How To Maintain Company Culture During Challenging Times
The strength of an organization’s culture plays a significant role in its success…especially during times of uncertainty. Poor company culture leads to unhappy employees, decreased productivity, and increased turnover, hurting your profits.
Until 2020, senior management at Macrotech spent nearly half of the year traveling between our offices in the U.S. and Asia and visiting manufacturing partners around the globe. Office management, account managers, and customer service teams largely worked in-office. Like most companies, that changed two years ago. As we enter our third year of a hybrid workplace, we have found that reinforcement of company culture is critical.
We were well-positioned to meet this challenge by the nature of our business, considering our leadership has always operated on a hybrid model. Maintaining our company culture has always been more than team-building activities and events. We always had a virtual environment in which our employees felt connected and valued. Now we need to maintain that culture, keeping those who were used to face-to-face interaction on the road and those who thrived in-office engaged in helping the company continue to reach its goals.
If your business is struggling to maintain company culture with a remote or hybrid work model, consider how you can implement the following.
Rally Around a Shared Goal
The core of company culture consists of the values and beliefs woven into the fabric of an organization. Strong company culture results in unity, respect, and transparency among leadership and staff alike.
During difficult seasons, it’s important to remind your team of your company’s core values and purpose so you can rally around those common goals. Make sure that everyone understands the company’s overall vision and that the responsibilities of each team member are made clear.
Having a common goal to work toward helps maintain team cohesiveness and inspires the motivation needed to keep moving forward.
Work To Boost Team Morale
When an organization’s culture declines, employee satisfaction declines with it. Without a shared vision, employees lose the sense of being aligned with and connected to the company. This disconnect breeds low morale and high turnover. During challenging times, this can be especially destructive.
To boost team morale:
- Encourage rest. Make sure your staff are taking breaks throughout the work day and using their allotted vacation time each year.
- Provide resources to support mental health and wellness needs. Ensure your employee healthcare plan covers mental health therapy. Consider hosting classes on stress management or offering materials to help your team learn about managing mental health and wellness.
- Offer team-building activities. Team building activities help build confidence and boost productivity while giving your staff an opportunity to bond in an informal setting (and have a little fun together). This can take the form of team-building games, office holiday parties, employee birthday celebrations, and so on.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Open communication creates an environment of trust and inspires a sense of safety in your staff. This feeling of security will make a huge difference in their level of wellness as well as their productivity.
Be transparent in your communication, keeping your employees up to date on all important information. Ask your staff for their honest feedback and take the time to listen to their responses. Their different perspectives can help you see each problem more holistically and learn how you can better support your team. Once your employees know that their opinions are valued, they can trust that you are looking out for their best interests, and their work performance will improve.
Take Time To Celebrate Wins
Publicly acknowledge when employees reach their goals or go above and beyond in their work. Taking the time to celebrate team accomplishments helps boost morale and provide a sense of normalcy.
When you celebrate wins, the person being recognized knows that their hard work is valued and other team members are motivated to strive toward their goals. Recognizing employee success helps to create forward momentum as well as a positive, hopeful environment in the midst of uncertainty.
Provide Opportunities for Growth
While it may be tempting to hold off on offering advancement opportunities during tough times, it’s important to continue providing your employees with opportunities for growth. Giving your staff the chance to take on more responsibility, problem solve, or take the lead on a project can help boost self-worth and pride in their work. This sense of fulfillment is an important part of retaining great employees.
As much as you are able, continue providing your staff with opportunities for training and continuing education. These opportunities to learn more, get better at their jobs, and advance in their careers will create a team of happy, fulfilled employees as well as better performance for your business.
Show Compassion and Understanding
In difficult times, it’s important to show compassion for your staff. Dealing with stress and uncertainty while managing work and personal obligations can leave people feeling exhausted and vulnerable. Seek to understand how difficult this is for them and recognize that they are coping as well as they can.
Showing you care and making empathy a central part of your company culture can help your employees make it through a challenging time…and maybe even come out of it stronger.
How has your organization worked to maintain company culture during difficult times? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this important topic.