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5 Imperative Tools That Measure and Improve Workplace Culture

October 15, 2021
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3 min

Boost employee morale, improve psychological safety, act on burnout, and measure culture with these workplace culture assessment tools.

Sarah Archer
Boost employee morale, improve psychological safety, act on burnout, and measure culture with these workplace culture assessment tools.

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Let’s face it: remote teams are bombarded with endless tools with big promises. 

But more often than not, they don’t live up to the hype.

We’ve spent years working remotely, in both hybrid and distributed settings, testing said tools. With much trial and error, we’ve limited our tool stack to five culture assessment tools that are proven to support, improve and measure culture amongst our team. 

Culture assessment tools that actually work

Our remote team has collectively tried and tested nearly 20 software tools (yes, we counted). That means, we’ve experienced the tools first hand that hit a dead end.

Sound familiar? Here are culture assessment tools that don't just check off the box of leadership duties. They trigger action to improve culture in the workplace. And that’s why we use them every day.

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1. Tandem

Tandem interface for remote teams

Tandem is our go-to software for building a remote connection across our team. And for good reason. 

It’s a collaboration tool that allows virtual teams to work together in a similar flow to in-person collaboration. Wish you could tap your colleague on the shoulder with a quick question? If they’re green, click “talk” for a spontaneous conversation. This action also provides the opportunity to screen share or turn on video, so you don’t need to go through the extra steps of setting up an official Zoom calendar invite. 

We also love it for its 120+ integrations like Google Suite, Slack, Notion, and Spotify that sync automatically. For example, your colleague can see what Google Doc you’re working on, and jump in to help out when you need it. And if you so choose, your colleagues can see what you’re listening to on Spotify and join your playlist too (don’t worry, you can toggle this off if you’re not comfortable in sharing your obsession with Nickleback yet). 

How does Tandem improve workplace culture in a remote environment?

It makes virtual coworking a whole lot easier. And water cooler chats become much more natural. By harnessing a culture of transparency, your team will feel comfortable collaborating and are more apt to ‘tap someone on the shoulder’ to talk about last night’s episode of Survivor.

2. Yac

Yac interface for remote teams

Have you ever cancelled a meeting because, well, there was nothing new to cover? We do it all the time. 

With a team working remotely across four time zones, we’ve also learned how to take meetings async with Yac. Yac is a voice and video message platform; the perfect way to cut down on meetings. 

Need to walk a direct report through a technical process? Use Yac to share your screen and create a 3-minute how-to. Want to hold morning stand ups, but your team is scattered across time zones? Create a #standup channel where everyone shares updates, what they commit to, and open questions, blockers or asks. 

How does Yac improve workplace culture in a remote environment?

It encourages employees to collaborate when they feel their most productive; not when they’re forced to. Offering that kind of freedom to a remote team improves morale, prevents burnout, and empowers employees to be honest. 

3. Headspace

headspace interface for remote teams

Why would a meditation and sleep app be part of our culture tool stack? 

Because encouraging your team to take care of their mind and body will make them more present during the work day. 

helps our team use mindfulness to counter the challenges that come with working remotely. Our team has access to hundreds of meditations and exercises that help them with what they’re struggling with — whether that be sleep, stress, or motivation. 

Our managers can see the impact of the programs with access to our employer dashboard, which gives a rundown of the engagement by content type, depth of engagement per user, and top courses that our employees are using. 

It’s a win-win. 

How does Headspace improve workplace culture in a remote environment?

It puts care back into the workplace. It’s one thing to say that your organization supports mental health, it’s another thing to show it. 

4. Kona

Kona interface for remote teams

Kona is a Slack integration that checks in on your team everyday. It’s transformational for improving remote and hybrid team culture. 

We built it because we interviewed 600+ remote managers and heard the same problem over and over: remote managers struggled with relationship building, team morale, burnout, and mental health issues.

We set out to solve that. Now, Kona is a daily habit for more than 150 remote teams, ourselves included. It works by sending your team a prompt every morning — are you feeling red, yellow, or green? Every team member shares how they are feeling and elaborates on it with a sentence or two. 

It helps teams bond and build camaraderie, but also gives managers a dashboard with real-time insights on their team. If they see a direct report is trending yellow, they know to reach out and support them.

How does Kona improve workplace culture in a remote environment?

It provides a consistent safe space for remote team members to connect about topics outside of work. And gives managers a sixth sense on their team, so they can improve psychological safety and act on burnout. 

5. Slack

Slack interface for remote teams

You can’t talk about remote company culture without bringing up Slack. The communication software has more than 10 million daily active users after all. 

What makes Slack different from other chat software is its focus on solving one of the biggest problems for remote teams: it provides an open line of communication between everyone in the company, including the executive team. 

Channels make it easy for anyone to join work conversation like #marketing, #product, and #engineering, but fun channels open up the opportunity for anyone to talk about topics they’re passionate about like #cooking, #dogs, or #starwars. 

Plus, Slack’s ability to integrate with many other tools like Kona, Google Drive, Tandem, and more, set it apart from its competitors. 

How does Slack improve workplace culture in a remote environment?

Slack replaces in-person water cooler chats with a virtual one. It allows anyone to have a say and creates a supportive workplace culture through threads and emoji reactions.  

All of these culture assessment tools together are a recipe for a thriving remote team. If your team wants to improve psychological safety, boost morale, and act on burnout, all while measuring its impact, we encourage you to welcome these with open arms into your organization. 

Meet the Author

Sarah Archer

Sarah is Head of Content Strategy at Kona and MBA candidate at Boston University. She helps leaders prevent burnout and build culture in remote organizations.

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