Malini Bhatia, Founder & CEO of Marriage.com shares her experiences with creating successful group dynamics for a global remote team.
At Marriage.com, the bulk of our content is focused on helping couples discover new and more effective ways to communicate through difficult areas of their relationship. Sometimes, we talk about what marriages can learn from business, but one thing we discuss internally is how a business as unique as ours can learn from successful marriages.
We are a startup with a global staff, with team members awake and contributing at all hours of the day. With so many variables at play -- engineering stability, data integrity and redundancy, marketing and social media, content generation, subject matter experts -- the importance of communication can’t be understated. This requires a culture of understanding and transparency, and that starts at the top. The quality of a company's communication as established by management defines the company’s success path. Conversely, a lack of effective communication can lead to misunderstandings and resentment.
This is all heightened with a worldwide team. While establishing the company culture comes from management, everyone also needs to take advantage of modern tools to keep these channels open at all hours around the globe:
● Cloud Content Creation: Nearly all departments of Marriage.com need access to content, from the subject matter experts that create it to the engineers that manage its posting and metadata to the marketing and social media staff. To achieve this, we use Google Docs, which allows for instant sharing and real-time collaboration, including review and comment markups.
● Online Communication: Modern technology has made global team communication easily available. We use WhatsApp to connect our team to an instant messaging platform. We also use Google Talk to connect internationally with VoIP and video chat, along with the platform’s standard instant messaging/group chat features.
● Digital Training: With staff around the globe, it takes some careful planning to ensure everyone is trained on company protocol quickly and efficiently. ProProfs Training allows us to easily transfer knowledge to new employees anytime and anywhere. Custom modules are built from a combination of protocol, process, and company culture, enabling efficient training without the need of an instructor or in-person meeting.
● Virtual Meetings: It’s always good to put a face to a name, especially when you’re communicating everyday. Our virtual face-to-face meetings take place over FaceTime, which adds that necessary human touch to all of the technology powering our global staff.
Leadership Through Communication
Technology can shrink the distance between management and employees around the world, but strong communication skills are still required to bring it together. This is particularly critical in a remote work environment, where it can be easy to feel out of touch. Effective communication with remote staff increases productivity, establishes a sense of responsibility, and maximizes an overall feeling of being connected. This also helps to minimize mistakes due to misunderstanding, as well as provide quick paths to corrections without a negative environment or people making bad assumptions. Remember, fostering relationships -- in person or remotely -- speeds a company's growth.
With all this in mind, there are practical ways to implement this type of constant communication without employees feeling like they are being micromanaged. Regular meetings and check-ins should be used smartly to keep everyone on the same page. Daily, weekly, and quarterly intervals can be used as long as the interactions are given appropriate weight. For example, a daily check-in over instant messenger or a cloud status sheet can provide status without intruding or micromanaging. Other ideas include a Monday morning staff meeting, monthly metric status updates, quarterly goal and milestone status updates, and discussions over team-bonding exercises (team walks, hikes, and outdoor activities).
Whatever technique you use, remember that the goal is always to strengthen relationships. Whether digital or in-person, formally scheduled or casual conversation, effective communication both delivers messages and listens to concerns. Technology allows us to have our teams all over the world, but in the end, it's that all-important human touch that allows us to thrive.
Malini Bhatia is the Founder & CEO of Marriage.com, an online hub for advice from vetted experts on all things marriage. Her passion for supporting people through the journey of building and sustaining positive, healthy relationships, combined with her business acumen, inspired the creation of Marriage.com. She has past experience in the PR and communications industries and has worked with companies in the tech, healthcare and non-profit sectors. @marriagedotcom