Whether they’re ready or not, companies and startups are being forced into a brand-new virtual world. Team building must now occur online, and employers need to create a positive team culture when the workplace is at an employee’s home. Now more than ever, establishing the best company culture possible is vital. Not only that, but it also needs to translate into the virtual world genuinely.
Previously, company’s reinforced their team culture every day — over lunch, during morning meetings, or in a ping pong game (if you’re lucky). How do you take those real-world scenarios online to make sure the core of your company still shines?
What is Company Culture?
Every company builds its personality around its core values, organizational behaviours, and communication style. Together, these can be loosely defined as a company’s culture. It should give any outsider looking in a general feel for what the company is like and how it functions. Company culture also lets job candidates know what to expect when applying — besides telling them you’re a great employer. It also sets a guideline for external recruitment, ensuring that each new hire is a perfect match. In this leadership blog, Mark Sanborne gives another unique perspective and definition of how company culture functions:
“Culture is a corporate immune system that protects against variance, decline, or abandonment by identifying and combating threatening forces like toxic partners, disjointed processes, and bad decisions.”
Creating Company Culture in a Virtual World
With the younger generation entering the workforce, showcasing company culture is more crucial than ever. Companies are finding that new hires focus more on what a company stands for than their salary alone. Translating in-person company culture to a digital space can ensure that both ideal candidates and current employees have a positive experience and feel. If you’re only starting, there are several ways to establish company culture online:
- Hire according to your company’s core values.
- Use communication apps, such as Teams or Slack, to help employees feel connected.
- Establish an online presence.
Sharing Your Current Company Culture Online
There are two major stumbling blocks businesses experience when going from in-office to online. The first is maintaining an in-person connection when employees no longer share the same space. The second is showing new, remote hires what your online company culture looks like. Luckily, connecting is more convenient than ever, with plenty of tools available to showcase your current culture virtually.
You can’t share your company culture if no one can see it! Using your own website is the best place to exemplify your core values. Bring your team culture to life by maintaining a blog, keeping value statements visible, establishing a culture profile page, and using relevant imagery. The use of videos, especially, is an essential tool for companies to translate their culture online. According to Phos Creative, “viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in a text.”
Videos can create tangible examples of what it feels like to be a part of your team and communicate your company’s story. Social media is also a fantastic place to show and give feeling to a company’s culture. Platforms are meant to be fun and engaging, all while reaching thousands of people in a matter of seconds.
Internally, company-wide portals can allow employees to share their own experiences. This kind of employee buy-in reinforces who you are and creates excitement to “go to work” every day. After all, people are the heartbeat of a company — their enthusiasm is the most valuable way to spread and solidify values and culture.
Virtual Culture + New Hires
When new hires come on board, they need a clear vision of what to expect and what’s expected regarding culture, values, and organizational behaviours. A straightforward layout makes joining a company virtually much more approachable. Creating and sharing onboarding materials and making values visible is easier than ever and crucial to delivering team culture directly to the new hire.
Enterprisers Project also suggests having a “welcome buddy” or virtual mentor. A welcome buddy helps ease someone into the company and backs up its core values, giving them first-hand experience of your workplace culture.
Meetings + Networking
Moving meetings online can come with many positives. Employee introductions reach farther faster, allowing them to quickly grow their network and find their place within the company. Virtual meetings also help establish the company’s tone and communication style while putting a face to each employee. It’s a simple way to keep things warm and personable.
Various channels on your communication platform also create space for employees to chat and build connections. The use of GIFs and emojis allows individuals to have a unique voice. Finally, by having regular check-ins through video, employees stay engaged with their work and company. This maintains a more positive workspace for everyone while spreading the company culture virtually!
Keeping it Positive
Lastly, one of the most fundamental ways to shift your company culture online is to make sure that all the fun parts of working in your office don’t come to a halt. Sharing wins, benchmarks, employee anniversaries, and birthdays perpetuates positivity in the virtual workplace. Moving team-building events, virtual workshops, and other educational opportunities online all keep the culture alive. As new employees come in, they’ll also see these events as reinforcement of selecting a rewarding company to work for. Making the good stuff visible online helps bring remote employees closer, so be sure to highlight the positives!