How to build a corporate culture in remote and hybrid work models

Over the past year, Zoom meetings, pings, and digital whiteboard sessions have replaced in-person collaboration for many teams, complicating traditional team building strategies.

Image: GettyImages / Yuichiro Chino

Over the past year, companies around the world have adopted remote work policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Meanwhile, 24-hour Zoom meetings, virtual “pings” to popular messaging services, and digital whiteboard sessions have replaced traditional in-person collaboration for many remote teams. To learn more about building a corporate culture in remote and hybrid workplaces, we spoke to Josh Christopherson, CEO and co-founder of iCÜE and CEO of Achieve Today.

“The companies we work with have experienced a shift where sustaining the corporate culture becomes even more difficult when employees work from home. Traditional cultural events like office parties, lunches and even hallway conversations are gone, ”Christopherson said.

“It all had to translate into working from home and Zoom meetings. People felt the culture change. Even those who enjoyed working from home felt their bond with their colleagues change,” he continued.

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Hybrid work: Building the corporate culture

The traditional office experience gives employees a number of opportunities to engage with team members, from chance chats about water coolers to impromptu lunchtime meetings. However, fully remote and hybrid working models add a layer of complexity to day-to-day interactions, traditional team building and supportive corporate culture.

“Culture comes from the feelings you get from working and collaborating with those around you. It comes from the mission that you and your colleagues strive to accomplish. It is about finding ways to lock your arms in one. shared vision together and have fun doing it, ”Christopherson mentioned.

However, facilitating this kind of environment in a hybrid model is one of the biggest challenges of this working dynamic, explained Christopherson.

“If some of your team is working from home and some are in the office, you can immediately see where things can quickly fall apart or, at the very least, start to fall apart,” he continued.

There are a number of strategies that companies can implement to develop and support the corporate culture in non-traditional working arrangements. For example, Christopherson emphasized the importance of planning and the role management plays in aligning teams.

“Managers need to find ways to set schedules so that teams can collaborate and work together and be in the office together,” he said. “Sometimes departments work from home on a rotating basis so the colleagues you need to work with most closely are together at similar or overlapping hours. ”

Allow time for group outings

Historically, many companies have used extended team getaways and shorter day trips to give employees a break from typical business operations and focus on team building exercises. While setting aside time for these trips may require additional logistical challenges with remote and hybrid employees, these trips could still be fundamental to the long-term health of an organization.

“Time has proven to us during this pandemic that while remote collaboration in Zoom meetings can help move business forward, it doesn’t build culture like talking together in the same room can,” Christopherson said. .

“Seasonal or annual trips or gatherings can make a huge difference and I’m a big supporter of events that bring people together,” he added.

If these trips aren’t possible, Christopherson suggested that companies could implement tools that allow teams to “set goals together, chat in a community, get coaching on the challenges they face, and take courses to. learn and grow ”.

“It helps stimulate culture when everything can be done in an inclusive environment that brings people together towards a common vision,” he continued.

The great resignation of 2021

There has been plenty of talk about the potential big resignation of 2021 as employees look to change jobs in the coming months. For example, 49% of employees plan to land a new job in 2021, according to a March poll on Blind, an anonymous network for professionals.

At the same time, a number of companies are starting to bring their employees back to the traditional office. After more than a year of working remotely, the office could have a lot of empty desks in the coming months, as an April Blind poll found that one in three employees would quit “if the WFH ends.”

Companies may look to implement team building strategies in the coming months to retain top talent in a context of speculative rotation.

“The key will continue to be to retain and attract new talent to your business. Colleagues talk and share their experience at work. Employees who take pride in what their company does to help them grow at work will share that, and the culture will improve and attract others, ”said Christopherson.

To achieve these goals, Christopherson emphasized the importance of social media platforms.

“Social media has become a powerful tool. Managers and businesses that don’t recognize it are falling behind,” he said. Your employees publish and share their experiences online and with those around them. ”

Additionally, Christopherson said the culture and learning tools “can dramatically change your business,” while noting iCUE technology and the use of BrainCo FocusCalm banners.

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It remains to be seen whether the big resignation of 2021 will materialize. Turnover – en masse “tsunami” or otherwise – is an inevitable part of business operations and the hiring process in general. However, creating and maintaining a positive corporate culture could pay off in the long run.

“Embracing technology and then giving your managers the training and tools to be successful will be what sets your business apart. Your employees will see the changes in their lives, then talk about them and share them,” said Christopherson.

“Talent will come and stay. You will see changes in your bottom line and this will be important. It won’t happen overnight, but the numbers have proven time and time again, if you care about your employees, they will care about you, ”he continued.

E-learning and micro-credentials have been popular offerings as workers look to retool and improve their resumes during the coronavirus pandemic. Christopherson also discussed offering training opportunities to help retain the best workers.

“Some of the best corporate cultures we see are companies that help employees learn and grow on the job, but also tackle the challenges their employees face at home,” he said.

“Parenting, Marriage and Relationships, Happiness and even Meditation classes help your employees understand that your company cares more about their lives outside of work. ”

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