With so many employees now working at home and remotely, building and maintaining a healthy corporate culture is a serious challenge.
Over the years, I have worked in a number of different positions with varying experiences, and I’ve realized how important a strong company culture is to my professional life. It has even taken priority over salary or seniority.
Company culture is defined by the values, ideals, attitudes and goals that characterize an organization. An organization’s culture also reflects the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact.
A strong culture attracts quality, passionate people and increases employee engagement and productivity.
Here are some simple steps that you can take to preserve company culture and keep your remote teams happy and successful.
The foundation of any strong company culture are the corporate values. These core values are the fundamental beliefs upon which your operations and actions are based on. It is important to allow your entire team to contribute and help decide what these values are, creating guiding principles that everyone will believe in.
Here at Tsunami Solutions which produces Scatterling, a remote and lone worker protection software, our values were decided on with the input from all of the employees at the time. They collectively chose empathy, empowerment, family, innovation, and excellence, and each staff member is given a values plaque for their workstation when they are hired.
A company with engaged employees is one that is constantly communicating with and engaging its team. While your staff may not be under one roof anymore, there are many ways to stay in contact and share ideas through chat and video apps, message boards and collaborative word processing platforms like Google Docs. As a manager, be sure to regularly schedule video meetings to keep your team connected not only for productivity but to foster relationships integral to company culture. Also, provide informal, “water-cooler” communication channels and forums where staff can talk about non-work topics and post photos of their families.
Recognizing team members for good work confirms that their work is valued by others. When employees and their work are valued, their happiness and productivity increases, and they are motivated to do better – and you retain more staff for longer periods of time. To promote recognition, create a formal program where staff can nominate coworkers for an award. At Scatterling, we developed ways to nominate and recognize fellow team members who have displayed a passionate commitment to our core values. If not, provide a less-formal message board or chatroom where staff can give kudos and compliments to a colleague for good work or a good deed.
An open culture empowers employees, at every level, to contribute their ideas and suggestions with management. This not only creates a reliable flow of informative feedback that will benefit operations, but it will also establish a space where your opinion is valued and respected. On the other side, employees should also be able to provide concerns and criticism without fear of any reprimand. Make sure your company has strategies to deal with this kind of feedback, alleviating any issues as they arise.
A team who is physically and emotionally healthy is also productive and happy. As an employer, provide extended health benefits to your team and their families. Try to go above and beyond, providing extra benefits like gym memberships, race training or yoga classes. At Scatterling, we are given a monthly allowance for anything wellness related – it can go towards a new pair of sneakers or a book on meditation. Speaking of meditation, Tsunami provides a free subscription to Headspace.com, a proven meditation app.
It might be difficult with social-distancing restrictions in place, but try to create opportunities for staff to socialize and connect over non-work-related conversation. As mentioned earlier, hold virtual “happy hours” where remote staff can casually video chat to talk about their families and personal lives. Every noon hour, Scatterling hosts a Virtual Lunch Hangout where at-home workers can casually connect with coworkers. Use communication platforms like Slack to have those water-cooler discussions that would take place in a physical office.