How to continue instilling company culture when the workforce is disparate

Posted by Caterina George

The constant changes to the workforce composition as businesses work through trading in a pandemic, can take it’s toil. So how can companies remain a collective and productive when their workforce are apart?

According to Wikipedia, company culture can be described as  “encompasses  values and behaviours that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of a business.” But the significance of a robust and instilled culture within an organisation brings far more benefits.

Forbes state there are three clear benefits to having a strong, unified company culture underlying business’s operations, including:

  • Identity. For starters, culture contributes to the identify and values of your company. For example, if your corporate culture is one that prioritises setting and meeting goals, your individual workers will be more likely to set and meet goals of their own. It’s a good way to set and maintain the direction of your employees, and without it, it’s hard to keep your company’s values coherent.
  • Retention. A strong company culture attracts better talent and, more importantly, retains that talent. When people feel like they belong to an organisation, they’re more likely to stick around for the long term. That means lower turnover, fewer new hires to deal with, and better chemistry among your team.
  • Image. Corporate culture also adds to your brand identity. If you treat your employees well and have a fun-loving corporate atmosphere, your customers will see you as a fun-loving, generous brand. Depending on your target demographics, that could be a major boon for sales and customer loyalty.

It should be a business priority to work hard to build a company culture and environment where employees like to be and look forward to coming to work every day, they enjoy their work, successes are celebrated and they feel engaged with the direction the company is heading. With this alignment, encourages staff to work together with the company leadership to help achieve the business goals.

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Impact of a pandemic on a workforce

The spread of a global pandemic like COVID-19 Coronavirus has certainly challenged and changed the working environment. Companies have had to adapt their strategy in order to survive, which consequently has changed the workforce dynamic, with the majority moving to remote working and some being put on furlough. This could take a toll on morale, motivation and productivity, but there are some key initiatives that could be implemented to help minimise impact.

Collaboration, Clarity and Communication are vital elements to initiate, as outlined in our recent blog ‘How to keep those employees working from home connected, during a pandemic’ along with the importance of ‘making sure your employees feel like they are “a part” of something.’ It could be easy for staff to become disengaged, if the company culture and policies don’t continue in a virtual world.

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Moving forwards post-pandemic

COVID-19 damaged the global economic and financial system. But with new recovery plans that are being put in place by each country to get their economies moving again, the world is encouraged to bounce back. This includes the move to occupy office workplaces once more.

The configuration of the workforce is expected to be switched up again, but with staff still being disparate: comprising of being back in the office, working remotely, working part-time or still on furlough.

When the workforce is still apart, this is where the continuity of company culture can be applied, to ensure staff are provided with the constant direction and best practices from the business.

5 ways to instil company culture to a disparate workforce 

  1. Employee reward and recognition programme

An Employee reward and recognition programme should be at the heart of any business. Just like having the IT infrastructure in place is important for a business, the same consistency should be applied for embedding a recognition scheme. The past few months has highlighted the significance of having an online programme in place as it allows the business to continue instilling best practices through online actions, without disruption and can be applied for any eventuality.

Having core company values will shape your organisations culture. Employees need to understand what the vision of the business is and what behaviours they should be fulfilling, which values will help to establish. No matter where staff are working from, they are still able to comply with delivering the company values as their employee commitment.

An online reward programme will enable peers and managers to place digital nominations for employees or teams of people, who demonstrate and accomplish the company values. Staff can be rewarded with points for approved nominations, which can be converted into a desirable prize of their choice. Each nomination can be visible on the programme social wall, which encourages peers to celebrate their colleague’s achievements. By receiving the acknowledgements of preferred behaviours, will encourage employees to replicate actions and be motivated to achieve more, as they are recognised for their performance.

Celebrating small achievements through non-monetary acknowledgements can also be highly valuable. Sending an online ecard through the recognition programme, demonstrates to staff that their work is valuable.

Learn more about benefits for both staff and business, here.

  1. Internal shout outs

When a workforce is working apart, they will often not get visibility of all the successes, that their peers are achieving. As mentioned before, ensuring staff feel connected, comes down to good communication. And celebrating successes, forms part of a strong company culture.

Within virtual company updates or by using online applications like Yammer, acknowledge regularly employee long service awards, special occasions, the company value nominations made, customer feedback, or team triumphs. Spread the news across the business, to keep staff engaged and focused.

  1. Live communication channels

 Comms channels like Slack, can be utilised in a variety of different ways. Individual channels can be set up for working teams to get quick responses from members to help keep projects moving and replace those desk drop-ins.

Other channels can be created to instil some fun and encourage interactions – for example, quote of the day, music playlists, jokes, banter, memes, cocktail recipes, newly found hobby updates, etc Depending on how your company culture has been embedded in the workplace, the premise can be replicated online.

Face-to-face interactions are missed when working separately. But by turning a web camera on and gauging reactions, can be immensely helpful.

  1. Integrating internal culture groups

Having a team of business brand ambassadors are helpful to bring people together. Champions can organise social events and encourage participation from employees, even those on furlough. A lot of the company fun and workplace enjoyment will be missed by staff, especially if they are feeling isolated. With the introduction of virtual socialising through team quizzes, Friday night drinks, poker, karaoke, fantasy football chat etc, will remind staff of why they enjoy working for your organisation and will continue to align staff to the company ethos.

  1. Positivity of leaders

 How the company leadership and management team react to the evolving changes of team dynamics and business decisions, will shape the employees mental and emotional wellbeing. As we navigate through uncertain times of living through a pandemic, staff will be experiencing their own personal stresses, topped with the feeling of nervousness of the future working situation. Positivity, confidence and openness, will help employees feel more at ease and are all traits of a desirable company to work at.

As businesses start to open their offices again, giving people the flexibility and choice, being consultative and listening to feedback will put company’s in good stead for working collaboratively, however disparate their workforce is.

We wish you luck as you make your approach to returning to another “new normal” situation.

To discuss how our employee engagement can benefit your organisation, contact us today. Or check out how we have successfully implemented reward solutions in these businesses

Caterina takes on the role of HR, Recruitment, Facilities and Legal Manager at CR Worldwide, as well as making CR the employer of choice