Keeping Company Culture Alive in the Hybrid Era
With recent analysis by Forbes showing that having highly engaged employees can lead to a 202% increase in performance, many business leaders are looking for ways in which to keep company culture alive and employees engaged in the era of hybrid working.
The foundation of a successful business, company culture has been shown to directly impact employee engagement and retention rates, making it a top priority for business leads in today’s highly competitive labour market. Much more than an industry buzzword, company culture requires organisations to ask the right questions and encourage open honest dialogue. Below we will look at the current landscape and then how technology can help organisations keep their culture alive.
Culture in the Hybrid Landscape
Company Culture is defined as the system of beliefs, values, experiences, and physical traits that a business cultivates, all of which shape the way employees and customers view and experience the company through its various touchpoints. However, some of the aspects of working life that helped build strong company culture such as water cooler chats and coffee breaks have been lost in the post Covid era with 60% of employers implementing hybrid working models.
Some recent statistics found in a recent Work Trends Index indicate a breakdown of team spirit, with 44% saying new ways of working have made it difficult to build trust with colleagues and 33% saying team culture had deteriorated and they felt lonelier. Furthermore 37% said hybrid working made it difficult to be innovative, while 23% admitted to feeling removed from company culture and senior leadership.
Cause for Optimism
Despite these worrying statistics, opportunity exists for those organisations willing to invest in understanding and enhancing their existing workplace culture with 59% of Irish workers placing the most value on a positive working culture. By viewing the Great Resignation as an opportunity to re-evaluate company culture, organisations can re-invigorate their workforce and transform customer experience across all touchpoints.
The success of a company culture comes down to two things. The sense of connection and values. While internal work must be done to ensure authenticity of company values and clarity of communications, technology can play a vital role in fostering company culture.
The Role of Technology
With company culture built on the premise of connecting with one another, technology enables organisations to form these connections regardless of physical location. As technology supports culture, especially in remote and hybrid environments, emphasis should be placed on strengthening communication, creating shared meaning, and re-enforcing company values.
To help nurture organisational culture, communication platforms such as Yammer have started to grow in prominence as organisations are looking to encourage more natural communications between colleagues rather than formulaic emails traditionally associated with corporate communications. Microsoft Yammer provides a social feed for your organisation, encouraging authentic engagement and creating two-way conversations between employees and the business. Similarly, Microsoft Teams, a platform that has grown from strength to strength during the Covid era, has seen the addition of new functionalities and features, with these developments focused on enhancing communications in a remote and hybrid landscape. However, like everything, these solutions are only useful if your employees use them on a regular basis.
Driving User Adoption
One way of driving user adoption is to deploy and implement a Change Management process to help your employees embrace modern technologies and platforms. As technology only achieves its desired goals if people adopt it, it is vital to maximise adoption and minimize resistance. To align employees with the business vision for how these technologies should be used to foster company culture.
Where technology initiatives have been hampered by resistance in the past or where concerns over adoption exist, it might be worth considering working with a change management team to upskill your leadership team on best practice change management and to support the overall change initiative. By working with your employees on technology adoption, your organisation not only maximizes return on investment but demonstrates the open and inclusive traits of a positive working culture.
To find out more about the importance of company culture and how Microsoft Technologies can support your organisation in strengthening culture in a hybrid business landscape, register now for our webinar “Combatting the Great Resignation”, where Storm and Microsoft solution specialists take you through the role of Yammer, Teams and Microsoft Viva in establishing a strong company culture.