When your business is small, it is much easier to develop and maintain the culture you envisioned when you first began. Fewer people, more time together, and higher engagement all contribute to creating a culture in a new business. Growth (and a little thing called a pandemic), however, has a way of getting in the way of commitment to those good old days.
Fortunately, there are some simple and easy steps you can take during growth and crisis stages that will allow you to maintain some of those close relationships with those who work in your company. One thing to consider is this: You can do almost anything on a larger scale that you did with your smaller staff previously.
An example of this is company lunches. During these hybrid times, people are missing interaction with their office mates. Intentionally encourage times for people to plan a lunch with their regular group of lunch mates. Have one-on-one lunches online with new hires in an effort to get to know everyone and allow them to get to know you. If some staff are working in person, order lunch in and allow small groups to have a meal in a distanced manner. There’s nothing like a meal to bring people together.
Another area you can develop is teamwork. People miss working in teams. If it is possible to allow groups to collaborate on portions of projects, even where they normally wouldn’t, you are encouraging collaboration between people who probably don’t see each other much, if at all. Those working remotely may feel as though they don’t even know who works for the company anymore. Working in teams provides that human connection through new relationships with a common goal.
A third idea to incorporate might be to continue to hold employee recognition ceremonies remotely or in a hybrid scenario. This allows people to receive the kudos they have worked hard for in public. Virtual certificates just don’t cut it. People want the plaque handed to them (or delivered if needed). Send it in advance and ask them to hold it up for their peers to see when their name is announced. Encourage lots of cheering! We have all worked doubly hard in the last year. Let’s show how much we appreciate each other.
The final item on this list is one that may have the biggest impact. Offer free mental health support for anyone who is dealing with the additional stress of working remotely or facing pandemic-related difficulties. Enroll your company in an Employee Assistance Program that offers help in various forms at no charge. It may be the only way people can reach out and get the help they need. Be the hero and just do it.
Sojourn Partners is a results-driven executive leadership coaching firm that empowers the professional workforce to think differently in order to realize the full return on investment in themselves and their companies. Professional leadership thinking and intervention, based on years of research and experience, place Sojourn Partners at the forefront in executive leadership coaching, organizational development, strategic planning and culture and climate change.