To create an innovative team culture, team members must trust and rely on each other. Trust is essential for any effective collaboration. Team members need to feel that they can openly share their ideas and suggestions without fear of ridicule or rejection. They also need to feel confident that the team will support them in developing creative solutions.
You can foster a supportive workplace culture by creating a positive environment where everyone is encouraged to take risks and experiment. The team should be open to change and willing to try new things. The members should also be willing to listen to each other and respect different points of view.
Ultimately, the goal is to create a team that is united in its mission and knows how to communicate clearly to get their respective jobs done. This workplace environment and team dynamics require the right tools, business systems, and agency to complete their respective tasks. In addition, employees need psychological safety to bring about new ideas and innovations and fail forward.
What steps do you need to take as an employer to ensure an innovative team culture? Take a deeper look at innovation and how you can develop it in your company.
Innovation as an Organization
Innovate, innovate, innovate. If you're not moving the dial forward, you're failing. Right? While progress seems to be the staple of a successful company, how and what a business grows and develops isn't specified. Moreover, there are no set steps to being more innovative, which isn't like flipping a switch. Innovation requires time, nurturing support, and trust.
A massive step in the right direction is creating an environment where employees feel like they can work on new ideas and give them time and incentives. Everyone should understand where the organization is going, where it's been, and what they believe in now.
When you find and appreciate talent who are driven and naturally curious, your organization needs to give them the space to innovate and think creatively, giving them time on the clock to workshop those ideas and, if required—a budget. Collaboration and creativity go hand in hand, as do innovation and failure. Your team needs to believe that everyone, from their co-workers to the highest executives, will be there to work with them and support them through it all.
Innovation Through Remote-First
Remote-first work prioritizes remote employment. Unlike remote-friendly or traditional workspaces, remote-first work is done "offsite" by default. Employers develop all of the company's procedures and culture around working remotely. While solely traditional work only offers in-office work, remote-first employers offer both work-from-anywhere and work-from-the-office setups. In that way, it is different from remote-only as well. The idea is that it provides the best work environment option for each type of employee—those who work best from home or alone—and those who work best in a traditional office setting.
Thanks to the innate flexibility that remote-first work offers, these companies can be more adaptable to change and scale their business more efficiently. Remote-first work also offers better talent acquisition and retention. A Stanford study even noticed a 50% decrease in employee turnover when a business adopted remote-first work.
Employees also tend to be more productive in a remote-first culture. Many believe this is tied to eliminating commutes, removing in-office distractions, allowing employees the flexibility to work when they can be most productive, and more.
How to Create the Best Remote-First Culture
Ensuring performance and employee satisfaction in a remote-first environment might seem challenging. However, you can incorporate several essential tips to create a successful remote-first workspace for your business and employees.
Communication is Key
Since remote teams are typically always in different locations, which can even mean different time zones, tools and protocols need to exist for regular work-related communication. Shared drives like Google and dedicated communication channels like Slack will be necessary. Video and virtual meetings will be especially important because they'll be the closest to in-person meetings.
Sharing information is particularly important for remote-first workplaces. Crucial information and conversations need to be documented and stored in a secure, accessible place. By providing access to the exact tools you want them to use and clearly defining document security protocols, you'll keep information secure and avoid potential leaks if that information were to be stored locally on someone's PC.
Productivity Over Hours
Flexible hours are part of what makes remote work so appealing to employees. Allowing your employees to work around essential activities will make them feel appreciated and ensure they're most productive when they are on the clock. Instead of measuring their success through hours worked, focus on tasks completed and results achieved.
Get Together as a Team
Employees working worldwide can be challenging to get together as a team and connect. That associated loneliness can make being productive a challenge for employees and take a toll on their mental health. Planning annual or quarterly company events can help employees connect and form constructive bonds. Virtual meetings, group chats, and online activities will be even more critical if your company doesn't have the resources to do this.
For more readings about remote-first culture and to take the next steps to pioneer an innovative remote-first culture for your organization, see the Google re:Work guide here. Explore more of our upcoming HR webinars, as well as HR articles and guides here.