4 Ways to Use Technology to Build Team Relationships
By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Given retailers’ expansive geographical reach, it’s not uncommon for retail dietitians to manage a team, work for, or have colleagues in a different geographic location. Peak shopping hours create ideal times for healthy living programs, resulting in varied work schedules for retail RDs. The end result is heavier reliance on technology to build relationships amongst teams.
The good news is that there is a plethora of tools available for staying connected with colleagues and building strong relationships that result in highly productive teams. Consider these four ways to use technology to build teams.
Make the Most of Video Conferencing and Virtual Hangouts
While you may not be able to schedule in-person meetings, these tools allow face-to-face engagement. People tend to sit straighter, listen attentively, actively engage and monitor body language more effectively when using video conferencing vs. conference calls. Consider establishing group rules, such as everyone must use their video view, to ensure engagement and prevent multi-tasking. Create methods that allow everyone to have a turn to talk.
Promote Small Talk
Trust gets built when colleagues have the opportunity to get to know each other both within and outside of work. Use instant messaging tools to ask about people’s weekend or tell a funny story. Create text message groups where employees can share a success story from the day, acknowledge a co-worker’s special day (such as a birthday), or ask a quick question.
Hire the Right Person
While many people love being able to work from home or are comfortable having a boss or employee in a different state, it isn’t for everyone. When hiring, be transparent about the working environment. Look for individuals who feel comfortable working independently and have proven success in self-managing their time and deadlines. Discuss communication styles to ensure they will be effective in staying connected.
Use File Sharing Systems
With multiple people in various locations, file sharing systems such as Dropbox, Google Docs or shared drives are essential for driving projects forward in a timely manner. Establish a file and naming structure as well as a document versioning system to minimize confusion during group projects. Assign an owner to each subject or document. Clearly communicate timing for reviews and responses.
Employees who can easily communicate with each other are more engage and content, build more successful networks at work, and are more likely to stay with a company.