Building and establishing a good corporate culture is a difficult task. Many small and medium-sized companies have spent years on it. Now that the world of work is changing and hybrid working is spreading in many companies, those in charge are faced with a new challenge: how do we successfully build corporate values despite physical distance?
Well, here are some tips!
What is a corporate culture?
Basically, the term refers to a collective system of shared values, social norms, beliefs and practices that have a significant influence on common interaction insideand outside the company. It includes all employees as well as executives and management.
A strong corporate culture ensures that...
...employees feel comfortable and committed.
...employees pull together.
...corporate goals are set & achieved.
... team cohesion is strengthened.
...concerns, fears, and also successes and feedback are openly shared with each other.
It thus forms the foundation of every company - regardless of whether it is a start-up or a large corporation - corporate values are important, especially in the transition to the hybrid working world.
Shaping a virtual corporate culture
But how do you shape an active corporate culture in the midst of a hybrid work environment? The problem is mainly that there is a misconception that corporate values are bound to an office. Since in the hybrid work model not all employees come to the office, there is a concern that corporate affiliation will suffer under the alternating model.
But this does not have to be the case! Because even in the hybrid work model, it is possible to build and maintain a distinctive culture and to develop it further. This requires sensitivity, an active feedback culture and a lot of communication.
1. Communication & Transparency
Already during the transition to the hybrid working model, transparent communication within the team is essential in order to maintain the company values in the new working model. An active change management process with employee involvement not only ensures that concerns, fears and wishes of the staff can be addressed, but also that active and cross-team work can be done on the hybrid corporate culture.
Regular contact within individual teams and the entire company is very important! Many different small communication channels help to connect the teams with each other. However, the number of channels should remain manageable, because a lot of different information pours in on employees every day. Structured communication channels for different concerns make hybrid collaboration easier to plan. This includes, for example, weekly meetings with the entire team or departmental meetings in which the company's procedures are discussed in a transparent manner.
2. Encourage informal meetings
To strengthen the sense of belonging and keep the flood of information in check, the corporate culture should also consciously promote breaks. Non-stop meetings are often counterproductive. What is particularly important in the hybrid work model is to consciously promote time for each other. Fifteen minutes in a coffee chat can be enough to connect employees from different teams, build private bonds and promote team spirit.
Especially for new employees in the company, it is important to incorporate company values into onboarding - whether it takes place on-site or online. In these cases, time and space should be given for informal meetings. After all, regular meetings foster team spirit and communicate important values, rituals and work processes.
3. Think global & regional at the same time
It is particularly difficult for global companies to maintain a uniform culture and values. Corporate values can change across countries and clash with local culture. Therefore, it is important to find global as well as local company values and a policy regarding the change between home office and office.
One way to promote global culture is, for example, to visit the global headquarters for onboarding. There is no better way to communicate values than to talk and interact with employees on site.
4. Organize team events
To strengthen cohesion within the company, team events and team building are a powerful way to keep the corporate culture present. For example,"mandatory" social events can take place at regular intervals - be it online or on-site. It is important to create routines and traditions that employees enjoy participating in. An online games night or a karaoke night are simple examples that employees look forward to.
At Seatti, for example, we organize regular team outings at different locations, such asSchliersee or Madrid, where the whole team meets and spends several days together. In the past, this has not only enabled us to provide a better onboarding experience for new employees, but has also given us a conscious opportunity to share our company values.
5. The right technology
In order to build all a hybrid company culture and develop a suitable communication strategy, the right technical set-up is particularly important. Because even employees who cannot physically participate in events or meetings need to feel integrated. Everyone, whether on-site or in the home office, must be included in this cultural change and be able to help shape it.
A technical design component becomes necessary, often dubbed the "third space" between home office and office. And here the scope is very large. This can be, for example, the company's existing system landscape or the use of other tools for communication. It is important that employees feel a strong connection and are an active part of the cultural development.
How is it possible to build a uniform culture in the hybrid model?
Building a unified corporate culture online and on-site is a challenge of the new world of work. But with the right tools and open, transparent communication, it can work well. It is important that all employees can communicate with each other at all times and everywhere.
In order for the change and the establishment of clear corporate values to succeed, you also need the right technical set-up. With Seatti, you can quickly and easily integrate hybrid working into your existing Microsoft 365 landscape, such as Microsoft Teams. This enables your employees not only to do desk booking, but also location sharing and thus promote social interaction within the team.