The global pandemic of 2020 has forced most companies around the world to shift to a work-from-home setup. As of this writing, the global campaign to vaccinate against COVID-19has already started in major economies, but many organisations choose to continue working remotely.
While your team members may be physically apart now, it’s important to make them feel connected to one another and to your company’s goals. This way, they can cultivate a strong sense of self-value amidst all the uncertainties we are collectively facing.
One way you can do this is by building a solid organisational culture. Having a positive company culture can not only keep your team happy but can also help improve overall employee retention. According to a 2019 survey by Glassdoor, young adults put a much higher value on company culture compared to salary when it comes to job satisfaction.
But how do you maintain your team culture when everyone’s physically isolated? Here are ways you can continue building a team culture that will bring your employees together.
Promote your company values
Having a set of company values is crucial in crafting the company culture that you want to have. These core values will serve as pillars that will guide your HR initiatives. It gives your employees a concrete picture of how you work (or “how you do things around here”).
When your teams are operating from home, it can be difficult for your new team members to grasp what your culture is.
Articulating what your company culture is, or what you want it to be, and documenting it will help your employees, both new and old, understand what is expected of them, how their performance will be measured, and how your HR can determine cultural fitness.
For remote teams, here are some ways you can promote your values among your members:
- Keep your corporate values top-of-mind. Include your company values on your website, internal message boards, or company-wide newsletters.
- Incorporate your values in HR activities. Organise employee engagement activities to promote awareness of your company values.
- Recognise individuals who demonstrate these values. Arrange weekly or monthly virtual meetings where you can recognise peer-nominated workers who have displayed the company values in their day-to-day work.
Find digital channels for team activities
If you’ve ever heard of the “watercooler effect”, you’d know that spending time with teammates in aimless chitchat (as in when employees gather around the watercooler at the break room) can contribute towards team building.
Even when we’re working remotely, it’s a good idea to encourage this practice online. Your team can set a designated channel or group on the office chat tool just for light-hearted banter that may or may not be work-related.
Other practices that we used to do in a physical office can still be translated into our digital workplaces. Here are some examples:
- Introducing new employees via email
- Organising fun activities on lunch breaks or Fridays
- Throwing contests or challenges everyone can participate in
- Trying wellness activities as a team
- After-hour socials via video conferencing apps
Set communication standards
Your team’s communication practices can make all the difference between your team’s success and failure. Since everyone is working from different locations, keeping everyone's communication lines open is the only way you can build a culture that everyone will be able to relate to.
From the get-go, you should have an established set of rules on how you will conduct regular catch-ups and meetings. What app should you use? Should members be allowed to turn off their video camera? What should be avoided during calls to minimise the distractions? These should be clear.
If necessary, try other channels to improve communication, such as sending a company-wide newsletter or making group calls for daily stand-ups. Regardless of the medium your team chooses, your virtual meetings should be clear, concise, informative, and motivating.
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