In today’s digital world, remote work has become the new norm, making it essential to find innovative ways to build trust and connection within remote teams. With team huddles being a crucial part of team collaboration, it’s vital to adapt and nurture these connections even when team members are spread across different time zones and locations.
This blog will provide valuable insights into how one of our Scrum Masters, Charissa Cara Plaatjies (now a Senior Scrum Master), created camaraderie, promoted open communication, and fostered trust among team members, regardless of their physical distance.
Charissa, as a Scrum Master for Kenya Hiring Team, was facilitating three huddles a week. She decided to dedicate the 3rd huddle, which was on a Friday, to focus on building rapport and a positive culture within the team through engaging on a “personal” level with each other. So the team decided on a theme or topic for each Friday, where they would discuss anything they wanted to know more about to foster learning and synergy within the team.
The team would choose a Friday where they would turn their cameras ON and introduce themselves according to the theme for that day. One day they had a “show and tell.” So, they had to show a personal artifact that held meaning and spoke to their personal beliefs or exceptional value to a place, person, or situation they experienced that shaped them. This encouraged conversation, and they got to know each other and learned more about their team’s different personalities and cultural practices.
It was indeed a fantastic experience and got the team closer. Turning on the cameras for the first 5 minutes of the meeting put back the human element, and everyone kept smiling while engaging with each other.
Sometimes all we need is to put a face to the voice and connect through eye contact to make us aware of our vulnerability and need to connect with another person.
Bringing in each person’s topic of interest gave the team a perspective on that member’s work style, inherent personal communication style, and preferences. Now they knew who their “go-to” person was on which topic or area of expertise within the team.
It is so important that we remember that as human beings, we deliver our best when we can laugh, share and feel that we genuinely have value to offer each other. Creating and fostering a positive and inclusive culture sets the stage for high performance within a team.
There were so many instances where it was important for Charissa to create an opportunity to engage one-on-one, and 90% of the time, she would request her team to switch cameras on, even if it was just for the introduction.
Charissa practices a similar approach while having conversations with prospective candidates. For those first 5 minutes, they connect by sharing who they are, where they are from, what brought them to this point, and their expectations regarding their interaction.
She ensures the candidates understand and respect each other’s communication styles and preferences. By doing this, she hardly has to ask questions; the candidate feels safe presenting their best selves and skills related to the role requirements. Once they know that it is a 2-way decision where they also get to evaluate the organization and the value the internship will bring to their career goals/path, it changes the dynamic of the conversation and candidate experience.
The above has always been Charissa’s approach to engaging meaningfully with other teams (Employee Engagement and Onboarding).
We invite you to embark on a journey to transform your remote team huddles into engaging and connection-driven experiences that will bring your team closer, no matter where they are located.