Day 13 – Wednesday, April 1
Company culture is the backbone of almost every successful organization and COVID-19 puts company culture to the test. With the unprecedented changes in the workplace, many organizations are forced to adapt to new ways of working. A large number of organizations are now working remotely. Travel bans have restricted the ability for teams to work face-to-face. Uncertainty permeates the air. There has never been a time so vital for leadership to lead, align, and connect employees.
How companies can strengthen and keep remote culture alive
While it’s important to have a longer-term strategy, companies need to act now. Employees are looking for guidance, direction, and reassurance. Here are 10 things companies can do immediately to strengthen bonds, build trust, and keep company culture alive remotely:
- Hold all-hands meetings or AMAs (Ask Me/Us Anything) on a weekly basis
Leaders need to provide as much transparency as possible to quell employees’ fears. Encourage employees to send in their questions ahead of time so you can address the most common questions. This is really about hearing what employees have to say.
- Utilize your intranet or communications platform to centralize company announcements
In today’s digital workplace, there is more technology than we can manage and rumors can spread like wildfire across disparate tools. It’s paramount to streamline critical company updates with a trusted, single source of truth that can (1) reach the entire workforce and (2) won’t get lost.
- Connect your departments, not just teams
Connecting to the broader organization is just as important as keeping in contact with your immediate team. An easy, effective way to keep your organization connected is to regularly share departmental updates – at least once a week.
- Be a resource to your employees
It’s not what your employees can do for you, but it’s what you can do for your employees. If there is new sick paid leave requirements, be the first to announce it. Share as much information and resources as possible, and make it accessible to everyone.
- Encourage productivity, but social interaction as well
Making sure employees are well-equipped for productivity is important to help them do their jobs but don’t neglect the power of virtual social interaction. Share daily prompts on your intranet or communications platform to regularly connect and engage people.
- Share your communications strategy
Make it clear how and when you will communicate. It’s important to set clear expectations because it helps eliminate stress and confusion on both parties. Leaders need to establish consistent messaging across the board and continue to beat the drum.
- Don’t forget about emotional support
It’s natural to think business-first. But it’s just as critical to empathize with how employees are feeling as their lives are disrupted by the new realities of COVID-19. As leaders and managers, it’s important to check in with people to get a gauge on where they are and how you can help. Remind and offer company benefit programs that may help employees’ emotional well-being.
- Organize virtual happy hours or get togethers
This presents a great opportunity for remote employees to get together and have a little fun. Setting aside time for employees to get together strengthens connections and gives everyone an opportunity to talk about non-work related topics, just as they would at the lunch table or at happy hour.
- Empathize and offer flexibility around working schedules
It’s near impossible to expect your employees to be glued to the computer screen from 9am – 5pm. People have different ways of working. And some of us have demanding toddlers. It’s unrealistic to expect your entire organization to be online at all times. Show empathy, set expectations on working hours, and focus on deliverables rather than a schedule.
- Recognize employee efforts, milestones, and celebrations
Appreciation is a human necessity. Just because we’re not all in-office doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to celebrate employee anniversaries, birthdays, and milestones. Employees respond to appreciation because it validates their place in the workplace and makes them feel valued. This is essential to keep employees motivated and engaged.
Company culture matters
We’re experiencing unprecedented times, but we’re all in this together. It’s never been so important to focus on employee communications and strengthening remote company culture. Hopefully these tips will give you ideas on what companies can start doing immediately to keep their culture alive. We would love to hear what other things you’re doing to strengthen your company culture – let us know!