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How Meeting Once a Year with Your Remote Staff Can Transform Your Small Business

As a business owner, you want your staff to constantly show up, perform, and help grow your company. And when you have a majority of your staff being virtual, it’s hard to keep your team engaged and feeling like they are part of a larger picture.

That’s why at Dream Local Digital we decided to take a plunge and bring our entire staff (in-house and remote) to Rockland, Maine, for an annual summit. Little did we know that this summit would change our minds and business forever!

The benefits of a team summit

  • Face to face interaction with team members you may not see regularly
  • Training on new products and services
  • Building group morale
  • Creative strategy sessions
  • Yearly review
  • Awards and giving recognition

Face-to-Face Interaction: For many of you, when you have a remote staff your interaction with them might solely be through project management systems, team workplace chats, Skype, or Zoom meetings.

It’s unfortunate that we don’t get to extend this relationship on a one-to-one basis. That’s why meeting with your staff in person is a great way to further your relationship over what you already love most – work!

Training on New Products and Services: When we met for our summit, we had a ton of new ideas and services we wanted to implement. What better way to discuss these changes than an immersion training when you have all eyes and ears ready to listen?

For eCommerce brands, when you’re going through the testing phase on a new product, no need to hire outside product testers when you can bring your products to your summit and have your staff test them. After all, your staff wants the business to succeed and they will be the ones helping sell the products, so why not have them test them and maybe even get a few to keep!

Group Morale: Have you ever experience ad dip in company morale? People tending to not be excited to work or feeling like things aren’t progressing as they should. This is a common occurrence for many business owners, and you shouldn’t feel alone.

A great solution to that is having your team go through morale- and trust-building activities at your summit. This helps everyone feel comfortable together, helps eliminate conflict among departments, and builds a foundation for support moving forward.

When we had our company summit, we hosted a few morale-building activities. While we didn’t do any trust plunges, we did have our client strategy and brand manager put together a marketing activity around social media.

The activity consisted of breaking into strategy teams that had people from each department; content creation, editors, project management, sales, finance, SEO, social, as well as our administrative staff.

Each team was given a task that included building social media posts that centered around engagement and ROI. When the work was done, people voted for their favorite posts by using sticker icons representing “likes,” shares, and clicks for the ones they would engage with personally.

The exercise generated a lot of laughs, some great post ideas, and great concluding conversation about why certain posts worked and which were likely to provide an ROI.

Are you curious about which industry we chose for this activity? Plumbing! Yup, we gave the most exciting industry of all and let me tell you – those posts were creative, engaging, and later put into a sales deck for a plumbing company, so they came in handy!

Strategy Sessions: Ever wonder if you could be handling a company process better, have a break in one of your team’s flow, or want to get a second perspective on an idea? The best place to ask for this advice is from your team.

Strategizing with multiple departments not only gives an “outsider” perspective, but it also allows for other departments to realize the company doesn’t operate as a one-man team but as a collaborative team effort.

Having outsider perspective allows you to see how a customer would react, gain perspective into the customer or buyer experience and ultimately improve to fit their needs. You want customers to buy, and the easiest way to do that is to tap into their mindset. Ask your customer support team to jump into strategy sessions. You might be surprised at how insightful they are!

Yearly Overview: At the end of the year, it’s likely you have a yearly strategy session to go over year-end closing materials with your finance department as well as department managers. A great way to collaborate and have these overviews – then discuss the results – is when you have a team summit. With everyone together, you have the opportunity to discuss the new year’s goals and the previous year’s goals as a whole.

When we discussed our annual review, we realized how much more staff we needed to bring on to fulfill customer and client requests, as well as where we needed to improve to ensure we were a top picked company for both clients and staff. It was eye-opening to ask questions, receive feedback, and gain suggestions for improvement.

Rewards and Recognition: As much as we all love to get an email with a reward certificate or a PDF doc in our group chats, receiving an award in person is a great feeling. Use your company summit as a way to recognize each department, promote within, or simply mention what great work people are doing.

Did your sales team bring in a new client? Reward it. Has your social media team transformed a client with social ads? Recognize its efforts.

Even in our daily work, we use Workplace by Facebook to collaborate on projects; share industry trends and best practices, upcoming product releases, and troubleshoot challenges as they arrive.

This has become an integral part of our culture and allows each person to influence the entire company and keep us all informed and current with what is happening in our industry as well as what is working for our clients.

Our team is one of the many reasons that Dream Local Digital continues to be a best-of-breed solution for businesses and for our partners across the United States. As our company continues to grow, we will continue to have in-person summits, and we look forward to each of them and the improvements to our company that they will bring.

Check out the slideshow below that includes some of our favorite moments at the summit.

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