Lilit Davtyan is the CEO of phonexaan all-in-one marketing solution for calls, leads, clicks, email, SMS, accounting and more.
For many domestic and international companies, hybrid work environments are now the new norm, even as pandemic restrictions ease. With full in-office staff a thing of the past for many, companies are faced with the task of fostering collaboration and unity among employees who are no longer housed in one location. This task presents a unique challenge for companies around the world. How can organizations foster a corporate culture in a hybrid work environment?
As the CEO of a company that provides marketing automation solutions, I have first-hand experience working with team members from all over the world. We have remote staff, employees in our California headquarters and international offices across Europe.
From my experience, there are three effective methods to promote unity and corporate culture among office and remote employees.
Structure teams accordingly to avoid micromanaging.
If you have a hybrid work environment in which teams work remotely, you should give those teams the opportunity to structure as they see fit. You can’t structure teams based on whether team members are in the office or working from home.
Keep teams at a distance without micromanagement. If you have a leadership hierarchy structured for remote workers, decide who is responsible for passing specific information to the company. If you have a senior manager or director who manages the team remotely, they are responsible for collecting all the information from the remote team, but the office leadership is responsible for asking for consistent summaries of everything that happens.
They should also be available to call in case something important pops up. This can be structured in several ways: a huddle session with the senior management team every morning or perhaps a weekly summary they send, depending on how many people and tasks there are. Based on the weekly summary, you can meet by phone once or twice a week to make sure everything is on schedule. With the right resources available, all performance can be tracked without micromanaging.
Keep the team culture intact.
When your company has a hybrid work environment where one, two or even five people out of 100 work remotely, it creates more obstacles to establishing a culture within a department, as these are individual people in different functions who need to be able to work in a way that satisfies the company. It also limits what you as a company can do for them.
Keep remote employees engaged with office employees by delegating these responsibilities to individual department heads. For example, if the marketing department has a remote employee, I wouldn’t tell the CMO how to manage and maintain that employee. Such interference can hurt the dynamics within the marketing department, as each department has a unique culture for its team that includes communication methods.
Organizations can also maintain a fun and collaborative team culture outside the work environment. Through one of my company’s initiatives, we’ve fostered team dynamics by participating in fundraisers, raising donations for community outreach, and helping out in the Habitat for Humanity workshops. Team-oriented community service is a win-win situation because it strengthens ties within your organization while giving back to the community.
Recognize your team by rewarding their efforts.
At my company, we do a lot for employees in the office because we like to foster a culture of team building by learning together and participating in team-wide activities. But we can’t do that if not all employees are in the office.
That’s why we cover travel costs to bring employees who work abroad or remotely to our headquarters as often as possible to participate in team building activities and social events. For employees who are unable or uncomfortable to travel, you can also provide catered lunches and employee PTO appreciation so that they can feel involved in activities they cannot physically participate in.
Every department head within an organization needs to figure out how to engage each of their team members — remotely or in the office — to promote cohesion and keep the department culture intact. This will also benefit the culture of the company as a whole.
My advice to department heads is to continue to use different methods of interacting with all their employees. Facetime with remote and office teams, keep them updated on the latest developments, and share ideas on how to celebrate business performance are just some of the ways to foster a corporate culture within a hybrid organization. You may also want to consider adopting a wellness program to encourage self-care practices.
As long as the intent to unite your team is clear, your team will respond by functioning as a cohesive unit.
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