Our workplaces are changing; whether you are planning to be fully remote or partially remote, there will be more of your team working away from the office in the future than there was in the past.
One of the fears leaders have is how this shift will impact company culture over the long term.
Is culture “caught” or “taught”?
There are lots of cues to company culture in an office. The colors used, what’s on the wall, how space is allocated, and even how the public spaces are maintained all communicate our values to our team. Further, there are opportunities for the leaders to model the company culture in small ways every day in the office.
When we’re together physically, culture can be “caught” just by being around the team. You get the “vibe” and learn how to fit in.
There are fewer incidental encounters in a remote setting, and the normal visual cues are reduced down to a Zoom square or a list of slack channels.
Remote culture best practices
Clarify and reinforce your values.
A healthy culture is a reflection of your company’s values.
Is your whole team clear about your values? Can each of them tell you about a time when they saw those values expressed in key decisions or actions your company made?
Those stories are great ways to reinforce your culture. In your company’s internal email newsletter, you might ask a team member to share one of those stories.
How can you reinforce those values remotely?
Take each of your values and proactively plan a way to reflect that value in a remote culture.
For example, at Anchor Advisors, one of our values is Continuous Learning. We demonstrate that by budgeting 3% of each employee’s annual salary toward training, executive education, online courses, and other tools to help make sure each of us is learning and upping our game every year.
People take cues from your behavior.
Since there’s less opportunity for MBWA – you may need to be more online and available than you are used to.
I’m seeing some CEOs sending a weekly email with updates on key initiatives and antidotes about individuals in the company. Others are doing a video or an AMA. Don’t be afraid to show some of your personality and even talk about your family, hobbies, and social stuff. Remember, your behavior is modeling what you want others to do!
Assess the culture and engagement.
No one wants more surveys, but doing a 2X per year assessment of the team’s level of engagement with their roles and company values can go a long way to helping folks feel heard and seen. It provides not just a snapshot of where you are in team heath but gives you a metric to start to track team health and engagement. (I’ve got some examples if you are interested!)
Have clear guidelines about communication channels, what goes where, when to video vs. audio.
Remote environments have too many communication channels! When do I call, or text, or Slack, or email… Do I need to always have my camera on?
Make it clear by writing a document with the norms and standards you want to see enforced!
These are my best ideas, but I’d love to hear ideas you have about how to build your company culture remotely! Hit reply and let me know!