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A strong company culture is invaluable to an organization’s success. According to a study from global staffing firm Robert Half, 35% of workers in the U.S. would not accept a job if they felt that the culture wasn't a fit. Although company culture differs between organizations, the keys to preserving culture are the same.
As employers become more flexible to remote employees, they must find ways to ensure that workplace culture endures, because not only does culture determine whether good employees stay, but it’s also a determining factor for job candidates. Keep reading to learn five strategies to keep your company’s culture strong while working remotely.
DEFINE YOUR CULTURE
A strong company culture is based on core values. The leadership team must determine which values will last through any changes the organization may go through. To define your company culture, try creating rituals or traditions, a sense of accountability, a judgment-free environment and of course put your core values in writing.
Company culture is also based on your organization’s ability to work together as a team. Although values might be created by the leadership team, the culture cannot be established or upheld by any one person. Each employee has to buy in and work towards company goals.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
One of the main issues that occurs from remote work is communication. To encourage better communication, the leadership team must allow for feedback, whether that be through an anonymous forum or hosting a weekly AMA (ask me anything) sessions. This creates a virtual open-door policy and allows employees to ask questions, air grievances and problem solve.
It’s important that employees are able to speak freely about anything that might affect their work. The app Slido is a digital communication forum that can be useful for teams, as it allows employees to submit and up-vote questions. Remote workers must be able to easily communicate with their co-workers to reduce friction and increase productivity. If you haven’t already, introduce tools that allow your employees to communicate easily, like Slack or Microsoft Teams.
As your team grows, each member must have a clearly defined role and also understand the roles of his or her teammates. An accountability chart is imperative, as it identifies each team member’s supervisor for day-to-day questions, check-ins and other work and life updates. By having accountability for all roles, you can ensure that you have the right people in the right positions and that each team member is working towards your company’s goals.
Peer feedback and check-ins are essential, and 84% of HR managers agree that they are critical to maintaining successful teams. During these check-ins, encourage your employees to touch base with their direct reports on their professional progress as well as their personal lives. With limited in-person interactions, employees must make extra effort to support each other.
Depending on your team, you can have check-ins weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. For some teams, shorter daily meetings work, but make sure that your meetings stay productive with a succinct agenda and next steps.
DON’T FORGET TO HAVE FUN
Hosting events like virtual lunches, happy hours and games can strengthen your culture. It’s important to set aside time during work hours when employees can have fun, connect with one another and not talk about work.
Oftentimes celebrating key dates and milestones with co-workers is lost when working remotely. Although virtual shout outs are great, there are some things that are best expressed more sincerely. Taking the time to handwrite letters, sign cards or send flowers can mean the world to a recipient. A simple act like this can improve employee morale and job satisfaction, which are both key to company culture.
The keys to keeping company culture strong while working remotely are not difficult to execute if your company is striving to live its core values. If your organization remains intentional with the core values in mind, remote teams can work as seamlessly as any other.