2020 was a year of change in many ways. From shifting to remote work to figuring out how to maintain productivity from home as business processes have been developing at a rapid pace. HR teams have had to quickly adapt to new digital tools to ensure these transitions were successful. However, in their rush to do so, they may have overlooked one of the most crucial factors: company culture.

Challenges created by this remote transition, such as employee-employee communication and how team members feel about their company, can greatly affect productivity and overall satisfaction. Luckily, it’s never too late (or too early!) to make company culture a top priority. By ensuring all employees feel respected, valued and supported, company culture initiatives will positively impact your company at every level. Here are four tips to get started.

  1. Your employees matter; show them

Oftentimes, HR professionals can read their employees simply by interacting with them. However, it’s okay to ask for input directly from the source. Employees will know the difference between telling them you care and showing them. One of the most effective things you can do to show your employees you care is by openly asking them how they’re feeling.

Gather feedback from your teams to help you brainstorm ideas and opportunities for improvement. Being able to support your team in a remote environment goes a long way in ensuring your team feels valued. They also may be able to provide insight into helpful initiatives, such as virtual happy hours, flexible work schedules or even allotted times for no meetings, such as “No Meeting Fridays.” Employees thrive when they know their insight is taken seriously and when they have faith that their company will address their needs, concerns and thoughts in the best way possible.

  1. Communicate and over communicate

If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed in the past year, it’s this: communication is key. For many, communication is the backbone of company culture, whether with other employees or with their managers. Working from home can lead to employees feeling disconnected from their teams or struggling to manage tasks.  An open line of communication can make the difference between a stressed employee feeling alone and overwhelmed and an employee who’s able to ask for help. As well, “post-work” activities allow for team members to build trust between each other and develop useful relationships.

Incorporate opportunities for employees to get to know one another outside of work, such as team building activities, meet-and-greets or even continuing education seminars. Any activity that allows for open communication and personal connections does the trick, so don’t be afraid to try something new. As well, consider setting up an accessible messaging platform, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, where teammates can easily reach one another or the company at large. By utilizing online communication tools, you’ll make it easier for employees to communicate with each other not only when they want to, but when they need to.

  1. Consider the benefits of learning and development initiatives

As mentioned above, learning and development initiatives are great ways to not only create space for teammates to interact with each other but also fuel continued growth and encourage team members to achieve their goals. A great company won’t only encourage productivity in work but also in other areas of life, such as continuing education opportunities. Team members look to leaders in their companies to provide them with ways to grow and evolve as a professional. Learning and development is a great way to do so while also allowing your organization to become stronger and more successful.

To get started, provide opportunities for virtual skill sharing meetings, where employees have the chance to learn from each other. Look into external platforms, such as TalentLMS, that compile recorded training sessions employees can access remotely. Understanding that your remote workers are likely juggling both their work and personal life, try to keep any learning and development short and sweet so employees don’t have to take extra time out of their day to pursue growth opportunities.

  1. Don’t overlook the importance of company culture

Company culture isn’t a one-and-done task. It’s an on-going and constantly evolving process that requires HR teams to prioritize. Sustainable, impactful company culture is built on a mutual understanding between HR, management and team members that their mental, physical and emotional health is important. Any leadership team that only implements company culture initiatives to boost revenue or move the bottom line will be transparent to employees, who won’t feel the need to give much in return.

As we navigate another year of remote work, we must stay committed to creating a work environment where employees feel supported, valued and accepted. Organizations that place a heightened emphasis on creating a robust company culture will have an easier time navigating this uncharted territory and come out of it with a stronger business and stronger employees, a win-win for all.

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