Create a Strong Virtual Company Culture
In times of turmoil, people look to those they trust. And for businesses, that means this time of crisis is an opportunity for your business to shine during this time. Today, your organization may be emerging as a steady support in a time of crisis, or a critical motivator.
This isn’t just about reputation – your brand image in this moment has a real impact on purchase decisions. A stunning 70% of people in a recent study from Edelman PR said they wouldn’t buy a brand that didn’t participate in finding a solution.
Slogans and logos aside, your individual employee interactions with customers and suppliers contributes significantly to your company’s overall brand image, because they make a personal impact on the people they interact with.
LinkedIn reports that brand messages shared by employees are re-shared 24 times more often than those distributed by the brand themselves. Why? Because people tend to find this more authentic.
How are your employee’s personal brands contributing to your organizational brand?
This may be a challenging question to answer if your workforce has suddenly become entirely remote. Here, we look at why you should start with a positive culture, and how to help shape that with a remote workforce.
Dangers to Employers Who Can’t Create a Positive Virtual Culture
Employers who fail to cultivate a positive culture will face some tough implications beyond a searing Glassdoor review. Dangers include:
- Plummeting employee retention. With everyone relegated to a home office, switching jobs can be much easier, and some barriers to switching, like getting out for an interview or changing up a commute, have evaporated.
- Productivity slumps. Not all employees can thrive at home, and employees stuck in a poor company culture are less likely to be motivated to stay productive or flex their schedules to account for any productivity losses their facing adding in personal commitments during their workday.
- Recruitment drops. Your virtual company brand proceeds you, and if candidates are hearing about poor culture, it’s unlikely you’ll even get a chance to interview them.
Encourage Emotional Intelligence
With a remote workforce, one of the best ways to build a positive culture is to enhance employee’s emotional intelligence. This helps in many ways, including:
- Improves connections with colleagues
- Reduces misinterpretation, which can spike when employees lack face-to-face interaction
- Helps employees understand their own feelings and emotions better to navigate this challenging situation with a cooler head.
Your company can enhance emotional intelligence by encouraging:
- Practice proactive communication with your colleagues. Check-in with them with no agenda. A key part of this check in, Inc. advises, is understanding how employees like to communicate, and personalizing your communication to them. Some may prefer a casual “how’s it going?” e-mail or chat, while others appreciate a quick video or phone call. Prioritize individual time to connect with employees personally, both through unscheduled and intentional check ins.
- Expect business leaders to lead by example. Overcommunicate to ensure everyone feels connected, and ensure leaders are accessible in between scheduled meetings to support the team. In addition, matching leaders with mentees can help encourage collaboration and support outside an employee’s department, and offer a natural connection point for mentorship conversations and some lighter personal connection.
- Ask the experts. Your employees are the best resource in identifying what might be lacking in your virtual team culture – so ask them.
- Praise good work. When you can’t swing by someone’s desk to thank them for their good work, you’ll have to create avenues to praise virtual team members for a job well done. Celebrating successes – even small ones – has greater importance when everyone is remote, according to Slack. Offering a quick video “toast” to teammates for a win or taking turns recognizing other’s accomplishments can boost morale.
- Use tools that encourage communication and fit your culture. Between the increased “sale!” e-mails from retailers, the online schooling, and general attempts to stay connected, e-mail volumes are soaring right now. The ability to move communication from an office to a tool that lends itself easily to communication reduces the drain on employees – and makes it more likely they’ll use it.
Implement a software solution that enables virtual connection
Employees are facing enough challenges during this time – connecting to coworkers shouldn’t be one of them. By making connecting easy for employees with a software solution that facilities virtual mentoring or coaching, you can help employees stay engaged and happy, ultimately strengthening your virtual company culture.
Whether your business is launching a new coaching programing or transition an established mentoring program to a virtual version, Insala is ready to put our more than 30 years of experience to work for you.
Please contact us to request a demo and see for yourself how Insala can help you implement programs and tools establish a vibrant virtual company culture.
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