With many organisations seeing the employee benefits of working from home during the Covid-19 lockdowns, they have now opted to continue with this new way of working, but it is not without its challenges. While technology proved to be one of the biggest struggles for companies during the start of the pandemic, the concern has now shifted to company culture and how you are supposed to maintain it well with a hybrid workforce.
Your culture shouldn’t disappear when your employees are working from home, but it’s not unfair to say that it can be harder to maintain. When employees are together in an office, it’s easier to keep them connected with each other and engaged in their work. And you don’t have to organise a Zoom or Teams call to have a face-to-face conversation or to simply say hello and check in with one another. However, with flexible working becoming the norm for many, organisations now need to find new ways of creating a culture where all employees feel included, happy in their roles, and energised to do their best work.
For companies who offer their employees a great working culture are likely to reap benefits such as:
- Reduced employee turnover
- More brand advocates
- Increased revenue
- Reduced sickness/fatigue, and
- Engaged, happier and higher-performing employees(!)
Your workplace culture affects how both current and future employees see your company and its leaders. It also affects how efficiently your employees work and how satisfied they are with their jobs, which links directly with the success of your organisation.
With the above in mind, here are five tips to help you improve or build a great company culture with a hybrid workforce:
1) Treat your employees/show your appreciation
The power of employee recognition is huge. Every employee wants to feel appreciated and valued. Recognising, rewarding, treating or thanking employees for the impressive work they have done is a great way of achieving this. And the good news is that there are many employee recognition incentives you can implement right away. But it’s worth baring in mind that you don’t always have to wait for something great to happen… Sometimes just treating your employees because you feel like it can be even more meaningful. Who’s going to say no to a Krispy Kreme (or two) on a Friday?
2) Increase lines of communication and increase team collaboration
With many employees working from home, communication can become even more challenging. Companies with remote (or partially remote) workforces firstly need to ensure that they have technology in place which allows for effective communication and collaboration (ideally from anywhere in the world). When this is in place, the frequency of communication can then be increased to help reduce the chances of homeworkers feeling alone or isolated. This can be through the likes of more regular company updates, check ins, and you can also increase the opportunities for team members to collaborate. If it is logical, you can invite more than one person to work on a project for example. One thing to bear in mind here is that no one really likes to be micro-managed so, depending on your company, you may also want to think about embracing and inspiring employee autonomy.
3) Organise more frequent socials – have more fun!
If your team are spending more time away from each other, it’s a good idea to increase the social activities you put on as a company. They can be organised in different locations if you have a global employee base (you don’t all need to be in one place). No job should be all work, no play. But if you have a work hard, play hard culture, employees will work hard because it’s worth it for how they are treated. It’s important to incorporate fun activities into your employees’ schedules as this breaks up the work, encourages them to build connections, and will help foster a great company culture. Your options here are almost endless, but team activities like a Zumba class, crazy golf, quizzes, and meals or team days out tend to go down a treat.
4) Create culture goals and reiterate your values
New employees who you onboard shouldn’t be the only ones who find out what your goals and values are as an organisation. If your existing employees can’t tell you when asked, you haven’t made enough effort to make them evident or clear. Your culture grows as you grow, and with each new team member you bring in. There is no final state to aim for because of this, so you need to have goals and a vision for the kind of culture you want to create as well as a roadmap for how you intend to get there. This will act as a guide that you can refer back to and align yourself with if you feel like you’re veering off the path. Is your aim to build a culture where your employees maintain a healthy work-life balance while celebrating each other’s achievements in and outside of work? Let it be known. You can be creative with this; having your culture written down in your company handbook just isn’t enough anymore. It needs to be spelled out and, more importantly, it needs to be felt!
5) Do regular check-ups with a focus on health and wellbeing
It goes without saying now that employers should be checking up on employees and promoting health and wellness. Allowing employees to work from home can contribute to this but there is so much more employers can be doing to ensure their people feel listened to and looked after. Setting up regular one to ones with line managers and their team can help you keep on top of this, as well as training some of your employees to be mental health first aiders. There are also many resources and tools available today (both free and paid for) such as apps like Headspace which can help employees manage stress levels or deal with personal issues that may impact their job performance and life outside of work.
There are, of course, many more ways of improving your company culture such as bringing in employees who are the right cultural fit and understanding more about cultural differences, but the five elaborated on above will give you a good starting point, especially with employees working remotely.
One of the most efficient ways of gauging whether your employees are satisfied with your company culture is to conduct employee engagement surveys. This is ideal for companies who do not have the time nor resources to ask each employee individually in person.
Employee surveys allow you to gather real-time insights from your people and improve the employee experience, therefore helping you to build a more inclusive culture. Get in touch today for more information on the WorkBuzz platform: firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply request a demo to see it in action for yourself.