The pandemic has dramatically changed the way we work, leading to the rise of hybrid workplace models and flexible work policies. With more employees working from home or remotely, businesses face a unique challenge—building and sustaining a strong corporate culture in a hybrid environment. McKinsey’s research shows that companies with a solid hybrid work culture achieve a three times higher return to shareholders, whereas 70% of business transformations fail due to culture-related challenges. Even more important, companies that don’t encourage a sense of belonging at work may face issues of underperformance, alienation, and burnout among employees.
Discovering the key ingredients to creating a strong hybrid company culture is imperative for success, as it seems to be the key to fostering camaraderie, collaboration, and creativity. But how do leaders and companies cultivate a constructive culture when people aren’t in the office together? Read on to explore the best practices and tips for building a strong company culture in a hybrid environment.
The Power of a Strong Organizational Culture
Gone are the days when corporate culture was an afterthought. Today, it is widely acknowledged that company culture matters and has a tangible impact on financial performance. The changing labor demands in recent years, culminating in the Great Resignation of 2022, has made it clear that workers can choose where they work. In this landscape, companies need to prioritize creating a thoughtful and meaningful culture to retain their top talent. A strong company culture not only motivates employees to perform but also ensures they feel valued and heard, leading to better engagement and retention rates.
Camaraderie in the Clouds: The Challenges
Though hybrid work has its challenges, the most significant hurdles include the following:
- Poor productivity due to insufficient tools
- Decreased collaboration and teamwork
- Disrupted workflows
- Feelings of isolation from company culture
Companies should evaluate their processes, from onboarding to project management, to create a strong camaraderie in a remote work environment with employee well-being in mind.
Tips for Building Culture in a Hybrid Workplace
To build a positive culture in a hybrid work setting, consider implementing these five practical ideas:
Focus on culture and mission. In today’s job market, company culture, mission, and purpose are more important than ever. According to a Glassdoor survey, nearly 80% of job seekers evaluate these factors when deciding where to apply. A well-defined mission statement is crucial to company performance, especially in a hybrid workplace. A strong sense of purpose gives employees a reason to come to work each day and motivates them to do their best. Managers should highlight company values in marketing collateral and team meetings.
Create opportunities for socialization in the hybrid workplace. When the pandemic hit, many leaders feared that remote work would hinder employee connections. Companies responded by trying to recreate in-person experiences virtually, like virtual happy hours. However, socialization can happen digitally by adapting to employees’ preferred communication methods. Encourage Slack or Teams channels for non-work topics and recognize employee achievements. Host engaging activities that encourage interaction and build community. Organizing virtual gaming sessions can also bring the team together for some friendly competition.
Encourage healthy debate when navigating conflicts. Successful corporate cultures do not avoid conflict but rather address it productively. The ability to discuss and debate differing viewpoints is crucial, but conflicts may not be handled as effectively with remote teams. Problems may be ignored or blown out of proportion due to a lack of communication. Leaders and team members must recognize potential differences in a hybrid workplace and encourage healthy, respectful disagreement to promote innovative thinking. Protocols for conflict resolution and differences of opinion are essential.
Spotlight visibility and transparency. In today’s landscape, transparency is necessary to foster a healthy work culture and keep employees engaged. To encourage transparency in your organization, make sure to implement digital workflows to track project progress and setbacks, establish an open employee communication network for feedback, leverage video conferencing to host meetings, and host regular check-ins and updates. Lastly, create digital repositories for essential employee resources, including training materials and performance reviews.
Prioritize diversity and inclusiveness. DEI efforts are crucial for building a fair and successful workforce. McKinsey found that companies that prioritize DEI see improvements in employee engagement, retention, and revenue. To support DEI, hire diverse talent, include them in decision-making, and ensure workplace processes offer equal opportunities.
Wrapping It Up: Embracing Change
Developing a thriving hybrid work culture requires a deliberate approach. Though creating a flourishing company culture in a hybrid work environment may pose challenges, it’s achievable through effective communication, collaboration, and relationship building. It’s essential to understand that maintaining a positive culture requires effort and intentionality, as there is no automatic formula for success. Despite the increased difficulty, the benefits of creating a robust hybrid work culture will be well worth investing time and resources.
Need help finding the right fit for your company’s open positions? Let InVista help.