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Fast Company: 5 Fun Ways to Build Trust

09 Feb 2021
When employees participate in watercooler talk, it enhances their productivity and sense of belonging, according to a recent study published in <em>Academy of Management Journal</em>.

Originally found at Fast Company, by Jessica Thiefels.

As employers scrambled to pivot their teams to remote work during the pandemic, a number of employees reported losing the sense of connection, relationship, and cultural values they used to have on-site, according to a Gallup survey. 

In fact, employees who worked in a different location than their manager were 10% less likely to feel cared about or recognized for their contributions, 7% less likely to feel aligned with the core mission, and 5% less likely to feel their opinions matter.     

What’s more, according to TinyPulse, while 91% of employees rate their colleagues on a positive scale, just over a third (36%) describe their company’s team-building efforts as “poor” and 30% reveal they don’t have much fun at work. 

Not only do you need to build trust with your remote employees—especially as a new manager who is still learning the team dynamics—but now is a great time to make it fun. Use these ideas to keep things light while connecting more deeply as a team. 

Host a virtual summit

Company summits are always a good idea because you get to move out of the office and do something different for the day. Take your summit virtual to build trust among your team while having fun and connecting on upcoming projects, company values, and company-wide goals.

To make your virtual summit more enticing, try these ideas:

  • Create a branded virtual Zoom background for everyone to use or hold a contest to see who can create or choose the funniest background.
  • Use break-out rooms to give employees time to connect one-on-one. 
  • Take a page from Spanx founder Sara Blakely and include a comedy section where each employee has to tell a joke.
  • Create team playlists 

A shared music experience can reinforce the bonds of social cohesion and inclusion among people in diverse locations, suggests Frontiers in Psychology. The good news is, you can easily create a shared music experience to build trust and reinforce team bonds with shared playlists. 

This idea comes from “15 Principles to Manage a Remote Team,” in which communication experts explain that a collaborative music playlist allows colleagues to share their music preferences and introduce one another to new artists, so the team gets closer as a unit.

Play virtual “would you rather . . .”

When employees participate in watercooler talk, it enhances their productivity and sense of belonging, according to a recent study published in the Academy of Management. This connection time builds trust as employees learn facts and personal details about their coworkers, like their favorite music or pets’ names. 

Use a virtual platform like Donut to pair team members with a different coworker each week so they can talk one-on-one. But don’t stop there. Keep it fun and interesting by giving everyone a “Would you rather . . .” question to debate during their chat. 

Continue reading the original article at Fast Company.

Read the original research in Academy of Management Journal.

Also read this AOM Insights summary citing this research.

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