The rise in hybrid working means building a strong workplace culture is even more critical in 2022. In this blog post we share our top tips for refreshing and strengthening your culture – whether your staff are in the office or at home.
Office culture is not the responsibility of just one person, but teams will naturally look to people in a leadership role and take their cultural cues from them. In a hybrid setting, leaders don’t have the same natural opportunities to share these cues that they had before. They will therefore need to be proactive about finding opportunities to engage with their teams.
Different solutions will work for different teams – but here are some ideas you could try to build and reinforce your culture:
- All company meetings – a great way to bring teams together and encourage collaboration. All staff meetings can be a powerful way to share company values and celebrate successes. As COVID restrictions relax, these can take place in person with the proper precautions.
- Team meetings – smaller gatherings of staff can be a useful way of collecting feedback and discussing issues. Many businesses are now holding these in person, but team meetings can work well online with key protocols (see below).
- Casual gatherings – sometimes, taking some time away from the workplace can be just the thing to strengthen your culture! Enjoy spending time with your colleagues and get to know them as people, rather than team members.
- Q&A sessions – a space for staff to ask questions can be a good way to build an open and honest culture. You could do this in person or allow people to submit questions anonymously if you prefer.
- Internal communications – engaging with your team doesn’t necessarily have to be done in person or over a video call. A weekly email or pre-recorded video to the business can help staff to feel immersed in the company culture.
It might seem like a small thing, but how many times have you thought ‘this meeting could be an email’. Meeting fatigue is real and can negatively impact a company’s culture. In fact, low meeting engagement is one of the top three warning signs your remote culture isn’t working. Help beat this by developing efficient protocols for meetings that set expectations for the entire business:
- Hybrid friendly – going forward, it’s likely that most meetings will be hybrid, with people attending in person and online. Practice active listening and hand raising to help everybody feel engaged.
- Watch the clock – Keep meetings focused and don’t run over the agreed time. Following a meeting agenda and being clear about what you want to achieve in the session can really help.
- Consider your invite list – it sounds obvious but only invite people who need to be there! Send your agenda out in advance so invitees can make an informed decision about whether they are needed and can properly prepare.
- Say cheese – create clear expectations for on-camera participation. Sometimes being able to see faces and read reactions can really help – but if the meeting doesn’t need active discussion, it might not be necessary.
The competition to recruit talented people is fierce at the moment. Culture and fit will be big factors for new hires when selecting a company to work for – so make sure you put your culture at the forefront of your recruitment. This is particularly important if your recruitment process is taking place online as potential employees won’t get to ‘feel’ the office culture for themselves by visiting.
Once you’ve recruited, developing an onboarding process that introduces your workplace culture and integrates new staff is essential:
- Mix it up – ensure each new employee gets some one-on-one time with people from across the business. This will give them a rounded view of the culture.
- Map it out – help new hires to understand the structure of the company, how their work fits into the bigger picture of the businesses and their potential career path/s.
- Keep it casual – take some time to get to know new employees on a personal level. Arrange a social gathering or lunch with other members of the team to build relationships and trust.
- Materials and mentors – provide culture resources to help employees start practicing the culture on their own. This could be a company handbook or access to a mentor for example.
In a nutshell, culture is key! And as the world of work changes, it’s never been so important. Prioritise your workplace culture in 2022 and try our top tips for improved recruitment, retention and employee happiness.