Your corporate culture is what makes you unique. Now that your staff is largely working from home, you may be left wondering how to keep it alive.
While this has been a new adjustment for many businesses and teams, this virtual culture is how my team has always grown. Our culture and mission have been rooted through a remote staff, and in many ways, we thrive because of how we work virtually, not despite it.
Here are three tactics I have implemented with my virtual team to foster a culture of work we all love.
1. Nurture a meeting culture to connect employees
When you work remotely, meetings are everything. This is the time when you are the most connected and team-oriented as possible. As a result, you must structure your meetings in a manner that amplifies this connection and team culture. Create an established schedule for team meetings that does not change. This consistency generates a sense of stability amongst the team so they know, no matter what, you will always meet at least once a week.
With my team, we have set up bookend meetings for the week: every Monday morning, and Friday afternoon we have a team meeting. Monday is focused on setting intentions for the week while Friday is centered around sharing wins and discussing challenges faced with the intention to turn them into learning opportunities for everyone.
Every meeting we host is conducted via video so that each team member is able to see one another. These aren't meeting where only I speak. Every member of the team must share and contribute. When you make communication mandatory in some form or fashion, every employee views the calls as an active session as opposed to passively watching a presentation or talk.
2. Mandate employee shoutouts
When you are left alone to complete one task after another, working from home can feel like a silo at times. If you aren't careful, your team will become a cluster of employees independently executing actions without any form of connection or understanding of how their work impacts the business and others. This is a fast path toward corporate culture destruction and disengagement from your team.
Communication must be prioritized and be fluid with praise on a regular basis. We found a major increase in the level of collaboration unfolded when people were encouraged to give shout outs to others for their support and efforts during the week. While a leader may shy away from sharing praise for efforts that are simply a part of an employee's job description, people crave that sense of recognition and appreciation, especially when they work alone.
Give each team member time during the Friday bookend meeting to share not only their own experiences but a shout out to someone who helped them during the week. When they know this is coming each week, they will be more inclined to stay connected and keep track of who they worked with and how they were able to help each other.
3. Prioritize skill development
When you take time to add value to your employees, they feel the value you bring them in return. During this new wave of virtual work, instead of letting the potential downtime upon your employees go to waste, dedicate it to upskilling your team. Place a team emphasis on becoming better...together.
Take a vested interest in the development and success of your employees so they are more committed to your mission for the long haul. If you can create a strategy that weaves their career and life aspirations into your companies culture and mission, it becomes a win for everyone. When you understand who has similar goals, skills they want to develop or passion projects to pursue, pair them together to work as a collective. Have two employees who want to improve their sales skills? Enroll them in an online course together and pair them up to be accountability partners. Have a group of employees excited to rebrand an existing product launch? Give them added time dedicated to focus on executing their dream as a team.
When you pay attention to what your employees want, it becomes easier to match their goals together and funnel their efforts into expanding your business and improving the workplace culture.
Listen. Be willing to adjust. And don't forget, that just because you are looking through the screen, it can still be a lens that can show you a world of possibility.