We have just completed our 6th month of working remotely. In terms of the service we deliver to our clients, this has been brilliant and our business model has proven we can function 100% without an office. We have such an amazing team, everyone has really pushed through during this strange time. The biggest problem arising from remote working can be the lack of communication and the impact on company culture. We are keen to not let these become a negative for our staff at The Cashroom.
So what about your company culture?
In an office it is easy with everyone in one place to talk about values and have them on posters all over the walls but how do you motivate staff who are not only all working remotely but who are also living through a pandemic?!?
Before you think “pah! I have enough to worry about right now without adding my business culture to the list”, please remember company culture is vital. According to a Glassdoor survey, 56% of employees find a good workplace culture to be more important than salary.
Having a clear set of values can really help direct the culture in your business. Think about what is important, what are the principles you want to drive your business – teamwork, trust, fun and innovation are popular themes in company values. We already have company values but we are taking this time to look at them again – does everyone understand them? How do we communicate them more effectively? How do we integrate our values into part of our everyday work?
Peer to peer recognition is important. We have value awards where staff nominate those they feel have demonstrated our values through their work. We celebrate this quarterly as a whole company. It feels good being recognised, and we make all nominations public so even those who don’t win see that someone has nominated them. These are a great morale boost and are a time to all come together.
Communication and Values
You need to document your culture and publish it. If you are bringing in new team members during this time (some businesses are actually growing at the moment!) then it is really hard for a new employee to understand a company’s culture. The document should be clear about expectations, how performance is measured, how you assess employees for cultural fit, and the like. No detail is too small. Look up any successful business and you will see their values visible in everything they do, Netflix, Air B n B and I can’t leave out Google. Check out Mills & Reeve who came top for culture with a score of 94% in RollOnFriday Firm of the Year survey.
Take your culture public. You can put a culture deck together and publish it on your website. Have your values on email footers and social media. This is a perfect way to attract the right candidates to your business.
Always encourage open communication, make everyone comfortable with video calling. The more open and transparent you are then the more your team will be with you too. You want to encourage an environment where everybody is contributing, not just the loud extroverts amongst your team.
Take time to learn about everyone. In an office you get a sense of who people are, without even trying. This is hard remotely as you aren’t sitting chatting in the kitchen or at the printer. Something we are doing is sending short virtual surveys out to staff with a few short questions, favourite tv programme, do they do sports, role in the company and we’re publishing these. We hope these generate some conversation which will really help grow a positive company culture.
A tool such as Slack or Teams is useful too. It can act like your office coffee station, where the random chats happen, there can be some banter, jokes and chat about the news – people love adding GIF’s and memes here too.
I’m going to say it again – KEEP COMMUNICATING!
It all boils down to this, culture will fail or thrive purely on communication. We set aside time every week to dedicate purely to a culture group. 30 minutes will suffice and include as many team members as possible.
Measure it. Send an employee survey every month or quarter to see how you are doing and gauge how staff are feeling.
Company culture should be constantly reassessed as you grow or change as well. Don’t just spend copious time on it, and then shelve it somewhere inaccessible to everyone. In order to grow a positive company culture with a remote team, you need to continue to monitor your culture and values, and never stop.
Go create something positive from 2020 and have fun with it!
Emma O’Day, Head of Marketing and Communications
The Cashroom Ltd