Human beings have an innate need for belonging.
We want to belong to something, somewhere.
In fact, it’s part of Maslow’s greater theory. After our basic needs are fulfilled, we get to the next level: stability, security, and belonging.
Without a good structure, norms shared values, and expectations, people become rootless and lost. You cannot expect people to work and do their best if they aren’t feeling like they belong in your company’s team. When people feel like they don’t belong, they disengage, become less productive, and either quietly look for other jobs or just resign straight up.
In the online workplace, on the other hand, working in a cohesive group can give us a great sense of both belonging and effectiveness. But it’s also incredibly difficult to master this belonging when you are thousands of miles apart.
It’s why it’s so essential to work on your company’s culture right out of the gate.
If a team has a good connection, they’re able to focus on other areas- the desire to achieve, improving their talents, and helping the business reach new heights. This is easier to do if you see them in person, every day. But what if you’re an online-only company?
Remote working can lead to feelings of isolation, which can have a negative impact on employee well-being, morale, and productivity. In contrast, a positive and happy team can help to build a supportive and collaborative culture that encourages communication, teamwork, and innovation.
This is also dependent on how well you have chosen the people that form part of your team. Management expert Ken Blanchard once said that none of us is as smart as all of us, and without a good team on your side, you will not succeed.
So how do you ensure that your team feels like they belong even when they are far apart?
The answer is that great companies recognize how valuable their team’s happiness is.
So as a remote company of over sixty people distributed around the globe, how do we maintain team happiness and productivity?
Remote working businesses need to rely on effective communication and collaboration tools to maintain their productivity, and team happiness plays a critical role in ensuring that team members can communicate and collaborate effectively.
When employees are happy, they are more likely to communicate clearly and positively, provide constructive feedback, and work collaboratively with their colleagues.
Therefore, remote working businesses need to prioritize team happiness to foster a positive culture, build strong relationships among team members, and increase productivity and engagement.
We use Slack, Monday, and other collaboration tools as well as regular meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to what needs to be done. But what we also do is make space for fun - our fun-stuff Slack channel is filled with prompts every few weeks with questions like “Who is your favorite actress?”, “Where would you like to travel to?” and the ever-contradictive “iPhone or Android?”.
These prompts allow our team to share more of their personality, get talking about things they have in common, and learn more about each other as people. It’s a highlight of our week and many laughs and interesting thoughts are shared.
Many of our hires end up becoming internal promotions and have been with our company for years. Why? Because we support their ability to learn and improve themselves 100%.
Need a qualification in HubSpot? Done. Want to get your degree in business or software development? We’ll help with that.
All because we understand that investing in our team is ultimately an investment in our business. The people that can receive training, formal qualifications, and even mentorship in our company stay with us because they feel like the company really cares about their careers going forward. They see growth opportunities right where they are, instead of looking for them elsewhere.
And it’s been proven by research too. Employees who receive additional training or education as part of their work can apply their new knowledge and skills to their job, which can increase productivity and efficiency. This leads to employee satisfaction and loyalty, which can reduce turnover and the costs associated with recruiting and training new employees.
We know that people like to feel like they belong, and we also want them to feel cared for by the company and the rest of our team. Like many companies, we announce birthdays and important work anniversaries in Slack, but this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Developer’s day? We celebrate it. Human Resources day? We wish our HR reps a special day. Every opportunity we have to show gratefulness, we take.
And that includes gifting. Whether it’s for a work anniversary or Christmas, we as an operations team spend a lot of time making sure that we can send something small to everyone on the team no matter where they are on the globe.
Is it easy to do this? No. It’s a logistics nightmare.
Does it mean people feel more appreciated? Yes.
We have quarterly updates with our team in which we have a fully transparent update about how the company is doing, what has improved, and what needs to improve. The key is to give them a better understanding of where we are going as a team and what we need from them to get there.
The idea is not to add pressure. It’s to encourage people to double down together.
Transparency has a lot of advantages. When senior management is open and honest with their employees, it builds a culture of trust. Employees feel valued and respected when their leaders are transparent with them, and they are more likely to be loyal to the company.
It also means feeling more connected to the company's mission and goals. They can better understand how their work contributes to the company's success and are more likely to be engaged in their work.
Creating that open space between yourself as a manager and your team is incredibly powerful. When employees feel empowered to share their ideas and opinions with their CEO, it creates a culture of innovation. They are more likely to come up with creative solutions to problems, and the company can benefit from their diverse perspectives.
If there’s no transparency, then there is no way that your team will know:
And without these things in their toolbelt, they’ll be ill-equipped to help your business succeed.
Our team manages to stay cohesive and have that sense of belonging because we give them everything they need to become their best work selves. And doing this has helped us achieve 11 years of innovation, and 100% employee retention in 2022, and become one of the fastest-growing private companies in Boston.
Want to know the best part? You can work with our incredible team too.
Are you looking to speed up development or bridge gaps with your current engineering team to achieve business requirements? NineTwoThree provides full product services (or partial) to rapidly onboard the top 1% of talent to your current roster. With flexible contracts and flexible teams - we are prepared to build for you.