A strong sense of team belonging is essential to every successful business. But as your team goes remote and global, feelings of isolation can creep in. That’s why you need to take a proactive approach to boost belonging so every team member feels included and valued.
At Omnipresent, we’ve built a fully remote, global team distributed across 50+ countries. We’ve learned a lot about belonging along the way. So here are our seven top tips to help you create and strengthen belonging as your team grows.
1. Listen to your team
Belonging isn’t one-size-fits-all. Your team and circumstances are unique, so tailor your plans accordingly. That’s why listening closely to what your team wants is important. Don’t assume you already know.
Start by sending out regular eNPS surveys and pulse checks to gather insights and identify trends. Include specific questions on belonging and solicit written feedback to gain a deeper understanding of employee needs. This enables you to plan strategically instead of haphazardly, saving you time and money in the long run.
Be sure to include your team members in this plan. Allow them to steer the direction and give feedback throughout. That way, they feel like they belong from the start.
Then, use your next survey to assess the impact and develop your plan accordingly.
2. Go beyond diversity & prioritize inclusivity
Global teams are inherently more diverse than centralized, office-based teams. But diversity alone isn’t enough to create belonging. In fact, diversity without inclusion could make your team members feel excluded.
That’s why it’s important to create an inclusive, equitable culture where everyone feels heard and valued.
Effective diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work requires continuous effort. It’s a huge task, but here are some ideas to get you started:
- Include DEI in your code of conduct and company policies to set expectations.
- Host DEI training for all staff members.
- Organize specific training sessions for people and hiring managers.
- Take appropriate action on behaviors that don’t live up to your companies values and expectations.
- Celebrate various cultural events and holidays throughout the year.
- Set up employee resource groups (ERGs) and safe spaces for marginalized people to express and discuss their concerns and feedback.
- Host regular “ask me anything” sessions with your leadership team during all-hands meetings. Ensure you collect questions anonymously so everyone feels comfortable.
If you build a culture of inclusivity, belonging will naturally follow.
3. Promote public recognition
In an office environment, it’s easy to recognize good work. You can hear when someone’s closed a deal, finished a project, or smashed their target. In a remote environment, these moments can pass unnoticed. But public recognition is vital to belonging. It makes people feel valued.
So be sure to promote recognition in the virtual environment too. For example, you could set up a Slack channel for shoutouts, announce promotions in your all-hands meetings, or start a rewards program to recognize achievements.
4. Provide comprehensive benefits
Employee benefits are an excellent tool for engagement. They can also help you increase belonging within global teams. The key is to create a benefits package that speaks to your unique team members. Your team is diverse, so your benefits should be too.
Here are some popular employee benefits to meet your teams’ diverse needs:
- Flexible working policy
- Generous paid time off
- Learning and development stipend
- Access to therapy and well-being resources
- Inclusive family leave
- Stock options
And don’t forget to provide localized benefits that meet country-specific statutory requirements and expectations. These vary significantly per location, so working with a global employment partner like Omnipresent can be useful to stay compliant.
5. Use the right stack of communication tools
Good communication is crucial for any team but particularly important for remote and global businesses. Effortless communication across locations and time zones will help your teams feel connected and productive. And those qualities are both essential for belonging.
So start by assessing your current communication tools and guidelines. Getting the basics right will help your teams connect, collaborate, and socialize–even if they’re based thousands of miles apart. And that communication will help them feel like they belong.
To learn more about effective remote communication, check out our separate guide.
6. Plan regular social events
Working in a distributed team can feel isolating. So it’s essential to provide opportunities for teams to come together, share experiences, and build stronger connections.
This looks different for every company and team, but here are a few ways we regularly connect at Omnipresent:
- Host randomized virtual coffee sessions between colleagues.
- Plan weekly remote social activities like online quizzes and games.
- Create Slack channels dedicated to hobbies and passions (#food is one of our most popular!).
- Provide global access to co-working spaces.
We also bring our whole team together once a year for our OmniRetreat. While organizing a company-wide offsite is challenging, the hard work certainly pays off. The OmniRetreat helped us to enhance cross-functional collaboration, spark new ideas, and solidify a strong sense of belonging.
7. Outsource your global employment ops
Managing global employment operations takes up a lot of time. It’s also really complex. This leaves you with fewer resources to focus on your people and belonging. So why not outsource those administrative tasks to experts?