By Jordan Quigley, North American Vice President, Robert Half
When I hear managers and leaders talk about how remote work is eroding strong organizational cultures, I encourage them to take another look.
As I mentor employees and talk with business leaders in this new age of virtual workplaces, it’s become clear that remote work offers unique opportunities to strengthen teams and cultures while improving productivity.
First, a willingness to embrace remote and hybrid work demonstrates to employees that the company is prepared to face change with a flexible, innovative mindset. It also shows a commitment to transparency, accountability and self-sufficiency.
Remote work often forces an enterprise to improve communication across all levels of the organization. And employees are likely to interpret flexible work policies as reflecting the company’s sense of compassion and goodwill. These are all signals of a people-centered culture.
Organizational culture is critical because employees who feel engaged and invigorated at work are likelier to stay — and prosper — even at a distance. But companies need to be intentional about it.
There are three simple, everyday ways to show your employees they are a valued and essential to the organization — and they don’t need to be in the same building to benefit. In general:
- Take an interest in your employees’ career goals.
- Emphasize their well-being and mental health.
- Invest in their futures.
Keep in mind that when you and your team are physically distanced all or part of the time, managing their day-to-day employee experience can be challenging.
In a recent Robert Half survey, employers cited effective collaboration as one of the top challenges of managing hybrid teams. They also listed trusting employees to get work done and offering equal opportunities for professional growth and social interactions.
Building strong connections with remote workers requires you to establish a company culture that prioritizes your remote and hybrid workers with enhanced communication, recognition of their accomplishments, clear goals and expectations, and strong bonds.
Here are some additional tips for creating a work culture that fully engages your remote workers.
Intentionally develop your remote work culture
Organizational culture is a make-or-break factor in recruiting and retaining top talent. The work environment you create and promote will drive job satisfaction.
A successful remote work culture empowers permanent and contract professionals to expand their skill sets and advance in their careers. It also establishes a layer of trust — trust that you’ll clarify the expectations of their job by showing, not just telling, and that they’ll successfully accomplish their work.
Support their successes
To take an interest in the career advancement of your remote workforce, you need to invest in their professional development and affirm your commitment to their growth. Here are some ways to do that:
- Hold regular one-on-one remote meetings to build a connection virtually.
- Talk to remote employees about their career aspirations to assess what skills and training may be in order.
- Help them identify their strengths and passions and use that to develop a career path.
- Encourage them to seek mentorship opportunities, enroll in career development courses or training programs, and get a certification or license, if it is useful.
- Understand that what’s going on outside of work for your employees is important, so ask what flexibility they require.
- Provide the technology tools and resources they need to do their best work virtually.
- Discuss the vision and needs of the organization and the part they play in it.
- Enlist the help of a talent solutions firm to fill gaps in the workforce, temporarily or permanently, to prevent overwork and burnout of your teams.
It’s a new era of work. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to building your virtual work culture, but it’s worth the investment if you can motivate and recognize your teams, spurring them to thrive at your organization — and beyond.
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