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Growth · 2 August '21

How to achieve a successful company culture post-pandemic

Building a company culture can be difficult to achieve, and even harder to maintain. However, after throwing a global pandemic, furlough, remote working, and staff sickness into the mix, maintaining a happy and healthy culture gets even more complex.

Even without the challenges of the pandemic, if an organisation has both office staff and those that work remotely/on the frontline they might have found themselves with two company cultures. This ‘two tiered culture’ happens because the office staff are well connected to the company itself and can see the values, mission and culture first-hand, whereas those that work remotely or offsite unintentionally create their own culture that is separate from the ‘core values’ that are in place. This causes disconnected employees and a siloed company culture.

So, as we make tentative strides towards ‘normality’, how can organisations ensure that they have a single company culture that extends across all employees? It starts with consistent communication.

Visible values

If you ask yourself honestly, how well do your employees know your company’s core values? If you asked a member of staff to summarise your mission statement, would they be able to?

If your values, mission and goals are not clear – and aren’t shared with the entire company – then it’s unlikely that the company culture will reflect what you’d like it to be. With many workers being out of the office over the past 18 months, the daily culture that they are used to will have changed considerably. By resharing (and even re-evaluating) your company culture and goals, the organisation will be able to regroup with a fresh approach to company culture, rather than struggling to identify the culture at all. This is as simple as gathering the leadership team – and company as a whole – to agree what you want your organisation to stand for, and what goals you want to achieve.

Reaching remote employees

With many companies having remote, hybrid or off site staff, the odds of someone being left out of the loop are high. And, with approximately 50% of the population expecting more flexible working moving forward, hybrid working will likely be the dominating working structure of the future.

Reduced face-to-face communication can create an ‘out of office’/ ‘out of mind’ mentality which often leads to lower employee engagement. If left unchecked, this can impact performance, promotion, inclusion and knowledge sharing.

Whilst video calls, messaging tools can work, they are hard to measure and extract information from. It is important for businesses to find a platform that tackles the issue of visibility and gives employees a voice without the need to micromanage. This simultaneously empowers colleagues to be better connected, while also ensuring that information shared by the company is timely, detailed, and links back to the mission and values of the company.

Identify toxic cultures

June of this year saw Brewdog outed as having a damaging and ‘toxic’ company culture. The fact that an unhappy workforce had to resort to social media to get their voice heard emphasises that BrewDog’s communication is very much a top down approach. With no platform for employees to voice their opinion, it resulted in them leaving the company and/or joining and signing the open letter. Raising grievances on a public platform is undoubtedly catastrophic for a company when it comes to retaining customers and attracting new staff.

To rebuild this trust, BrewDog must reassess its mission and values and embed these into the company culture through feedback and positive reinforcement. When an employee performs well or exhibits a positive company behaviour, leaders have to recognise it. Or, even better, find a way to record it and tie it back to employee performance, progression and reward. This can be achieved via tools such as employee surveys and internal communication platforms that can pre-empt the breakdown of relationships. By recognising this early, issues can be fixed before they spiral.

Make culture count

Alongside redefining and sharing your company culture, business leaders also need to listen to, and recognise their employees. By sharing the company mission statement, connecting employees, listening to feedback, and most importantly perhaps, thanking them, organisations will make giant leaps to improve their culture and make it count right from the top down, regardless of location.