How-To strengthen team culture: Creating real team spirit as a remote company


A successful team culture is the be-all and end-all of any company. With the help of a benevolent company culture, you will increase the satisfaction of your employees and motivate them to give their best every day. If all colleagues see each other in the office every day, it’s almost child’s play to organize an after-work party or joint outings from time to time. 

But how does it all work if you offer hybrid working models or see yourself as a remote company? The GOhiring team also asked itself these questions in 2012 when it said: We go remote! In this guest article, GOhiring co-founder Uta Sommer shares her experiences of team culture in a remote setting.

A good team culture: what is it anyway?

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Before we jump straight into the tips you can use to strengthen your team culture, let’s briefly clarify what characterizes a good company culture in the first place. We will probably all agree on what constitutes a bad corporate culture. 

For example:

  • little trust and a lot of control over employees,
  • Lack of understanding when employees are ill or want to take vacation,
  • pure focus on performance and working hours instead of interpersonal relationships and understanding,
  • an aggressive tone in meetings,

…and much more.

Accordingly, a successful culture would be exactly the opposite! At GOhiring, we set ourselves the following goal when we founded the company: Our corporate culture should be characterized by trust, transparency and humanity. Above all in our remote setup, we attach great importance to open communication and promoting the interests of our employees.

In my opinion, it makes a huge difference to employee loyalty if I meet them at eye level. Interest, curiosity and a positive “we can do this together” mentality are simply prerequisites for me and GOhiring.

Let’s take a closer look at the points that are important for a successful team culture – especially in combination with remote work.

Property 1: Transparency

As already mentioned, transparency is an important point, especially with a remote setup. At GOhiring, we rely on various tools to enable asynchronous working across different teams and time zones. Examples include Trello, Slack, HubSpot, Figma and the Google Suite. We track all work steps and projects there.

This means that everyone automatically knows what the current status of a customer or lead is. We can always find out where a project might be stuck and what was specifically discussed in a meeting. Especially in remote settings, it is extremely important to design asynchronous processes so that everyone is on the same page and there are no time-consuming queries. This is particularly important for colleagues in different time zones.

Transparency regarding working hours is also important! We always change our status in Slack so that everyone knows whether we are working, taking a break or finishing work.

Feature 2: Feedback culture

Feedback is incredibly important and valuable, especially in a remote setting. At GOhiring, we rely on regular 1o1 feedback sessions and tools such as Leapsome to stay in regular contact. The advantages of feedback?

  • everyone involved learns something about themselves and their counterparts,
  • communication is improved and
  • personal and professional growth.

When giving feedback, it is important to remain constructive and to address negative things without accusations. Here it is important to communicate without violence, remain fair and not immediately switch to defense mode. Perhaps you could also book a coaching session on the topic as a team? Prevention is better than aftercare.

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Property 3: Community

Without a sense of community, there is no team culture. Your employees need to see themselves as a team – not as silos that sometimes work with and sometimes against each other. Strengthen this sense of community through joint activities! This can also be done remotely.

Things you can also do in a remote setup to strengthen your sense of community (GOhiring approved):

  • Plays online games such as Skribbl or Gartic Phone,
  • Use Slack integrations or tools such as Donut, which regularly bring you together in an online call in different ways,
  • Incorporate funny icebreakers into your meetings, for example: What superpower would you like to have? What sport would you like to be really good at? Chat a little about private matters before getting straight down to business.

Property 4: Trust

Last but not least: Trust each other! Nothing holds you back more than superiors or higher-ranking colleagues who are constantly checking what and how you are doing a task. Especially as a manager, you should not engage in micromanaging. If tasks are completed on time and it is clearly communicated where hurdles may arise, there is no need for daily updates on which project someone is currently working on and for how long.

Give your employees and colleagues confidence and you will see how much they surpass themselves. At GOhiring, we are convinced that everyone knows how to work productively. We trust that updates will be communicated transparently at the necessary time. This produces the best results!

How to strengthen your team culture: 5 strategies

Of course, there are also concrete steps and strategies you can take to strengthen your team culture.

#1. Strategy: Workshop for shared values

How about a workshop with a team building expert, for example? There, everyone together – managers and employees – can find out what is important to them for teamwork. 

Different working styles and productive times also vary from person to person. At a workshop, you can find out exactly what your values are and what everyone needs to get the best out of themselves at work. This also prevents misunderstandings.

At GOhiring, for example, we defined our corporate values in a workshop together with the employer branding consultancy Culture by Design. This in turn gave rise to our GOhiring DNA, which 100% reflects our corporate culture and what we stand for.

#2. Strategy: Developing common goals

It may seem obvious to you, but to do something good for your team culture, you should also set common goals. Sit down together once a quarter, six months or a year and look at the big picture: Where do we want to go? What do we want to achieve together? Where do we record our goals and how do we track our progress? 

Joint target agreements not only give you and your colleagues orientation, but also a sense of purpose in your daily work. This in turn results in a sense of achievement as soon as you have reached a common goal. 

You should bear in mind that some people need more structure than others – check how detailed you set goals for each person. A good team is made up of different personalities and everyone benefits from knowing the goal and how to get there.

#3. Strategy: Regular check-ins

You should hold regular check-in appointments or one-on-ones in line with the jointly defined goals. Don’t just talk to your colleagues about work, but also try to get to know them on a casual, personal level. In a regular exchange, you should then find out what is going well and where things are going wrong. 

We at GOhiring are happy to include the following points in such appointments:

  • How do you feel on a scale of 1-10?
  • What are the biggest hurdles at the moment?
  • Where can I support you (as a manager) more?
  • What is currently going really well? What do you enjoy?
  • How would you describe your current workload? 
  • Is there anything we can adapt?

You can of course customize your questions for these meetings.

#4. Strategy: Celebrate successes

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Shared goals, tools for exchange such as Slack and meetings also help you to celebrate successes. Praise yourselves as often as you can! Share the big and small milestones with the company and show that something is happening. Positive events help you and your team to tackle your tasks with even more motivation. 

At GOhiring, we really post every positive customer exchange, every successful piece of content and other things in our Slack channel and are happy together.

#5. Strategy: Getting to know people

Of course, your main focus should be on work – your company strategy, vision and projects should always take priority in the business context. Nevertheless, we at GOhiring believe that it is essential to get to know your colleagues personally. 

Private life has such an enormous influence on everyday working life that this aspect cannot simply be ignored. Get to know each other better in a remote setting through online games or virtual coffee dates. Have a chat with your colleagues and find out what moves them outside of work. You’ll see that you’ll immediately feel much more connected as a team.

Practical tips for your remote team

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Speaking of online games: Of course, we have also provided you with a few specific tips on how to boost your team culture and the working atmosphere, especially in a remote company.

Align recruiting with corporate culture

Start familiarizing potential candidates with your corporate culture as early as the recruiting stage. This way, you and the applicant can find out right at the start of the application process whether you are a good match in terms of company values.

At GOhiring, the cultural fit interview takes place very early on in the process. The simple reason for this is that we want to explore this important component right from the start. Of course, the professional skills of the applicants are not completely unimportant either – which is why we try to find these out during the pre-selection process and in addition during the culture interview.

Plan regular live meetings – Team Offsites

Regular live events are the highlight of every remote company! Or at least they should be. Team events or offsites contribute immensely to a good working atmosphere – simply because you see each other in person and not just through a screen. Don’t just think of an offsite as an opportunity to sit next to each other while you do “normal” tasks.

At GOhiring, we look forward to our offsites, which we organize twice a year, like little kids. When we meet live, we realize again and again that the work on our team culture and values has paid off: Everyone gets on well with everyone else and everyone has a good time.

We always use these meetings to get to know each other even better and to grow together. For example, we have already organized a workshop on the topic of trust and will also be inviting speakers on topics such as mindset and growth to upcoming meetings.

Es soll etwas
Besonderes sein?

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Set up your processes for remote and asynchronous working

Make sure that you communicate online as much as possible. Tracks all progress and projects via tools such as Asana, Trello or Confluence. It is important that all employees always have access to important information. In concrete terms, this means moving away from individual emails or private chats and towards threads and group chats.

Other tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams or Jandi can help you to digitize all communication. This creates transparency, trust and enormous effectiveness! So nobody has to search for lost information. There is also a lot of potential to improve your products or services! If everyone has access to all the information, the questions are much more reflective. You can use these optimally for improvements and updates.

Processes that are tailored to asynchronous working are important, especially for remote teams. Not everyone works at the same time of day – especially not when different time zones are involved. Therefore, design your workflows in such a way that asynchronous work is facilitated and your team needs fewer face-to-face meetings to clarify a topic. Whether they still want to hold a meeting for a personal exchange is of course up to them.

Carry out virtual team-building activities

For team building, there are also online activities and games such as Among Us, Gartic Phone, Skribbl or GeoGuessr. Special Trivia Team Times at events can also be great fun! For example, you can arrange to meet up online for Halloween or Christmas and celebrate these festivities with costumes or a shared lunch. The main thing is to be creative and think about what you can do together online.

Conclusion: Invest in your team culture for long-term success

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An investment in your team culture is an investment in your company’s success. Keep creating momentum with your team for productive and harmonious cooperation. Online activities such as games or lunch breaks can be a good start. At the same time, it is important to get to know your colleagues in the real world – from our GOhiring perspective, we clearly recommend joint offsites. Moments and workshops without a screen will bring you even closer together.

A strong team culture is particularly important for remote companies. If you don’t meet at the coffee machine every morning, you have to consciously want to break new ground in order to feel connected to your colleagues and as a team. Start investing in your team culture now!

About the author Uta Sommer, Co-Founder @ GOhiring

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Together with Katja Kühne and Florian Behn, Uta founded GOhiring in 2012 – even back then as a remote company. The goal of GOhiring? Perfect automated multiposting to help companies reach the right candidates in no time. GOhiring now helps thousands of recruiting teams every day to get the most out of their job ads. The GOhiring team is constantly growing and welcomes colleagues from all over the world – thanks to the remote setup, online recruiting process and two offsites per year.

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