by Bryce Gibson
Supporting a remote or hybrid workforce, while necessary during these unique times, can have a negative impact on your organization’s culture. As a remote workforce becomes a staple for many organizations, it’s critical to identify the different components that will allow you to support your brand’s culture from a distance.
Why is culture important even in a remote work scenario? Ensuring that your brand’s culture is communicated across all teams and interwoven into the behaviors and practices of your employees builds a positive and supportive employee experience – which is critical in remote or hybrid working environments. Creating an exceptional employee experience allows your employees to be more efficient and enjoy their day-to-day activities. If your culture is not aligning with the values of your organization, it can create a negative experience for your employees and ultimately affect your business.
The first step in building a remote culture involves creating a foundation to build on. Identify the culture you want to achieve and note the attributes that are most critical to your business and employee morale. Involve several departments in this process, as the varied perspectives of many employees will help build a more cohesive and inclusive culture.
With your ideal culture defined, there are several ways you can proactively support it.
Balance between work and personal life is critical for creating a positive experience for remote employees. Encourage all staff members to draw a strict line between work and home life. This will help prevent them from overworking and neglecting other aspects of their lives, which can lead to burnout and frustration. Encourage your employees to setup a specific workspace to drive work/life separation. Promote the use of PTO to ensure that every staff member has the time to recharge, relax and reset.
Reinforce Company Values
As your workforce continues remotely or begins engaging in a hybrid workforce it's vital to make sure your people are aligned with your company values so that they remain invested in your company. This effort should start during the recruiting and hiring process but managers should be checking in on their employees to make sure they are engaging with their jobs and coworkers. You want to have a team that is passionate about the things that need to get done and you must be able to trust them to do that.
Create Space for Connection
Peer to peer connection, even virtually, can dramatically impact employee experience. Teams should be encouraged to take part in happy hours or morning coffee talks to remain engaged with one another. Beyond that, managers should be meeting with employees one-on-one for regular check-ins. Having these regular and meaningful check-ins allows your employees’ emotional needs to be satisfied in the workplace, and gives your managers the chance to identify and resolve pain points or frustrations your employees may be experiencing. Ensuring that there is priority on creating these spaces for connection increases involvement and the depth of the connections made. On a larger scale, your organization can integrate all company meetings into the monthly or quarterly schedule to provide a sense of togetherness and community.
Reinforcing your commitment to culture and employee morale is critical. Issue regular communications around culture and employee expectations. Encourage staff members to communicate their culture-based concerns or suggestions. Having your business value proposition sprinkled throughout onboarding with both HR and trainers and then reinforced by a manager only strengthens the impact of your company culture. Managers can do this by circling back on culture and value propositions throughout daily tasks and projects. It's essential that more than your marketing and sales teams can understand and speak to the purpose and values of your company.
If your company is new to remote and hybrid work settings, understanding and agreeing on employee expectations will be vital for building a positive work culture. Not everyone adjusts well to a virtual office and may need to approach work differently, including adjusting their hours to better fit the other schedules in their home. Having a mutual understanding and flexibility for changes will alleviate any burden off your employees’ shoulders. Your employees will be most productive when given the chance to deliver high quality work instead of rushing to maximize their output. Your employees will also feel more connected to your brand and their work because they feel confident in their role and in control of their schedule.
For your employees to positively engage with their teams, they need to have the physical and digital tools to satisfy their needs. Making it clear that physical items like monitors and headsets are available could be critical in creating a positive work environment in some of your employee’s homes. It’s also critical to provide digital platforms that can increase your teams' engagement capabilities when they are collaborating or seeking peer-to-peer interactions.
Your employees want to feel recognized and appreciated for their work. Creating employee recognition programs that give your employees a chance to feel praised and give praise to others promotes connection and recognition while your employees are remote. Finding other ways to highlight your brand's appreciation for your employees can also be critical when promoting a unified brand culture. Sending physical care packages or notes of praise to your employee’s homes could be a wonderful way of doing this.
At Avtex, we understand the value technology can have on connecting your employees. We have extensive experience supporting exceptional employee experiences, both internally and for our clients. If your organization is interested in deploying solutions that will support the brand culture you are building for your remote workforce let’s talk!