In this modern work environment, company culture plays an important role. According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 56% of employees consider company culture more important than salary.
Company culture is a combination of values, mission and business goals. To be sure, building a corporate culture doesn't happen overnight but rather a participatory effort of employees, HR and management.
But when employees work remotely, building a company culture is more challenging. Before we dive deeper, first let us understand the definition of company culture and its impact in detail.
Company culture refers to the attitudes and behaviour of the company and the employees. The interaction, values, and decisions reflect the company culture.
It also includes various elements, such as the company's mission, leadership style, work environment, ethics, expectations and goals. Culture isn't just about snacks and health insurance. It takes more, including intention, attention and thought, on how employees can work together.
Let's look at one example of the company culture at Netflix is People Over Process. In its company culture document, Netflix spells out the company's values which are communication, judgement, curiosity, courage, passion, selflessness, innovation, etc. Netflix expects these values to apply to all interactions and activities within the company. The long-term goal is a creative, collaborative and successful organisation.
The importance of sustaining company culture
Maintaining company culture is more than providing outings, upgrading or team-building parties. In remote environments, organisations need to build an environment where team members feel connected and secure. The company's organisational culture can create a productive and consistent environment. To make it clear, here are seven reasons why maintaining company culture is essential:
- The organisational culture emphasises the core values of the company.
- It defines your company's internal and external identity.
- Able to retain the best people in the company.
- Able to turn employees into supporters, not only to contribute but to promote the company culture.
- Company culture plays a good role in the employee orientation process.
- A transparent culture capable of changing different perspectives can come together and strive to achieve the same goal.
- The culture of the company determines employee performance and welfare.
Ways to learn the culture of a full-remote company
Pre-pandemic, candidates can get a clear picture of the organisational culture. HRD will explain the culture through office visits and face-to-face interviews and gain hands-on experience with infrastructure and facilities.
However, it is difficult for candidates to analyse the company culture in remote work environments. So, if you are in a candidate position, you can apply these five tips below.
1. Conduct a thorough web search
First thing first, stalk all social media and websites from the company. Research starts with work culture, workload, management and leadership. Also, check out the Glassdoor, Mouthshut, and TrustPilot sites. These sites contain employee and former employee reviews of the company.
2. Analyse the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a training model that encourages employees' self-awareness, cultural competence and empathy regardless of gender and ethnicity. A diverse workforce and an inclusive environment illustrate a strong company culture.
3. Leverage LinkedIn to the fullest
LinkedIn contains many things you can explore about the company, including the work culture. There is an overview tab, job and employee. Through LinkedIn, you can connect with company employees and see their posts about their work.
You can also view biographies of company leaders on LinkedIn to understand their professional backgrounds, connections and involvement in company activities. After looking further, you will know whether this company has aligned goals, missions and visions.
4. Ask questions during the interview
The easiest way is to ask questions during the interview. Well, before you do the interview, make a list of questions to understand the culture and work environment. Stop asking generic questions like “What's the work culture like at this company?” Try making specific questions like “How will a new employee be guided through the company policies and work process?”
5. Look out for company-wide celebration initiatives
Workplace celebrations are a great way to see employee engagement. Dedicating time to commemorate special moments with the team is the best way to make employees happy and increase productivity.
10 best practices for building a remote work culture
Building the culture in a full-remote company is challenging. It takes extra effort so that all elements of the company can implement it. So, if you are the owner, CEO or management, here are some tips you can try to build a corporate culture:
1. Build time for casual conversations in meetings
Allocate time in meetings for casual conversations. You can call it stealing time to improve connectivity. In this free session, team members can freely talk about anything. If each team member has never met, show sympathy and appreciation for each member's work.
2. Create employee chat groups
Create a chat group that contains only employees. The goal of this chat group is to make employees feel connected to each other. In addition, chat groups that employees manage independently make them more independent.
3. Establish new norms
Organisations need to establish policies about working hybrid or remotely. Make sure employees know how to practice it. Keep expectations clear and consistent with communication.
You can also use tools that allow employees to connect through a centralised platform, such as free project management tools. This helps the team stay on track.
4. Focus on the intent of your cultural initiatives
Stop virtualizing aspects of company culture and expect the experience to resonate with all employees. Instead, consider workplace cultural initiatives and develop ideas to achieve those goals.
For example, if the company culture is to have lunch together to bring about interaction, then a virtual lunch may not bring the same experience. Instead, think about the purpose of having lunch together. If the goal is to boost interaction, try creating a culture that fosters interaction in a remote work environment.
5. Build trust
Trust is a key component of instilling a healthy remote environment. Stop assuming that employees are not productive at work. Avoid micromanaging and give them space to manage their workload.
6. Utilise employee feedback
Through feedback from employees, the company can be even better. Input from employees is also helpful for ascertaining which cultures are working and which are not. You can use a survey to provide insight into employee perceptions and thoughts.
7. Hold 1-on-1 meetings often
One way to build trust with employees is to hold regular 1-on-1 meetings. This meeting is a place to get information about performance, employee barriers and the level of employee involvement.
8. Recognise employees for great work
To make employees feel valued and heard, make sure you appreciate each employee's performance and the positive progress they make. Recognition makes employees aware of your satisfaction with their performance.
9. Set clear goals and expectations
Make sure employees have clear goals and expectations. Remove unnecessary barriers that hinder productivity. Clear goals and expectations can increase employee enthusiasm so they know what they have to do. When they know what to do, that's when productivity boosts which has an impact on increasing a company's business.
10. Create an effective onboarding process
Creating an onboarding process for remote workers is different from on-site employees. You can't just virtualise the onboarding process. Create an onboarding process that results in a virtual experience.
To wrap up
While creating a solid corporate culture in a remote work environment may seem daunting, there are always ways to do it well. Technology is one of the best tools that can be used to unify the culture of a remote company.
In this modern era, there are many tools to help streamline work, communicate with teams, and track work progress. In final words, don't be afraid to try and keep investing in your team. Always improve communication between employees and the company. Now is the time to start.