will require a different set of collaboration tools, it is a good idea to start with:
- ∙ Chat app: Slack
- ∙ Video conferencing app: Zoom
- ∙ File sharing app: Google Drive
- ∙ Project management app: Hive
Without a specific set of tools for communication, team members frequently fall back on a range of various channels that they are already familiar with from previous employment. This can occasionally result in teammates being accidentally left out of the loop, in addition to making communication difficult and crowded. You can maintain the trust and remote collaboration of your team by coordinating workflow and communication.
6. Promote Feedback
As the members of your remote team become more used to one another, you may develop a peer-to-peer (P2P) feedback culture. There are several methods for doing this.
Some team managers make use of a template for peer-to-peer feedback. To help everyone through the feedback process, they provide this form to their team members on a regular basis. Some team leaders would rather instruct their members on how to provide and accept constructive feedback.
P2P feedback is not the same as a manager-led annual evaluation. It is an opportunity for team members to constantly realign and enhance how they collaborate. Receiving feedback from a close coworker soon after a job is completed is frequently more targeted and useful.
7. Do not Micromanage
Be careful not to micromanage your team. When you are used to working close to your colleagues in the office, staying out of day-to-day activities might be challenging to grasp at first. However, while working remotely, micromanaging behaviors might come out as a lack of confidence in the abilities and work ethics of your team members. You might accidentally be micromanaging your team if you observe yourself engaging in any of the following:
- ∙ Hesitate to give individuals on your team critical assignments
- ∙ Asking your team to provide you with copies of every email they send.
- ∙ Feel like one-on-one meetings are taking up all of your time.
- ∙ Even if your team's productivity and production are high, you may wonder if they are really working at all.
Micromanagement can cause team conflict over time, making it difficult to work together.
8. Encourage a Good Work-Life Balance
One of the most effective methods to create trust with your team is to demonstrate that you support their efforts to maintain a good work-life balance. You can do this by:
- ∙ Helping your staff adapt their hours due to an appointment or a change in their personal life.
- ∙ Encourage your workers to use their vacation time throughout the year.
- ∙ There is no need for after-hours phone calls or email correspondence (except in emergencies).
- ∙ Collaboration with your organization to provide resources for team members' health and well-being.
- ∙ Creating a backup mechanism so that when one person is unavailable, the team knows who to contact for specific requirements.
- ∙ Requesting that team members who work after hours plan emails and messages in group communication platforms for distribution during normal business hours.
If your staff struggles to strike a work-life balance or believes they lack the trust and support to do so, you may experience increased levels of burnout and attrition. However, if individuals feel encouraged and trusted, they are more likely to remain enthusiastic and interested in their work.
9. Reward your Team
A little praise may go a long way. As long as you consistently express gratitude, this may be done in person or online. You should also think about rewarding members who achieve personal goals. These incentives do not have to be pricey. Consider what your team members desire and provide it as a reward when they achieve their objectives.
Gratitude is a wonderful approach to connecting with and creating personal ties with your team members. Let them know you appreciate what they are doing and recognize them for their hard work, regardless of what they are accomplishing, whether it is meeting work objectives or simply engaging in team communication. The more your gratitude for their work, the more the chances of them sticking by will be.
10. Create Meaningful Connections
You may use collaborative tools to increase team member bonding. Colleagues' faith in each other's talents grows as they come to know one other better. To break the ice, try some of the following:
- ∙ Plan a monthly coffee hour or happy hour to engage in social discussions through video conference.
- ∙ Assign a "buddy" to each new team member to teach them the ropes and answer queries.
- ∙ Use applications such as Slack to connect team members for one-on-one conversations.
Everyone can easily remain in their own little bubble if no intentional attempt is made to connect distant team members. Building trust is difficult without the foundation of a personal connection.
11. Be Transparent
You must live out the ideals you want your coworkers in your remote team to possess. One of the most essential things you can do to create trust is to be open and honest. Your example of these characteristics inspires team members to emulate you. These good habits lay the groundwork for successful professional partnerships.
Inform your team members that, while you may disagree at times, you respect their opinion and thoughts. Maintain accountability for team members' efforts while emphasizing your appreciation for their open and direct communication. Moreover, show dependability and responsiveness.
Working remotely may be isolating at times. Inform your team members when you are accessible to assist them with workplace inquiries or problems and check in frequently.
Building trust with your remote team is highly essential for work to be fun and for business to be productive. These ideas will help you ensure that your team gels well and gets the job done by the end of the day.