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An employee-centric company culture has always been a big draw for job seekers. During the last decade big tech companies competed for talent with their complimentary lunchrooms, ping-pong tables, and relaxed workspaces. Now, with the pandemic creating an ongoing remote workforce, it’s important that businesses are able to translate their company culture to a virtual environment.

According to a recent survey by Telus International, 51 percent of employees felt less connected to their company culture while working remotely during the pandemic. 57 percent missed interacting with colleagues, 53 percent missed in-person team collaboration, and 50 percent simply missed having a clearly defined separation between work and home.

In response to feedback received in similar surveys, many companies are seeking to answer questions related to a remote work environment.

  • How do companies engage a distributed workforce?
  • How do companies transition company culture to remote work environments?
  • How does HR retain quality staff?
  • What additional benefits can be offered to enhance employees’ experiences?

Answering these questions about company culture should be critical to employers. According to the Hinge Research Institute, when evaluating job opportunities, 57 percent of job seekers weigh culture as heavily as pay. Over 75 percent of recruiters said they are more concerned with cultural fit than work history and experience when presenting potential hires to their clients.

While it can be more challenging to convey and maintain company culture in a remote environment, there are still ways leadership can infuse their culture virtually.

With many companies transitioning to a completely remote or hybrid work model, now is the perfect time to assess your corporate culture, see if there are any changes that need to be made, and decide on new methods of reinforcing your culture with a remote workforce.

Determine the Company’s Values
Corporate culture is based on the values your company believes. Before you can create a culture, you need to know what the company stands for. Examples of values can include concepts like integrity, diversity, passion, authenticity, innovation, respect, wellness, good citizenship, and teamwork. If your corporate values need some refining, consider enlisting a team from across all departments and levels to define what characteristics are important for the organization to succeed. When employees are actively involved in the creation of culture, you get immediate buy-in.

Communicate Company Culture
In a remote environment, employees aren’t going to intuit the culture      – you need to communicate it. Have a document that defines the company’s values, how performance is measured, and what expectations are; no detail is too small. This should be a working document that can change and grow as needed.

But don’t stop there. Share your culture with your customers and partners too. Many companies like LinkedIn and IDEO are now publishing their values on their website. This is important because consumers today expect the brands they buy from to be good corporate citizens.

Schedule Virtual Events
According to the Telus study, the most important component of creating culture remotely was to offer virtual workshops and online learning opportunities. In addition to creating work-related online events, consider also including social events to build culture. This could be anything from an online game lunch hour to a wine tasting hosted by a professional.

Establish Open Communication
Communication is critical for all relationships, in-person or remote. According to the Telus study, 66 percent of those surveyed felt weekly staff meetings and one-on-ones with their managers were important to maintain culture virtually.

Not only is having open communication important, but choosing the right channels for communication is also something to be considered. Platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zoom help people stay connected. Be careful to not have too many channels for communicating or you may create opportunities for messages to be missed.

Perk Them Up
Employee benefits are a creative way to convey culture. While insurance, 401K accounts, and paid time off are standard benefits, many companies are looking to offer additional benefits that reflect their culture and carry weight with employees.  They’re looking for access to food and beverages, wellness days or activities, opportunities to book childcare or pet care, just to name a few

 Workforce Trends on the Horizon
The pandemic spurred a remote revolution in which many businesses came up with new operations plans so employees can work in remote or hybrid environments that combine time working from home with time spent in traditional office settings. Remote work is a trend that is expected to grow. This year, 1 in 4 Americans are working remotely, according to Upwork’s “Future of Workforce Pulse Report.” By 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely, an 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels, the study revealed.

Remote work is here to stay, which is why it’s imperative that businesses do an analysis of company culture to ensure that the shared values, goals, attitudes, and practices that characterize an organization are translated into remote or hybrid work environments. Smart companies are adapting to this new way of work by moving the corporate culture from the cubicle to the employee’s home office. Remote work gives the option for employees to enhance their productivity and efficiency while offering the great flexibility that people want.

    Eileen Lee has more than 15 years of experience with startups in various industries. In addition, Eileen owned her own business in non-medical healthcare services for 10 years. She is a people professional with intention because she understands that people are the foundation of every organization.

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