Can you continue to build and enhance your culture while your organization is operating remotely?
People are working from home and may never return to the office in the way they once knew. This means they may not be receiving the same direction, guidance, or coaching from their leaders. And culture is about guiding the actions and decisions of all employees at all levels towards success.
We might expect that the pandemic will be a disaster for corporate culture. The shift to remote work decreased the face-to-face interactions that reinforce company’s culture.
So how do you manage, support, and leverage culture in the era of Pandemic?
1. Adapt your culture in today’s time.
Organizations globally are challenged for cultural adaptability; an ability to innovate, experiment, and quickly take advantage of new opportunities.
Companies need to keep on cultivating their culture to help people stay focused and engaged. Especially during the unprecedented challenges and constantly changing conditions, leadership is called for immediate action.
“There is a call for a strategically-aligned, strong culture that is also adaptive real-time.”
2. Revise your internal corporate communication style.
Successful businesses know that their most important task is to communicate well with their employees and one important issue is the quality of communication.
Employees appreciate honest communication and transparency. Open communication creates a positive emotional pulse that leads to productivity improvements. Ensuring that employees understand what leaders need them to understand should be an essential business process.
“The more an organization shares honest and transparent information, the more the employees will focus on results.”
3. Use learning as a connection and engagement tool.
Reinforce your teams to be involved in learning activities and monitor it over time. Once each training is completed, survey your employees and offer digital (watercooler discussions) on those critical topics. To be more effective, train peers, co-workers, or team members together, so the entire group buys into the new skills and techniques.
Having managers involved in learning is also crucial to ensure employee success. Managers should meet regularly with employees to create a development plan, recommend training opportunities and discuss how to apply new skills on the job.
“Learning plays a significant role in a strong culture, from shaping inclusive leaders to supporting professional development.”
4. Enhance involvement and interaction.
Organizations need to take the pulse of their people to ensure that they are aligned with the corporate culture. Here are some ways to do it:
- Be proactive by continually asking: Conduct regular surveys (more than once per year) and offer employees the tools to instantly provide feedback (anonymous emails, hotline, or intranet sites).
- Educate employees on organizational culture: Connect training to values and skills that support the cultural norms and include a follow up that helps learning and development leaders measure the impact of the training.
- Share information: Make relevant information accessible, not only to employees and managers, but to the board and, in some cases, the public. Set up regular meetings where certain mid-level employees interact with board members. The more an organization shares information, the more the emphasis will be on results.
- Reward behaviours: Regularly recognize employees for behaviours that are congruent with cultural norms, in the form of compliments, benefits, bonuses, and/or promotions. These rewards will be tied to formal evaluations that include cultural components in addition to traditional goals. The key is to make sure that rewarding it’s happening because people respond when leaders show they care.
“Cultivate the feeling that we are all in it together. Help employees grow in the pandemic when it feels like time is standing still.”
5. Facilitate a positive workplace but also a positive home environment.
Increase your attention to employees’ welfare culture. A work from home allowance can be a way to cover equipment costs and offer a more sustainable home office environment. Many remote workers are struggling with the number of distractions at home, but having a suitable workspace can help mitigate that.
Furthermore, develop webinars, provide online resources and free access to meditation apps, to support employees’ mental health. For employees with children, you may offer resources for education, virtual field trips, and entertainment ideas.
“Organizations that want to succeed in the post-COVID era must make sure employees stay happy with the culture and remain productive.”
6. Rate your Culture and be accountable for it.
Employees are evaluated. Culture should be rated too. Through the pandemic, it helps organizations understand how people are getting along with each other from distance, how working from home is impacting them emotionally, how the stress of a challenging financial market is affecting them, which systems and policies are working, and which ones need an update to account for the new reality.
Being accountable for your culture is one of the most important factors that help your organization to be characterized as a “great place to work”. After all, the power of culture makes people want to come to work every day, which, for many, counts for more than compensation.
“A culture without accountability is a culture that cannot be trusted.“
Management guru Peter Drucker famously said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” He suggested that even the most well-thought-out business strategy will fail unless it is congruent with the organization’s culture.
One way to measure your culture success is to examine it through the lens of LMW. Our experts can help you explore the aspects of your culture, assess the alignment of the employees with it and then suggest ways to establish a winning culture. Even in hard times like a pandemic, it’s the culture that will encourage your employees to stay well and engage.
“After all, good cultures know how they do things, but great cultures know why.”