A corporate culture helps transform a meaningless slide deck of missions and values into a vibrant living and breathing environment. With so many team members working remotely, how do you cultivate the type of engaging employee experience that keeps your team happy and involved?
Working from home? Focus on building a blue-ribbon corporate culture
A strong corporate culture is not the woo-woo sentiment that numbers-entrenched executives write it off as—it’s one of the greatest advantages your organization can wield in a competitive marketplace. In fact, studies show that building a stellar employee experience can boost revenues 4X higher than organizations that shrug off the strategy.
Even if you’ve succeeded in building an unforgettable corporate culture that is your industry’s talk-of-the-town, the transition to remote work has presented new challenges for cultivating a spectacular, engaging work environment. It’s nothing something you want to ignore: a winning corporate culture has profound effects on your organization:
- Boosts employee engagement by up to 70%, encouraging a more productive workforce focused on meaningful work.
- Reduces turnover
- Creates an irresistible environment that captivates rockstar candidates
- Being happy at work is more than a concept: it’s the top-most motivating driver for two-fifths of your most talented employees to put in their best work.
The new remote working culture has created a global diaspora of workers. Tech professionals have ditched pricey cities for more serene surroundings, and companies have expanded the radius of their talent search to include, well, anywhere. Here are the top tips for maintaining an unbeatable corporate culture even when your team is scattered across town—or the globe!
Remote corporate culture tip #1: Foster virtual team spirit with online fun and games
With impromptu ping pong sessions and gabs over breakroom donuts off the table, managers are looking for new ways to bring teams together. New hires who joined the team during 2020 are at a particular disadvantage: many have never met their teammates or the managers face to face.
Fortunately, there’s a lot of companies developing fun ways for far-flung employees to spend time together. Host virtual Pictionary, a pub-style trivia night, or round up your crew for a match of online team building. In games like Among Us, 4-10 players work together to save a dying spaceship while trying to suss out the one impostor sabotaging their success, while GeoGuessr plops your squad down in the middle of a GoogleMap, tasking you to explore and guess where you are on the world.
When you can’t invite everyone for an impromptu coffee break or to celebrate a birthday over cake, these virtual get-togethers are great ways to foster team spirit.
Remote corporate culture tip #2: Take another look at the details
Since you can’t use in-person interactions to establish your company vibe, it’s important to be more mindful of the things you might have ignored in the past.
- News bulletins: Employees aren’t going to overhear company news in the hallway—you’ll need to be more proactive in how you share noteworthy events. Distribute topical information like recent awards, new Youtube content, or fresh white papers to your team via email groups or Slack channels. It should be your top priority to keep employees informed and excited about company happenings.
- Employee manuals: Does your employee guide drone on in dull corporate-speak, but your values espouse a more upbeat, spunky tone? These docs are one of new hires’ first introductions to your company culture, so be sure that the way they are presented in a way that reflects your vibe.
While some things just fall into place when you’re able to meet face to face, you’ll need to be more intentional when inspiring a remote workforce.
Remote corporate culture tip #3: Forcibly kick down corporate silos
Working from home, it becomes even more common for small groups to splinter off into closed-off, stovepipe cliques. Virtual workspaces are devoid of unplanned run-ins with co-workers in other departments, so team members become more and more isolated from one another.
Find new ways to spark cross-department conversations. Host meetings with small groups and change up the participants from time to time to invite new perspectives. It can be tempting to save a topic for one-to-one channels like direct messages or emails, but to involve more team members, hold these conversations in public Slack channels or in other open forums. The cross-pollination of ideas is a powerful way to boost creative problem-solving and develop fresh new strategies, so encourage team members to step outside their virtual box and engage with one another.
Remote corporate culture tip #4: Welcome off-topic conversations
Free-wheeling chatter strengthens bonds, and without it, employees can feel disconnected from their team. Without chance breakroom bump-ins, there’s less opportunity to chat about weekend plans and fawn over pet or baby pictures.
Instead of using team meetings as a droll reading of a pre-emailed agenda, use the time to check in with employees and enjoy a bit of tangential conversation. How have they been spending their free time? What are they most excited to get back to this summer? Off-topic conversations aren’t a productivity drain—they’re a vital part of how employees build much-needed camaraderie.
Whether we’re commuting to a downtown office or working from home, we spend a third of our lives focused on our work. An enjoyable corporate culture bucks the timeless trope of a dreadful workday rolls out the red carpet to an inviting, exciting environment employees can’t wait to get to each morning.