Why it’s important to get the entire team together, even when they’re all over the world.
BY David Brown – 26 May 2018
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Did you know that in the next four years, 1.87 billion people will be mobile or remote employees, comprising 42.5 percent of the total global workforce?
We’re now living in an age where it’s become commonplace to work with colleagues across three or more timezones. Having a company with remote workers all over the globe and multiple office locations has its benefits. However, with employees spread across the globe, it can often be a challenge to ensure that all locations are able to work, communicate, and share important information easily and effectively.
While there are many solutions available today to make communication seamless for companies with a spread-out workforce, companies fall short when they fail by to bring teams together for face-to-face interactions. When you’re managing a remote team, no matter how big or small, it’s important to make every effort to bring the entire team together when you can.
Don’t get me wrong — relying on tools to stay connected and organized is definitely important. But there’s nothing more valuable than getting the entire company together for an all-company meeting. At Techstars, we just finished hosting our sixth annual StaffCon event, where we brought together the entire global team of 209 people in one place to help show our incredible staff how much we appreciate them, and remind them of the reason behind our mission to help entrepreneurs succeed.
We’ve found that bringing together our entire company for StaffCon each year benefits our entire organization by doing the following:
It builds stronger connections.
This may seem like a dead giveaway, but bringing everyone together strengthens the ties that employees have with the company and their colleagues. Outside of routine company meetings, it gives employees a chance to really get to know one another without a computer screen and technology between them. It provides the opportunity for socializing, which builds stronger relationships on a more personal level that in turn helps teams work more closely together.
During StaffCon, we always schedule small group dinners of eight to 10 people in the evenings. This year, we had over 20 groups. For these dinners, we deliberately choose the groups at random so that employees have the opportunity to connect and interact with people that they don’t normally get the chance to. We have found this to be an extremely successful way to bring in fresh new ideas for collaboration, too, on all the various Techstars programs.
It creates context.
The majority of our work and decisions are made via email, Slack, Voxer or phone. When company locations are spread across countries and time zones, a lot of important details can be lost in translation. Team relationships can be damaged when tone and context aren’t present. Team members, for instance, aren’t able to hear the tone in voice or see the body language or facial expressions that they would be exposed to in person. By bringing your team together, it allows team leads to better explain why decisions are being made. It opens the floor to larger discussions about these decisions.
It aligns goals.
I’ve saved the most important for last. There is no better time than an all-company meeting for leadership to emphasize goals, successes, and areas where improvement is needed. Providing an all company update tends to lose its impact when it’s done on a conference call, with hundreds of employees sitting silently on the line. Transparency and trust is the only way to be successful as a large organization. These face-to-face meetings provide the opportunity to build trust within the company, and create a clear road map of all goals that the company wants to accomplish and how it can reach those goals.
This year at our event, we decided to change things up a bit from past years and have a little fun with our all-company update. Rather than doing the run-of-the mill update, we delivered it in a talk-show style, complete with theme music, commercials, credits and more. During the commercials, we gave out awards to make the experience more interactive and give everyone the opportunity to be involved.