The past two years have been packed with challenges for businesses. The pandemic brought about a sense of urgency for remote work, and employers and employees had to shift to a new way of life rapidly.
Now, while the pandemic’s effects are still being felt in many ways, people are still looking forward to thriving in the environment we’re in presently.
For employers, it’s time to stop living in emergency mode and instead start to think about how they can move forward innovatively. It’s impossible to have innovation without an engaged, productive workforce that feels connected to their employer, even if they’re working remotely.
With that in mind, the following are tips for building an effective workplace culture in our current world, whether your employees are returning to the office, are working a hybrid schedule, or are working remotely.
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Don’t Overlook Traditional Methods of Building Culture
One fun way to build company culture, even when your business and work environment might not look like it once did, is to go back to the basics. For example, send your employees custom company swag to celebrate the new year. Company gear tends to help promote a sense of unity and shared vision.
You’re also showing that you’re thinking about your employees and investing in them.
We tend to want to reinvent the wheel so much when it comes to business leadership that we can overlook the simplest options right in front of us.
Invest in Opportunities for Professional Development
One of the biggest things that diminished in the workplace and caused a slide in corporate culture and employee retention is the opportunity for advancement and development. Understandably, employers wouldn’t be thinking as much about professional development with businesses in survival mode and most people shifting from in-office to remote work.
You need to understand that fostering a growth mindset is very important for the success of your business organization. This can be achieved by encouraging your employees to continuously upgrade their professional skills through training courses and other certifications. Over a period, you will see a much more mature workforce that is more productive and efficient in dispensing their day-to-day functions.
What’s happening is that great employees are leaving their employer because they feel there’s a lack of opportunities or they’re being overlooked.
Now is the time to show your employees you value them and that you believe they have a future within the business.
Invest now in personal and professional development for your current employees.
This will cultivate employee loyalty, but there are other benefits as well. We’re in what many are calling the Great Resignation. Employees are leaving their employer in large numbers, and they’re not returning.
A lot of this is because employees feel like they may be able to find better opportunities elsewhere, and it’s up to you to hold onto them.
Plus, when you develop your employees, you can promote from within, saving time and money.
Rethink Your Meetings
Whether your employees work remotely or not, if you were to poll them, they would very likely tell you that meetings are one of the things they dread most about their job. Despite employees telling employers they hate meetings, there’s this nagging sense on the part of employers to keep up with them.
If you want to strengthen your culture, rethink your meetings.
Make sure every single meeting has a clearly-defined purpose. Ensure that you have objectives you want to achieve every time you hold a meeting, in person or virtually. Ask yourself whether or not an email could do the job of the meeting.
When you’re having meetings, there are certain best practices to follow if you decide they are necessary.
First, include only the most relevant people on the team rather than an entire team. Have an agenda for each meeting, and let participants know what it is ahead of time. Set aside a period of time for the meeting and don’t go over.
While meetings are problematic, having one-on-one face time with your employees is beneficial. Think about adding more of this because this is how employees know that they’re being seen and appreciated.
You can schedule regular one-on-one video chats with your employees if you’re working remotely.
If You Aren’t Providing Flexibility, Now’s the Time to Start
One of the many factors leading to the Great Resignation is the fact that along with better opportunities, employees want more flexibility in how they work. If employers aren’t willing to give it, they’ve shown they can and will leave.
Your culture will thrive the more flexible you can become.
Not only will you create a positive, productive culture for your current employees, but when you offer flexible work environments, it’s going to be a powerful recruiting tool.
There’s nothing as frustrating for a new employee as feeling like they don’t know what to do. This problem tends to worsen with remote work, because a new employee might feel like there’s no point person to go to or guide them to get started.
Use 2022 as the year that you standardize as many processes as you can, starting with onboarding.
Consider Offering a Modernized Wellness Program
The idea of the employee wellness program became popularized around a decade ago, but it perhaps wasn’t as consequential as employers hoped.
This is a good year to rethink the wellness program or start one if you haven’t already.
You need to have the needs of the modern employee and workplace in mind, however.
You want to think about things like isolation and emotional well-being, which are significant issues for employees right now. You want to create opportunities for physical activity and stress relief that work in a hybrid environment.
When you have a wellness program, it will benefit your culture in a few key ways.
First, you’re showing that you prioritize both the physical and mental well-being of your employees. That’s a show of appreciation that promotes a positive culture.
You’re also going to be helping reduce burnout among your employees when you let them know prioritizing self-care is key.
You can do a lot in 2022 to make sure that you’re building a resilient culture where employees feel happy and appreciated.