Category All, Best Practices 5 Essential Steps for Creating A Strong Workplace Culture Learn what are the essential steps to implement and maintain a strong workplace culture for your remote and in-office employees. July 1, 2021 By Sara Ana Cemazar Strong workplace culture is not easy to create or maintain. However, the task is even harder if employees work remotely, which will become a reality for many companies after 2020. Remote work and hybrid work models are designed to ensure more flexibility to employees, but they still bring on some challenges. One of those challenges is maintaining a strong workplace culture without having a physical workplace where employees meet, collaborate in person, and engage in small talk. In this article, you will find out how we define workplace culture and what are its 4 archetypes. Most importantly, you will find out what are quick tips that can help you strengthen your remote and hybrid workplace culture. 📙 Before you start, read why employee communication is essential for company success – especially if your teams work remote! What is Workplace Culture Workplace culture can be described as a character of your company. It is the collection of values your employees uphold and behaviours they display, traditions, attitudes, and more. Not only is it observable in the way your employees interact with each other, but also in the way they talk to customers. There are many aspects of a company’s workplace culture. This is exactly why it is a mistake to let it form as a coincidence. On the contrary, it is best to first define the workplace culture and then derive it into your policies, mission statement, guidelines, and other informal practices. 4 Types of Workplace Culture As mentioned before, workplace culture is not easy to define nor to grasp. However, there are 4 defined workplace culture styles that are often referred to as distinct extremes. Your workplace culture probably has elements of at least two of these types. Find out what are advantages and disadvantages of each workplace culture type, and think about how they relate to your dispersed workforce. Clan workplace culture As its name says, clan workplace culture focuses on its members. It is typical for small startups and family run businesses, and its main traits are interpersonal relationships, collaboration, and communication. Advantages: Strong, tight-knit teams Embracing change Focusing on employee happiness Disadvantages: Lacks strong leadership Lack of set-up rules Adhocracy workplace culture The adhocracy workplace culture describes companies that take pride in competition – its employees take risks, are highly innovative, and are very agile. It differs from the clan culture in its focus on individuals and what they bring to the table, and its emphasis on the future. Advantages: Rewards good ideas Very supporting of individual employee development Flexibility Disadvantages: Can increase competition among coworkers Can lead to heightened stress and endanger employee wellbeing Market workplace culture This type of workplace culture is probably the most aggressive one. Its main focus is the results – and everything is oriented towards achieving the previously set goals. Moreover, its main traits are close monitoring of employee productivity, chasing targets, and tight deadlines. Advantages: Driving exceptional results and maximizing profits Encouraging professional growth and development Strong leadership and engaged management Disadvantages: Heightened risk of employee burnout Poor collaboration among coworkers Can negatively affect employee morale Hierarchy workplace culture As its name says, hierarchy culture type values ranking and chain of command. It is the most traditional out of these four types, and it focuses on efficiency and organization. In comparison to market type, it favours steady growth over exceptional results in terms of revenue. Advantages: Sense of security Clear sets of rules and directions Stable environment Disadvantages: Frequently offers no freedom for creativity or innovation Inflexible What Impacts Workplace Culture This is an issue that can be observed from many points. There are multiple intertwined influences to workplace culture, but in this section we will try to stick to the most important ones – starting from the top to the bottom. 📙 As you will find out, management is crucial for strong workplace culture – even more so if employees are remote. Before you continue, read more about best management styles to use in the workplace. Leadership It is probably not surprising that leadership is important to workplace culture. Regardless of the culture type, organizations rely on their leaders in times of crisis, and they serve as role models when it comes to behaviour, work ethics, etc. However, this is where we encounter lots of discrepancy. Even though 94% of executives believe that a distinct workplace culture is crucial to business success and 92% of CEOs believe their organizations are empathetic, only 50% of employees confirm that their CEO is indeed empathetic. Lack of understanding can decrease employee motivation and lead to employee dissatisfaction, which is exactly the reason why leaders should take note to be in touch with their employees more. Management Workers’ direct managers will largely impact their employee experience. Did you know that more than 70% of employees said that micromanagement interfered with their job performance, and 69% considered changing jobs because of micromanagement? These devastating stats only prove the impact that a manager can have to the workplace culture. Moreover, direct management is usually responsible for enforcing practices like frequent recognition and regular employee feedback, which are some of the most important aspects of healthy workplace culture. 📙 Find out what are the 5 positive feedback examples you can give to your employees or coworkers. Work colleagues It is no secret that the office vibe and workplace culture are determined by the people you work with. This is why it is important to check employees’ cultural fitness before hiring them. Moreover, SHRM reports that peer-to-peer recognition makes 90% of employees more satisfied with their work. However, it is not enough to look for cultural fit and let employees develop relationships naturally. This is almost impossible in a remote work atmosphere! Therefore, you should organize hang out sessions, clubs with specific interests, or just casual one-on-one meetings so your employees get to know their colleagues better. Work policies and atmosphere Some work policies heavily influence workplace culture – for example, hybrid work policy, or unlimited PTO policy. On the other hand, work atmosphere can be either friendly, supportive, competitive, or even toxic – and as such, it will heavily influence how employees feel and behave. Employee communication It is essential to communicate easily and efficiently when working remote or hybrid. However, one fifth of remote employees still says that communication and collaboration are their biggest struggles. When your employees are not sharing the same physical space, they miss out on watercooler talks, birthday cakes, and other spontaneous events that definitely add to workplace culture. Because of that, you need to ensure clear communication channels that will enable employees to efficiently talk to each other, their managers, HR and other personas from the company. Check out these resources to help you reinforce employee communication best practices. 📙 Creative ideas for employee newsletter 📙 How to create and implement internal communications strategy 📙 Benefits, methods and best practices of employee communication How to Create A Strong Remote Workplace Culture There are more ways to create and maintain a strong remote workplace culture, but these are the 5 most important ones. Strong remote workplace culture is not easy to build, but adhering to these areas will ensure a positive working experience and supportive environment. Here are the five steps to follow when creating a strong remote workplace culture. Cover the basics Your employees working from home brings its own set of challenges – including inadequate office space, poor chairs, and lack of equipment. This is why you should offer reimbursement for essentials such as laptops, office desks, chairs, etc. Communicate: surveys, feedback, and recognition The power of employee communication cannot be overstated when it comes to building remote workplace culture. You need to enable continuous feedback practices, make sure that employees receive and give recognition, and conduct regular employee surveys. Enable employee development Even though your employees work remotely, they still want to advance professionally and build their careers. Dissatisfaction with the way they grow can lead employees to quit, and can lead to a poor workplace atmosphere. Make sure you create individual employee development plans for all your employees. Establish remote work policies Creating a set of rules to follow will make it easier for employees to work remotely, and it will contribute to a more relaxed workplace culture. Therefore, establish guidelines for flexibility, time off, reporting and other. Organize online and live get-togethers Online gaming sessions, happy hours or random one-on-ones are a great way for employees to meet their colleagues. However, do not forget the power of meeting in person! If you can, try to organize live team buildings for your workforce at least once per year. Finally, it would be impossible to create and maintain a good remote workplace culture without the many digital tools. Check out our employee experience suite and find out how it can assist you in increasing employee satisfaction, retention, and improving your organization’s workplace culture.