With so many statistics that now back up the idea that remote work is just as productive – if not more – than in-office setups, why is there still so much inherent distrust in these systems? Let’s talk about how to build trust in remote teams and hybrid workforces.
Key Elements to Build Trust in Remote Teams
According to Learnlight, there are 10 key elements to consider when building trust in remote teams. They are:
- Dependability: your team has to be able to depend on each of its members
- Consistency: establish a ground-rule system, where expectations are widely known and used fairly
- Congruency: “say what you mean and do what you say”
- Reciprocity: you must work with the mentality of a team player
- Confidence: building trust means having confidence in yourself, your team, and your company’s leadership
- Accountability: poor performance can be improved, don’t forget that
- Transparency: the communication within the team has to be transparent and equal – make sure everyone has the opportunity to be on the same page at all times
- Collaboration tools: trust is built through communication, and communication happens within collaboration tools when it comes to remote work
- Interpersonal relationships: remember that each person on your team is still a person – we all need people to talk to, and just because you don’t see each other at the watercooler anymore doesn’t mean you can leave out those personal conversation-driven moments
- Commitment: team members need to be dedicated to working towards shared goals and hitting personal deadlines.
Foster Kindness & Compassion
We mentioned interpersonal relationships above, and it’s impossible to understate the importance of the personal touch when it comes to building trust. When team members feel like they are supported in more than just the professional capacity, they tend to open up and be more transparent when issues arise.
Recently, there was a story going around on social media again about a man who was 13 minutes late to work, without having any other disciplinary problems. The original narrator talks about how the employee’s boss simply yelled at him without giving the employee a chance to explain. There were some serious personal matters going on in his life, and had the employer had reacted with kindness and compassion, he would have been able to retain an otherwise exemplary employee.
There’s a reason the saying “People don’t quit bad jobs, they quit bad bosses” is so popular. Often, we jump to negative conclusions that can permanently damage professional relationships and ruin the trust within a team. Leading with empathy and a listening ear can show your team that it’s not just the project that is important within the group.
Cultivate a Culture of “No Dumb Questions”
I once heard two people in the midst of an argument where one person, we’ll call them Jay, didn’t understand why the other person, we’ll call them Kay, was so upset. After Jay had tried numerous times to get Kay to clarify what they meant, Kay simply said, “Well, everything I say makes sense to me. I don’t know why you can’t understand me.”
This is a perfect example of why clarity is so important in building trust in remote teams. Have you ever read a text message that you thought was sent with ill intent, just to find out that the person who sent that message to you wasn’t mad at all? Or have you ever sent an email outlining a process or directive, only to have a team member mess up on the execution of that directive because they didn’t understand it and didn’t want to ask for clarification?
Communication is a two-way street, and that means it’s not just about what you say, it’s about how your listener perceives it. If everything you say makes sense to you, but your team is struggling to grasp your meaning, your communication has failed. That’s why clarity through questioning is important. It’s much easier to build trust in an environment where feedback and questions are welcome and not seen as a burden.
Build Trust in Remote Teams with Good Training
Trust also comes from training and from a staff that knows what is expected of them. The way we work is changing — whether it’s due to a pandemic or previously set digital transformation goals. Organizations across the globe seek to unlock efficiencies, effectiveness, and expansion through the adoption of the latest collaboration tools. Need help putting your plan in motion?
Whether you want to modernize legacy or on-premises tools and move to the cloud or are at the start of your collaboration journey, it can be daunting to choose the right platform for your business and people. We can step you through your current situation to get you where you want to go.