There are many complications thrown at us due to COVID-19. Although stressful, we are in this challenge together, and we are pooling resources and sharing tips so that everyone can make it through this pandemic. KnowledgeCity is right here with the rest of the business world, working hard to adapt and overcome. As workers across industries are transitioning to remote work, some concerns are rising for many companies at once. The question has turned to how to maintain company culture when employees can’t get together and share the same physical space anymore. Let’s explore the many ways organizations can not only maintain company culture, but enhance it as well.
What is Company Culture and Why is it Important?
Before we can launch into how to maintain company culture, we need to start with the basics. Corporate culture, also called workplace culture or company culture, is a concept referring to an organization’s shared values, beliefs, attitudes and ethics that define the core of the company. This takes root in how an organization sets goals, develops strategies, approaches business functions, and interacts with investors, customers and its greater community.
It’s no secret in today’s business world that company culture can make or break an organization. A good way to assess your company culture is to ask yourself the following questions:
- How would you describe your company in just one sentence?
- What would most employees agree is the most important thing about this company?
- What behaviors are rewarded most frequently?
- What kinds of individuals are routinely promoted?
- Which employees fit in the most? Why?
If the answers to the above questions left you with the impression that your workplace culture is overall a positive and happy one, then your employees probably enjoy their work and look forward to a future with your company. However, if the answers to the questions left you thinking that your company’s environment is more cutthroat and negative, then you likely see a higher turnover in employees. Your team will be more likely to enjoy work when their needs and values are consistent with those of your company. This is why company culture is so important. With a healthy company culture, your team will develop better relationships with one another and are much more likely to be highly productive and creative members of a cohesive whole.
One example of a company known for having a good workplace culture is Squarespace. It is routinely reported as being one of the best organizations to work for in New York City because it observes a flat organizational structure in which there is very little distance between top executives and employees. They offer competitive benefits and encourage expressing creativity at work by providing employees with flexible time off, comfortable working spaces, relaxation rooms for breaks and even guest lecturers to inspire employees. Squarespace is able to attract top talent by being known for having a positive and welcoming culture.
Where Does Company Culture Come From?
Companies like Squarespace set an example for the rest of us. We can start by exploring how corporate culture comes to be. Many experts agree that company culture is basically the personality of your company. Like your individual personality, your company culture will come from the experiences of the people that make up that company. Culture will be the individual behaviors that result from a group working together to develop and live by a certain set of rules.
Corporate culture can originate in several aspects that make up the overall organization:
- Recruiting – A strong sense of culture in the recruitment phases of hiring can attract top talent
- Loyalty and satisfaction – Low turnover is a byproduct of a healthy company culture in which employees feel valued and encouraged to try new things
- Collaboration and innovation – A less hierarchical management structure is one way that many organizations develop their culture. This helps employees feel safe bringing new ideas to executives and gives them a chance to receive more feedback about their work
Another key way that company culture will shine through is in setting goals. Companies that plan for the future through short- and long-term goals can help to highlight what is important to a company. It also helps key players stay focused on the overall culture, because they are able to ask themselves if their goals align with what they understand to be the company culture. This encourages healthy growth and leads organizations to develop a competitive edge.
The Best Ways to Maintain Company Culture Remotely
We’ve explored how to manage remote employees in a previous post. The management styles of executives and leaders will vastly affect the company culture. This is especially true now as employees look to leadership to see how they should behave as remote workers.
It’s important that you understand the value of remote work. Even before non-essential workers were mandated to work from home, many experts had been discussing the value of working remotely. Although this is a relatively new trend in the workforce, it is gaining popularity as new technologies continue to emerge and has been studied endlessly.
There are several reasons why working from home is good for both employees and employers:
- Employee satisfaction improves
- Productivity is increased as distractions are minimized
- Employers save money on overhead costs
- Collaboration increases
- The talent pool expands as flexible work options can attract talented employees, including non-local talent
Here are some of the most effective ways to maintain and enhance company culture even when you can’t work from one office together:
- Leaders should be role models for the behaviors expected during remote work. Their actions should serve to reinforce organizational values
- Revisit topics related to organizational ethics, values, beliefs, etc. with employees so that employees at every level can feel connected
- Redefine roles and responsibilities for each position
- Keep communication pathways open for those who have questions
- Sustain and enhance reward and recognition efforts
According to Forbes, remote work can be an excellent vessel for enhancing workplace culture. Leading your teams to work together while working remotely can help enhance your team members’ bond and collaborative strengths. This way, there’s a feeling that everyone is in this together. This is also a great opportunity to open new communication avenues between upper management and employees. Employee feedback can help you assess what direction your company culture is heading toward lately, and whether or not you need to make adjustments to the way executives take on leadership responsibilities. Finally, employees work harder, better and smarter when they feel trusted to do their work well on their own and feel that they are a part of a bigger culture that values them and their ideas.
With all the changes that are happening as the world navigates life under COVID-19, it’s important to take action to keep your business healthy and functional. The unfortunate truth, however, is that not every company will rise to the challenge. Don’t wait and risk the future success that your company can achieve. Start learning about maintaining company culture today so that you can keep your competitive edge. You may also discover a competitive edge you didn’t even know you had. KnowledgeCity’s course, “Developing Your Leadership Strategy” will help you fortify your leadership strengths and keep your company moving forward through these uncertain times. In this course, you will learn the best ways to adapt your leadership style to your company culture, tried-and-true practices adopted by the world’s best leaders, and how this will pay off for your organization in the long term.