The pandemic created an interesting juxtaposition: while the rapid rise of remote and hybrid work gave employees more professional flexibility than ever before, it also made company culture harder to maintain.
And that’s where things get sticky. Your company’s culture is vital to its success because it:
- Connects employees to your organization, their work, and their colleagues
- Supports morale and well-being
- Impacts revenue growth and business performance
Traditionally, company culture was built in the office and brought to life by the people who were immersed in it.
But with organizations being more dispersed than ever before, your approach to maintaining company culture needs to be recalibrated.
Here are seven ways to do so.
1. Focus on shared purpose
Research has shown that employees perform better when they feel a sense of belonging in a team or organization.
And one of the best ways to create a sense of belonging is to build a culture in which your people understand—and believe in—what they’re collectively striving for.
This starts with ensuring each person finds purpose in their work and feels connected to the organization’s mission by clearly defining its vision and values and communicating them frequently.
Strive to openly discuss the big picture, share your organization’s goals, and ensure every employee understands how their individual efforts contribute to achieving them.
2. Find ways to manufacture social moments
Social interaction is a crucial component of a strong company culture. It allows employees to form personal bonds that translate into better professional interactions and, ultimately, stronger business outcomes.
Remote and hybrid work ultimately result in fewer opportunities for “watercooler chat” and casual socialization. And it’s one of the things people miss most about the office.
So, creating a great company culture requires you to not only allow social interaction at work but to proactively encourage it through initiatives like occasional in-person meetings, virtual happy hours, or providing better communication tools for teammates.
3. Provide a physical space for employees
Modern technology is incredible. It allows us to connect with colleagues in real-time from anywhere in the world.
But there’s no substitution for seeing your colleagues face-to-face. In-person interaction allows people to break down barriers, collaborate more effectively, and communicate more efficiently than they can when using digital tools.
Maintaining a physical workspace, in some capacity, lets employees connect when and how they wish—whether it’s to stop in for meetings or to work when they want to get out of their home office.
But most importantly, it allows company culture to thrive by providing them with a place where they can engage and interact with their colleagues in the real world.
4. Revisit hiring and onboarding policies
It’s important to maintain company culture among existing employees. But making new hires a part of that culture is arguably even more so.
The onboarding process is foundational to ensuring new employees are successful in their roles. It can make or break their experience with your company.
In the past, this process was made easier through casual conversations and the ability to ask questions among the team. But now, many of those interactions have to take place via video conferencing or instant messaging platforms.
Creating a structured and thorough onboarding process that considers remote, hybrid, and in-person employees will be crucial to maintaining company culture in the new norm.
5. Schedule more frequent (and less formal) check-ins
In the wake of the pandemic, transparency and communication are key tools in building company culture.
Rather than waiting for quarterly check-ins or annual reviews, prioritize connecting with your team for more frequent, less formal conversations.
Take the opportunity to find out how they’re feeling, whether they have the tools they need to succeed, and how you can better support them—then seek opportunities to put their feedback into action.
6. Celebrate successes
If you want to create a strong company culture, celebrating success is more than a perk—it’s a necessity.
Recognizing and appreciating your employees, even for smaller wins, keeps employees inspired, builds camaraderie, and lets people know that your company values them.
7. Embrace cultural evolution
Take a minute to do some introspective analysis: what does your company culture look like today, and how did it get to this point?
You’ll probably discover that your company culture is based on historical norms—the values of your company’s leaders, the expectations of your employees, and the ways in which your business has always operated.
But the professional world is in a state of evolution, and it’s safe to assume that your company culture will evolve with it.
Things will change. New norms will be established. And the companies that are flexible and adaptable in their approach to creating culture will be the ones that find themselves in the strongest positions as the dust settles.
Whether your organization works together in the office full time, operates on a hybrid model, or is completely remote, company culture is the common thread that can make or break its success.
And as the working world learns to navigate the “new norm,” finding ways to maintain it should be at the top of your list of priorities.
If you’re searching for a flexible workspace where you can support company culture through in-person connection and collaboration, you’ll find it here. Book a tour of your local iQ Offices location today.
Kane Willmott is the co-founder and CEO of iQ Offices, the largest independent Canadian-owned co-working operator with offices in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. iQ Offices provides beautiful office spaces with safety, service, privacy and design at the forefront.