One of the cornerstones of the modern-day workplace is company culture, which manifests itself through the different attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours embodied by the company’s employers and employees. An organisation can derive significant value from the strength of its company culture, as the latter is responsible for inspiring productivity, continuity, and collaboration under a single mission and vision. But while the importance of building a good company culture is indisputable, it is never an easy task for an organisation’s leaders to lay out all the bricks. In addition, many organisations around the world are newly adjusting to remote work arrangements in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has made it even harder for company leaders, as well as their human resources teams, to cultivate a sense of common identity and purpose among remote workers.
But difficult does not mean impossible, and HR teams from across the globe should take on the healthy challenge of transplanting their company cultures from predominantly physical spaces to predominantly virtual ones. Here are six practices that will help any HR team oversee a thriving company culture from a totally remote or hybrid work setup.
Set Clear Expectations for Working and Collaborating Together as Teams
Just like how it does for onsite work arrangements, expectation setting matters a lot in a remote work paradigm—perhaps even more so because employees aren’t supervised in a conventional manner. In a work setup that eschews face-to-face monitoring, meetings, and employer-to-employee directives, HR must take the lead in setting expectations for what constitutes a productive workday. The goal is to invoke a sense of accountability and cooperation among members of the company, even if they are initially dealing with the constraints of working in a virtual space.
Compile Online Resources for Building a Diverse and Inclusive Company Culture
HR personnel should also head efforts to establish diverse and inclusive company cultures. These must be respected across the company’s official channels and spaces, whether they’re physical or digital in nature. Happily enough, thanks to the accessibility of the internet, it is no longer as difficult for HR staff to learn about inclusivity and diversity and to apply key principles to the company’s bylaws and code of conduct. For example, HR staff can get to know the religious and cultural beliefs of their company’s Muslim team members through online resources like the Muslim Pro app and the Muslim Pro app Instagram page. If company employees feel equally respected and valued given their varying social backgrounds, they will be proud ambassadors of the company’s unique work culture.
Be Flexible and Adaptable in the Quest for Organisation-Wide Productivity
In terms of solidifying a company’s culture for productivity, HR personnel must be aware that some methods and metrics for employee performance must be adapted for the remote setup. Different tools may be needed to accurately assess employee attendance, fulfilment of individual duties, and due correspondence with managers and other employees. A company that’s transitioned from a predominantly onsite setup will eventually learn that it needs to define, measure, and appraise productivity among employees in ways that fit the circumstance. To make things both easier and more efficient among remote workers—and to create cultures where productivity is sustainable—company HR teams must be more flexible and more adaptable in their administrative approaches.
Encourage Two-Way Feedback about Remote Work Arrangements
In the absence of opportunities to meet spontaneously and discuss work matters face to face, companies must engineer cultures with strong two-way feedback loops. In the ideal remote work setup, it should be like second nature for employees of all ranks to voice their concerns, cite areas for improvement in their workflow, and ask for the support that they need to do their jobs well. HR personnel should be ready to mediate this feedback across different remote channels and ensure that it gets to whoever needs to see it. When this is successfully applied, the end is a company culture that runs on transparency and mutual trust.
Taking Care of Staff through Thoughtful Gestures
In fostering a nurturing and caring company culture, it’s essential that organizations recognize and celebrate significant life events of their employees. For instance, sending baby gifts and baby hamper to staff who are welcoming a new member to their families can be a touching and thoughtful gesture. It’s not just about the material gift, but the sentiment it carries, signifying that the company values and cares for the well-being and happiness of its employees. It reinforces the sense of community and support within the organization, making employees feel appreciated and valued. HR departments can coordinate such efforts, ensuring that employees experiencing major life events feel supported and acknowledged, further nurturing a positive and inclusive work environment, whether it be in remote or on-site settings. By emphasizing care and consideration, companies can boost morale and strengthen the bonds among team members, encouraging a harmonious and supportive company culture.
Advocate Work-Life Balance Among Employees
The remote work setup is often hailed for its adaptability and its potential to save time, money, and energy for everyone involved. In output-driven work setups where employees can do their work remotely, it follows that they don’t have to languish over long commutes and that they can dedicate themselves towards their families and individual interests. However, remote work arrangements can also blur the lines between workplace and home and instigate unhealthy habits among employees who have a hard time compartmentalising. HR personnel should be aware of this and, in addition, be active proponents of a company culture that values work-life balance. The organisation’s culture should discourage overworking oneself to the point of burnout or illness and promote healthy, balanced, and well-rounded ways of living.
Find Ways to Translate Warmth and Support Through Online Channels
Last but definitely not least, companies should develop work cultures that are as welcoming as they’re expected to be on site. HR can take the lead in designing interactions with remote employees so that they can still foster support and camaraderie. Some examples include keeping a calendar of employees’ birthdays and greeting them via email on those days, and celebrating staff members’ employment milestones through announcements on the company’s social media accounts. Employees will be glad to participate in a company culture that prioritises their growth and wellbeing, and they will keep that culture alive by demonstrating that same warmth and support to their colleagues.
HR departments have tremendous responsibilities to their home companies, and several of them have to do with promoting work cultures. If you’re an HR practitioner, you may already know what challenges lie ahead of you when it comes to implementing your company culture in remote settings. But don’t be discouraged, as it is still possible to inculcate the company’s values and vision-mission within a community of remote workers. Get closer to manifesting the company culture you want by trying the practices listed above.