Even before the pandemic hit and everyone would be under the same roof, a corporate culture required frequent checks to see if its essence could be retained with the changing times. Now that the entire workforce is functioning remotely, it’s even more important to effortfully maintain it.
Besides, culture doesn’t get built in a day. It takes time, careful planning, and effective execution for any organisation to call a culture, its own. And hence, requires cautious as well as consistent maintenance after it has been put in place. After all, it’s the heart of the organisation and keeps the values, vision and mission in check. So, how can an organisation work towards sustaining their culture during the times of working from home?
#1 Clarity in Communication is Key
According to a report by Deloitte, less than one in three executives truly understand what their organisation’s culture is all about and it’s high time this perception changes. With the help of an effective internal communications plan, organisations can work towards keeping employees aligned with their values, vision, mission and goals. It keeps employees informed and brings the culture alive by weaving it into the everyday messaging. A clear and effective internal communications strategy develops a common perception and reinstates the cultural values within the news and announcements that it makes.
#2 Transparency is the Foundation of Trust
If employees are expected to stay loyal, then it's important that the organisation as well as senior leadership facilitate open and honest conversations. Right from the business profits and losses, to the policy changes, industry challenges, the current clientele, budget cuts, etc. These bits of information will help establish trust amongst employees. Thus, discouraging them from falling prey on rumours and leading to a higher rate of engagement. Being able to trust their managers and colleagues, increases employee productivity; and more importantly, impacts retention.
#3 Keep a Real-Time Check on Hiring
When hiring new employees, it is critical to ensure that candidates are not only examined for their qualifications, but are also evaluated for their aptitude to be an overall cultural fit. This will ensure that the existing culture gets strengthened with the arrival of new joinees. While many organisations conduct separate tests to establish if someone is a culture fit, another way to better judge this is to take a group interview. Get the team that is going to closely work together with the new employee to be a part of a group discussion with the shortlisted candidates. In a situation where everything is virtual, onboarding potential employees keeping such interactions in mind, can get them to understand the culture sooner. That’s where good HR management solutions and best practices come into the picture.
#4 Lead By Example Before You Raise The Expectations
Seemingly simple yet, extremely important steps towards sustaining a company’s culture are the ones taken by the leadership team. It’s imperative that the leadership must practice it themselves, before they expect their teams to follow suit. Whether it’s about empathising and being supportive, or being accountable towards work and deliverables, respecting clients or being good listeners - leaders should lead by example. Maintaining culture by organising leadership training and development programmes is also a part of devising impactful HR management solutions.
Application in the Post-COVID Era
COVID has changed everyone’s lifestyle, and though remote work is a norm right now, it will soon become a preference. And so, it will be important to abide by these culture-sustaining measures for times even after the pandemic situation finds its way out of our lives.
According to a report by Forbes, a strong culture means four times the revenue growth. Whether it's about communicating with transparency, an effective internal communications plan, rigorous hiring, or even having the leadership team practice what they preach - these aspects apply even in the post COVID world. Virtual meet and greets, running them through inductions and credentials presentations or hosting remote employee engagement activities - is not just a thing of today, but also that of tomorrow.