According to a Glassdoor study, 77% of prospective employees consider company culture before applying for open positions. Furthermore, 74% of your top talent would look for a job elsewhere if your current work culture deteriorates.
The pandemic thrust a lot of us into a work-from-home situation, which has shifted the workplace structure as we know it. As some companies decide to keep this model for good, others are going to a more hybrid approach, and the rest are transitioning back into the office. Regardless, one thing seems to be true across the board: people are quitting their jobs in rapid numbers.
The Great Resignation is forcing employers to take a cold hard look at their company culture, and many are realizing that whatever they’re doing may not be enough.
Besides establishing a great company culture, you have to keep improving it to attract and retain top talent. And we’re noticing, pretty quickly, that doing so can be challenging, especially if your employees work remotely.
What Is Remote Work Culture?
Traditional company culture encapsulates the practices, behaviors, and beliefs that form your company’s identity. It outlines what’s accepted, rejected, tolerated, and condemned, and as such, shapes the conduct and attitudes of people at your company.
A remote company culture borrows these principles, but it’s a tad different. It entails the priorities, attitudes, experiences, and interests that keep remote employees connected and striving towards a common goal. The idea is that just because everyone isn’t physically in the same place, there’s still a sense of community and oneness held together by common practices and drives, all of which lead to a positive work environment for all.
5 Tips for Maintaining a Solid Remote Company Culture
According to Chris Herd, founder of FirstBase, technology has made the remote-first alternative a possibility for many brands. Embracing a remote work environment isn’t so big an obstacle. However, the inability to reorient the company’s culture away from the office is still a stumbling block for many.
Here are some tips to help you create a remote culture that’s radically different from the traditional work culture:
Establish Company Values that Enhance Remote Work Culture
First and foremost, establish the policies, guidelines, and expectations to govern remote work at your organization. Make sure these policies align with your company values and address all employees’ questions about remote work.
For example, how flexible will you be with employee working hours? Do you support synchronous or asynchronous communication and collaboration? Can employees travel and work remotely as long as they meet performance goals and deadlines?
Take into consideration that the typical expectations may no longer work for your employees. They may need to run to a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the day, or they may be working at home with children and have more interruptions than normal. Instill the expectation that as long as they are able to manage their workload, it doesn’t matter when they clock in and out for the day.
Make Your Remote Work Culture an Open Book
As Mazen Mroure, former chief executive officer at MTN, says, the most important way to establish a positive remote culture is to ensure that every employee is constantly aware of what’s going on.
That means you should share the remote culture document with every employee. Here, you have options like emailing employees or distributing the document across all your company’s communication channels.
Share this document during employee onboarding so that new employees can refer back to key points over and over until all the principles become second nature. Also, make sure to send regular reminders with cultural quotes in newsletters and employee work emails. Most importantly, when you amend a policy or guideline, notify employees to keep everyone on the same page.
Having this amount of transparency around your culture document may also open it up to feedback and input from your employees. And while that may scare you at first, it’s a great thing when your team feels like they can come to you with their thoughts. It just means that they’re invested in the company and want to see it serve everyone.
Foster Trust Through Strong Communication
Creating and distributing the document is like sowing the seed of a great remote culture. For that seed to germinate, grow and bear fruit, it requires the right conditions. In other words, for your remote culture to deliver the intended results, you should start with fostering trust among remote members.
Schedule virtual group meetings and team-building activities to build a feeling of camaraderie around teams. When employees trust each other, they’re willing to work together and align around a shared sense of purpose.
Create and Refine Unique Rituals
Adopt unique traditions that help integrate your remote work culture into core operations.
For example, ask your recruiting department to add interview questions to assess candidates for cultural fit. You could also make employees’ adherence to cultural values a factor in their annual performance reviews.
Make sure that your core values are clear from the beginning so there’s no confusion over this. And culture fit should never be an excuse to terminate someone who is doing an otherwise great job. Also, it’s a two-way street, so make sure you’re doing your part to live up to your employee’s expectations regarding culture. This will help make any unique rituals you incorporate go smoothly.
Survey and Collect Feedback Frequently
Positive remote work culture isn’t something you’ll get right the first time. It takes constant tweaking and input from the leadership and employees to perfect it. Solicit feedback regularly from people in your organization. Doing so will help you weed out what’s unhelpful while improving upon what’s working to keep teams thriving.
In conclusion, a remote work culture means different things for different companies. While you can borrow a leaf from successful brands like Buffer and Gitlab, your culture should ladder back to your company’s unique values. Make these tips a priority and your employees will be happier for it.
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