3 Steps to Maintain Culture in a Remote Work World
September 30, 2020
2020 has been a year of crisis and disruption, particularly for those tasked with workplace experience. Completely distributed teams have suddenly become the status quo. As a result, HR professionals are scrambling to support managers of newly remote teams. They are looking for high impact solutions that solve the most pressing issues.
One of the biggest issues has been maintaining a strong company culture. A recent survey from SHRM showed that 71 percent of employers said they are struggling to adjust to remote work. 65 percent said that maintaining employee morale has been a challenge. As Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats Strategy for breakfast.” A strong workplace culture can power a team to accomplish amazing things. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. So, how do you build a strong culture in a remote work world? If you are an HR leader of suddenly remote organization, start here.
#1 REVISIT CORE VALUES
“Values-fit” has rapidly replaced “culture-fit” in evaluating current and future employees. To support the transition to remote work you must have solid alignment on what’s important and how work gets done. Are your company values relevant to the moment we find ourselves in? Are there new ones you need to add to the mix? Lastly, most importantly, are your core values apparent in your workplace culture?
Work with leadership to review and update your values for the new work environment. Then, be as transparent as possible. Make your values easily discoverable. Ensure there are systems in place to reward your values in action. Which brings us to the second step in the process.
#2 CREATE NEW RITUALS
In a recent Masters of Scale podcast Reid Hoffman and Shishir Mehrotra went into depth on this subject. Rituals like Shishir’s Sunday Emails provide feelings of certainty, safety, and personal connection. Those missed “water cooler moments” create white space and new rituals can fill the gap. At Voodle we are seeing customers use short video for things like #meetingsummary, #weeklyinspo, and #momentsofinsight. These voodles ensure team members across the company get effortlessly up to speed on all the latest decisions or ideas.
#3 RE-THINK WORKPLACE CULTURE BUILDING ACTIVITIES
In the early months of the crisis, virtual Zoom happy hours abounded but companies like Wired reported dwindling interest as lock-down continued. In addition, they had the same inclusivity issues that in-person happy hours of old had. At this point, we have all had a goat crash our Zoom meetings and maybe even been Rick-Rolled mid-conversation. But building personal connections and trust amongst a team in a remote environment requires new thinking and approaches, not gimmicks.
Back in the office world, we would go to coffee, lunch or take a walk around the block to learn more about our co-workers and establish a relationship. How can we capture those authentic moments in our new remote, asynchronous world? You guessed it! Short video to the rescue again. Allowing team members to share highlights of their weekend, concerns about remote life, or even pet videos through an app like Voodle can be surprisingly powerful.
A regular cadence of “voodle challenges” can create strong feelings of connectedness. Plus you get really great insights about who your coworkers are and what matters to them. I can tell you from firsthand experience, it’s a lot more fun and authentic than those awkward in-person icebreaker exercises!
As the Future of Work comes barreling at us, innovative tools are emerging for HR leaders to leverage in their quest to maintain engagement and culture. The new workplace experience is an opportunity to embrace asynchronous connection. To maximize the benefits of remote work, team members should feel less pressured by requirements to attend real-time events. They are now free to share and learn about their team in a more casual and authentic way. Messaging platforms only get you so far – Voodle aims to bring humanity and personal connection to this new world of work.