So many businesses are held back by the challenge of figuring out how to foster a positive company culture while all of their employees are working from home. It’s so much harder to create cohesiveness and motivation among employees who only connect virtually.
However, it must be done since, without culture, your company would hit the dust in record time. On the other hand, having one can give you a competitive advantage over other businesses. Keep in mind that achieving your company’s objectives should be a collaborative effort.
That said, here are some viable ways to successfully create a positive culture virtually:
1. Encourage Socializing
Creating a company culture with a global workforce can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. In essence, the advancement in optimized communication tools for remote teams is an advantage for you.
During your team’s coffee and lunch breaks, you should think about setting up a chatroom where they may have fun chatting with one another. If the majority likes it, you can also create a Facebook group for your team to socialize outside of work.
You could try hosting a company-wide game night, a virtual happy hour or emailing about something funny that happened at work.
Establish rapport with employees in other locations by having more frequent video conferences and phone calls, during which you can take the opportunity to interact with them outside of the office.
These calls are also great for brainstorming ideas or sharing feedback about projects so they can become more productive and collaborative overall.
In addition, ensure that the chatrooms you make are created in consultation with everyone and are on platforms that they are most likely to participate in because engagement is what you’re aiming for.
2. Articulate Your Business’s Core Values
You probably have a mental picture of what you mean by company culture when it comes to your company. The first step would be to turn your idea into something concrete that you’ve written down and refined.
Next, clarify your company’s mission and vision and anything else that contributes to how you perceive your company’s identity.
- Incorporate Those Values – Now that you know what it is you want to focus on, it’s time to ensure that this emphasis is evident in every aspect of your business. If you highlight that family is essential to your company, you’ll want to ensure that the culture surrounding flexible work hours, paid leave, and other associated perks reflect this. If you are also competitive as an entity, you’d probably want to incentivize this by offering monthly or quarterly bonuses based on performance. Of course, your team’s participation is essential throughout this process. This inclusion will increase your chances of success in developing your company’s culture.
- Create an employee handbook – Employees who understand what is expected of them will work harder. A well-written employee handbook can provide clear guidelines about how the company operates and what role each employee must undertake. This helps eliminate confusion about how things work at the office and gives employees a sense of security because they know what’s expected of them. You can also use this opportunity to share information about benefits or perks that employees may not be aware of (e.g., free lunchtime yoga classes).
A healthy company culture is not far behind by having a clear path of what’s expected from both parties.
3. Communicate Your Culture Goals
Your remote team knows nothing more about your company culture than what you tell them. Therefore, you must convey your expectations.
Take every opportunity to make sure each team member knows your cultural goals, which may involve a discussion throughout the hiring process.
This may ensure that, when you send out a job offer letter, only candidates who believe they will be a good fit for your company’s culture will sign on the dotted line.
4. Make Sure Everyone Knows How Their Role Fits Into The Big Picture Of Your Company.
This is especially important if you are a large corporation where it’s easy for team members to feel less like a team and more like pieces of an insensitive machine.
A great way to eliminate this feeling among your employees is to make the larger picture feel as human as possible. Note that people enjoy being a part of a bigger plan or pursuing a common objective so long as it is well-defined and aligned with several aspects of their own goals.
Ensure that, while speaking with your staff, you address milestones, the company’s current position concerning them, and the employee’s contribution, together with that of the rest of the team, to achieving these objectives.
When describing upcoming duties, employees should clearly understand them in relation to the company’s overall objective, so that it is not only about their individual performance but also how this affects the performance of the company as a whole.
You’d be surprised by how much a team can do when they believe they are integral to a grand scheme.
5. Know Your Employees Personally
No one enjoys being grouped in with the crowd and regarded only as a manufacturing tool. Your employees are individuals with goals, aspirations, and passions, some of which may have prompted them to join your company.
Could you develop a personal relationship with them? What motivates X may not motivate Y. Thus, you must be able to comprehend their pain points and treat them if possible.
Sometimes it’s not about your ability to address these pain points but your ability to listen and engage. When remote workers feel valued, they are most likely to contribute positively to the company goals and give feedback on how you could improve your processes.
6. Establish Regular Meetings With Employees.
The first step to creating a positive workplace culture in a virtual workplace is to establish regular meetings with your employees. These meetings should be scheduled at least once per week and can take place over video chat or on the phone.
The purpose of these meetings is to keep everyone updated on what’s going on in the company, how they are doing and what they need to improve upon.
By scheduling regular meetings with employees, you can prevent any misunderstandings or miscommunications between them or anyone else within the company.
Besides that, it also provides an opportunity for them to ask questions or voice concerns about anything related to their work environment or the company itself.
This can lead to better communication within the team and make them feel more involved with what’s happening around them.
7. Provide New Opportunities For Growth
It’s a must to provide opportunities for growth. Give employees a chance to hone their skills and grow as professionals.
This can be as simple as offering them new opportunities to learn, or it can be more engaging and interactive, such as sending them to conferences or workshops where they can meet people from other companies who work in similar fields but have different experiences and approaches.
Furthermore, you can also do this by offering them new projects. Offering projects outside of your employees’ usual scope gives them a chance to tackle new challenges and expand their knowledge base in the process.
If you want your team members to stay engaged with their work, giving them something fresh every once in a while, is vital.
In addition, you can encourage cross-functional teams to collaborate on projects on a frequent basis. This will help establish an environment where employees can develop relationships beyond regular meetings.
8. Provide Regular Feedback On Performance and Celebrate Successes and Milestones Together
The most effective way to encourage employees to do their best work is by providing timely feedback on performance. This isn’t just about telling people when they’ve done something wrong; it also means letting them know when they’ve done something good or when they’ve gone above and beyond what was expected of them.
To maintain high team morale, it is necessary to recognize achievements and milestones. You can celebrate it in small ways, like sending out a quick message when someone has completed their first project, or you can celebrate in more prominent ways that can be more fun for everyone.
Team-wide celebrations should be something that the entire team anticipates. It is advantageous if they share a same theme or location, such as an afternoon picnic or an evening at the local arcade.
Individual celebrations are perfect for when one of your team members achieves something significant for their career, such as graduating college, gets married, or buys a house.
These festivities should be just as enjoyable as any other, but with a smaller crowd so that the celebrants do not feel overwhelmed by the attention. Make sure they understand how much you value their efforts.
The steps outlined above are only a handful of the many strategies to create a more pleasant workplace culture. The most important thing is to continually adapt to where your company and team members are.
By doing so, you will establish a truly home-away-from-home environment. Your virtual workplace will be more productive than ever if you can do this.