Many companies pride themselves on their company culture—often, it may actually be a core competency and a competitive advantage. As employers broaden remote work positions to more employees than ever before, organizations might want to consider how to preserve their culture through an increasingly virtual workspace.

What Is Company Culture?

Company culture is the environment and personality of a business. It’s more than just a mission statement or organizational values; company culture encapsulates the unwritten norms of how workers act with one another. While toxic company cultures can be detrimental, a solid company culture and positive worker morale can enhance recruitment efforts, employee retention, and the bottom line of a company.

The Society for Human Resource Management categorizes company culture into three broad categories:

  • Social—How individuals act, and how authority and influence exist between different roles and teams
  • Material—How people in a group make or achieve something, and the ways people work with and collaborate with one another
  • Ideological—How values, beliefs and ideals establish how individuals exist and interact

Company culture has long been concerned with how interactions take place. In the absence of face-to-face communication, that same company culture translates through virtual interactions that occur via channels such as phone, email, video, employee intranets, instant messaging, and more. As utilization of remote work grows, employers may want to think about how their culture translates into the virtual workplace.

A Strong Company Culture

Company culture should align with the values and mission statement unique to each organization. According to Glassdoor, positive company cultures share common themes that make a difference in today’s economy. These include:

  • Agility
  • Customer focus
  • Collaboration
  • Diversity
  • Execution
  • Integrity
  • Innovation
  • Performance
  • Respect

Organizations need not lose their treasured culture to a virtual environment: employers will want to consider planning ahead.

Company Culture in the Remote Workplace

Effectively translating company culture into the remote workspace is about more than just adjusting business practices and creating policies—the behaviors and actions of employees will continue to be the driving force of a culture, just as in any work location.

In the remote workplace, there are several ways that can help employers expand the positive attributes of a culture to those engaged in remote work. Options for employers to consider include implementing practices, encouraging behaviors, and reworking employee engagement while keeping the following tips in mind:

  • Focus on the why—An organization’s purpose, mission statement, and objectives are often a source of meaning for employees. Make sure that these goals remain on the front lines of communications.
  • Prioritize collaboration—Like in any workplace, employees stay engaged when they collaborate and feel part of a greater cause. While workers will be spending a significant amount of time on their own, be intentional about promoting collaboration with goals, projects, and objectives.
  • Rethink communications—Company culture gets its life from the actions of employees and how workers communicate amongst each other. While word-of-mouth can no longer be the main form of communication, be strategic about how to use different communication channels, such as social networking, employee intranets, tools, and video.
  • Create opportunities for social engagement—When individuals can engage with each other virtually, it can help bolster camaraderie. Non-work conversations through various video platforms can help build team chemistry and promote an environment for positive interactions to occur in a remote environment.

Encouraging Behaviors

While employers can establish policies and record expectations, it is ultimately the employees’ choice to buy in. Facilitating positive behaviors will take more than just guidelines or policies—actions often have an immense impact. Leaders have significant influence—and when management is exemplifying expected behaviors every single day, employees will feel more apt to reciprocate.

Facilitating a Strong Remote Culture

While company culture will be characterized by how individuals interact, organizations can take steps to encourage an environment where a positive company culture can be promoted in the remote workplace.

Every organization has its own unique culture. Encourage behavior and create practices that best work for your company and work well with remote and non-remote employees alike. Contact Foy & Associates for additional resources regarding best practices for utilizing the remote workplace.

This HR Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. © 2020 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.