Lilit Davtyan is the CEO of Phonexa, an all-in-one marketing solution for calls, leads, clicks, email, SMS, accounting and more.
For many domestic and international businesses, hybrid work environments are now the new norm, even as pandemic restrictions ease. With fully in-office staff a thing of the past for many, companies are faced with the task of fostering collaboration and unity among employees no longer housed in a single location. This task presents a unique challenge for businesses across the world. How can organizations foster a corporate culture in a hybrid work environment?
As CEO of a company that provides marketing automation solutions, I have firsthand experience working with team members from across the globe. We have remote staff, employees located in our California headquarters and international offices throughout Europe.
From my experience, there are three effective methods for fostering unity and corporate culture among in-office and remote employees.
Structure teams accordingly to avoid micromanaging.
If you have a hybrid work environment in which teams are working remotely, you have to give those teams the ability to structure as they see fit. You can’t structure teams based on if team members are in-office or work from home.
Keep remote teams on task without micromanaging. If you have a leadership hierarchy structured for remote employees, then decide who is going to be responsible for relaying specific information to the company. If you have a senior manager or director who manages the team remotely, they will be responsible for getting all the information gathered from their remote team, but in-office leadership will be responsible for asking them to give consistent recaps of everything that’s happening.
They must also be available to jump on calls in case anything significant comes up. This can be structured in a variety of ways: a huddle session every morning with the senior management team or perhaps a weekly recap that they send depending on how many people and tasks there are. Based on the weekly recap, you can meet once or twice a week on the phone to ensure everything is on task. If you provide the right resources, all performances can be tracked without micromanaging.
Keep team culture intact.
When your company has a hybrid work environment in which one, two or even five people out of 100 work remotely, that creates more obstacles to establishing a culture within a department since those are individual people in different positions who need to be able to work in a way that satisfies the company. It also limits what you as a company can do for them.
Keep remote employees engaged with in-office staff by delegating those responsibilities to the individual department heads. For instance, if the marketing department has a remote employee, I would refrain from telling the CMO how to manage and keep in contact with that employee. Such interference might damage the dynamics within the marketing department since every department has a culture unique to its team that includes methods of communication.
Organizations can also maintain a fun and collaborative team culture outside of the work environment. Through one of my company’s initiatives, we’ve fostered the team dynamic by participating in fundraisers, collecting donations for community relief efforts and helping out on Habitat for Humanity worksites. Team-oriented community service is a win-win because it strengthens the bonds within your organization while giving back to the community.
Acknowledge your team by rewarding their efforts.
At my company, we do a lot for employees in the office because we like to promote a culture of team-building through learning together and engaging in teamwide activities. But we can’t do that if all employees are not in the office.
Therefore, we cover travel expenses to bring employees who work abroad or remotely to our headquarters as often as possible to participate in team-building activities and social events. For employees who cannot travel or are not comfortable doing so, you can also provide catered lunches and employee appreciation PTO so they can feel included in activities they cannot physically participate in.
Every department head within an organization has to figure out how to engage each of their team members—remote or in-office—in order to foster cohesion and keep department culture intact. Doing so will also greatly benefit the company’s culture as a whole.
My advice to department heads is to continue to employ different methods for interacting with all of their employees. Facetiming with remote and in-office teams, updating them on the latest developments and sharing ideas on how to celebrate company achievements are just a few ways to foster a corporate culture within a hybrid organization. You can also consider adopting a wellness program to encourage self-care practices.
As long as the intent of uniting your team is evident, your team will respond by functioning as a cohesive unit.