Building and Optimizing Remote Agency Teams: Strategies for Success

Feeling the Strain of Remote Work in Your Agency? You are Not Alone.

Many agencies have been operating fully remotely or in a hybrid environment for four or more years. While this shift has brought numerous advantages, including increased flexibility and the ability to tap into a global talent pool, some challenges persist. These challenges include:

Persistent Challenges in Remote Work

  1. Lack of Face-to-Face Interaction: The inability to read body language and non-verbal cues can create significant barriers in communication. In traditional office settings, much communication is non-verbal, including gestures, facial expressions, and posture. The absence of these cues in remote settings can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
  2. Over-Reliance on Communication Tools: Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom have become the backbone of remote work communication. However, an over-reliance on these tools can sometimes hinder rather than help. The nuances of tone and context can be lost in written messages, leading to miscommunications.
  3. Limited In-Person Meetings: Not meeting your boss or team members in person for months, years, or ever can create a sense of isolation. The absence of physical presence can make building rapport and trust among team members difficult. This issue is particularly pronounced in matrixed teams, where an account leader may not be the direct manager, adding another layer of complexity.

These challenges can lead to miscommunication or make it difficult to build team cohesion. Without traditional office interactions, fostering a sense of belonging and unity within the team can be challenging.

Leveraging Strengths Assessments

However, tools like CliftonStrengths and the Enneagram can do more in creating and optimizing remote agency teams. It is like having superpowers to see the individual strengths of your team.

  • Foster better communication.
  • Enhance team cohesion.
  • Build an understanding between agency teams and clients.

To put it in other words, the importance of practicing the other’s individual preferences and strengths is the fact that managers and leaders can laud their members for an idea of why some people do what they do, and at the same time, it helps those responsible for distributing the projects and tasks, including managing the social media list.

Improving Teams Over Time

A skillful leader could track longitudinal results out of CliftonStrengths to learn the strengths associated with the best performance. By coming up with an understanding, it is possible to hire such strengths so that a leader can employ more high performance in accuracy.

What is CliftonStrengths?

CliftonStrengths, previously referred to as Clifton StrengthsFinder, is a personality assessment tool that the Gallup organization improved. This assists an individual to be in a position whereby they can understand their natural strengths. The test also shows how the people will lead in the following manners:

  • Influence: Thriving when working through others.
  • Strategic Thinking: Excelling in planning and problem-solving.
  • Execution: Focusing on getting things done.
  • Relationship Building: Fostering deep connections.

Building a Balanced Team

All candidates must accomplish the CliftonStrengths Assessment during one of the interviews with the following:

  • Identify where they naturally gravitate.
  • Understand how they might fit into our team.
  • Guide the final discussions of the interview process.

This information provides an opportunity to learn how an individual’s strengths manifest when working with their team and clients. There are 34 strengths, each associated with a color (blue for relationship themes, purple for execution themes, green for strategic thinking themes, and orange for influencing themes).

Diversity in Team Composition

It is crucial to have a balanced team, especially when dealing with clients. For instance, the SEO team has the characteristics of being agile and strategic thinking. Our PPC team has the following talents: Arranger, Strategic Thinking, and Relationship.

Regarding leadership roles, the top five strengths are preferred to have at least three different colors. Orange also quite often characterizes natural-born leaders. Command is the least common of the five strengths; however, we have been blessed to have people with this strength among their top five, effectively utilizing all social media platforms.

Building Rapport and Understanding

To improve on the agency team with CliftonStrengths, one needs to share each person’s results with the team. Note that all the strength commodities are incomparable because none of them is stronger than the other. Thus, knowing the personality traits of each team individual, a manager can control his subordinates effectively.

Practical Steps for Implementation

  1. Create a Spreadsheet: Document everyone’s strengths and color code them according to the theme. This visual representation can help managers quickly identify strengths and potential gaps in the team’s composition.
  2. Conduct Training: Help managers understand how to lean into each strength. Training sessions can include workshops and interactive activities to help managers practice recognizing and utilizing different strengths.
  3. Encourage Team Discussions: The team’s strengths should be discussed in the team meetings. This way, the team members can appreciate each other and the strengths that each brings to the team.
  4. One-on-One Discussions: Peers and managers should also identify their strengths to determine how the two can best work together. These conversations can foster better-working relationships and, in turn, enhance the team’s efficiency.

Importance for Remote Teams

Research has pointed out that 93% of non-verbal communication is difficult to express in a video. Using platforms such as Slack removes the tone component from the communication, which can result in misunderstandings. This is because the student has no way of reading into the emotions and motives of the other party; hence, there could be some misunderstandings.

StrengthsFinder Benefits

StrengthsFinder helps teams by:

  • Allowing delegation of work based on strengths. Knowing each team member’s strengths can help managers assign tasks that align with their natural abilities, leading to higher productivity and job satisfaction.
  • Helping team members see the world from each other’s perspectives. Understanding different perspectives can reduce conflicts and foster a more inclusive and supportive work environment.
  • Fostering trust quickly. When team members understand and appreciate each other’s strengths, trust is built more rapidly.
  • Reducing misunderstandings. Clearer communication and a better understanding of each other’s strengths can minimize misinterpretations and improve overall team cohesion.

Enhancing Client Communication

When peers link behaviors to traits, they better understand their clients, even without knowing their specific strengths. This understanding helps shape conversations and meeting agendas, leading to better service delivery.

For example:

  • Relationship-Oriented Clients: Marketing managers may note that certain clients always want to chat about their weekends or families at the beginning of calls. These clients may be more oriented to Relationship Building strengths and see that as a critical part of the partnership.
  • Analytically Inclined Clients: Other clients may want to jump right into numbers and skip the niceties. That does not mean that they do not care – it just means that they may be more analytically inclined or lean into execution themes.
  • Futuristic Thinking Clients: Some clients may want to brainstorm and hear about the latest and greatest – those may be more oriented to futuristic thinking. They will view success based on how often the team brings new ideas to the table.

CliftonStrengths Alternatives

While CliftonStrengths is valuable, other tools can achieve similar results:

  • The Enneagram Test: This assessment provides an understanding of someone’s motivations, core beliefs, and unconscious patterns. Nine Enneagram types, including The Reformist, The Helper, or the Challenger, characterize each of us, with one dominant type emerging.
  • The Hermann Brain Dominance Index (HBDI): This assessment uses cognitive science to identify the type of thinking that shapes a person’s personality and behavior. It classifies people as Analytical, Structural, Relational, or Experimental thinkers, with a color assigned to each style. Understanding your style, and the style of others, helps you find common ground and language to improve collaboration for team results.


Recruiting remote agency teams is not a walk in the park. CliftonStrengths or any similar tool to assess personality strengths can be helpful in identifying one’s strengths, improving collaboration between co-workers and superiors, and improving relations with clients and the agency. With the help of these tools, it is possible to avoid common pitfalls of remote work, develop a strong team, and provide the best service to clients.

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