What is company culture and why does it matter?
“Company culture” has become such a buzz phrase in today’s workforce that it’s easy to lose sight of what this really means. When someone refers to their company culture, what are they really talking about? They are talking about the company’s shared set of values, attitudes and practices that contribute directly to the attitudes and behaviors of the employees as well as the company at large. It encompasses a variety of elements including but not limited to leadership style, expectations, goals, and work environment. The culture of a company determines how an employee feels about the work they do, the values they believe in, and how they are going to help the company achieve their goals. Why does this matter? Studies have shown that the average American spends about 1/3 of their life at work. Wouldn’t you want to create a positive work culture for you and those surrounding you? A positive company culture can be game-changing for employees, leadership, and your company’s health. Let’s dive in and talk more about this:
How to ensure a positive company culture, virtually:
It is not news that the work environment has shifted dramatically in the last two and a half years. COVID brought immense change to the workplace with companies shifting from fully in-person to remote and hybrid modalities. As leaders and employees alike learned to navigate the new turf many realized that the culture of their company directly affected job satisfaction and impacted their decision to explore other employment opportunities - cue the Great Resignation. So how can you as a leader or an employee help improve your company’s culture in this new world of video conferencing? Let us explore.
Evaluate your leadership style.
A company’s culture influences results from the top down. The way you lead has the biggest impact on your overall workplace culture. Consider your company values as well as your own and start truly embodying these core tenants. Live, speak, and lead by example and positive change will follow.
Allow yourself room to change and grow as a leader in this new online environment.
In an article for Forbes, Jim Mullaney, CEO & Founder, Edoc Service, Inc. talks about how the old “command and control” style of leadership just isn’t advantageous with a remote team environment: “That whole ‘I’ve got to see you working or I won’t get my money’s worth’ attitude doesn’t work,” says Jim. Instead, he recruits self-managing professionals who are aligned and engaged with the company’s purpose. He considers himself a steward, not an owner. To him, that means taking care of the resources that he’s been given and ensuring that they serve the staff and the clients for overall success. “For the virtual model to work, that’s the mindset you have to have,” says Jim.
Use the right tech tools.
Using Zoom or Microsoft Teams will ensure that your leadership, employees, and coworkers can easily connect and stay engaged with each other. Additionally, utilizing these tools can improve productivity as these forums provide features such as live chat, content sharing, and interactive whiteboarding.
Onboard your employees the right way.
With employee retention concerns at a high over the last two years, this one is important! A new employee has likely chosen to work at your company because they felt it was a positive environment that provided mutually beneficial opportunities. Now it’s time to make sure we can retain that newfound talent. New employees are a blank slate when it comes to your company culture. Foster a positive experience by ensuring that they have access to the online resources they need for success, introduce them to their co-workers quickly so they feel part of the team, and set clear expectations. Check in on them regularly to make sure they are feeling heard, supported, and connected with their new work environment.
Make good communication a top priority.
We’ve all heard it, communication is key! In the virtual work environment this is imperative. Communicate your expectations clearly and kindly to your employees to create clear intent and shared understanding. Support cross-departmental engagement and collaboration. Encourage interactions that go beyond talking. Some ideas could be a company newsletter, online events and challenges, or even a virtual luncheon. Never forget the value of human connection through good communication.
Establish an open-door policy.
Or maybe in today’s case, an open chat-room policy. Make it the norm for employees to be able to come talk to you. Offer feedback often when your team experiences successes or is doing well. This will build comradery and respect and shows them that you value their opinions and voices enough to let them be heard.
The ways that you can improve your company culture virtually does not end here; however, this will provide a foundation for success. Always remember that if your employees or teammates feel heard and appreciated, they will be more likely to go the extra mile. A happy employee directly correlates to higher productivity and ultimately higher revenue earnings for you and your company. Lastly, respect in the workplace is earned, not always a given, so live your company positive culture and you’re destined for great things!