As the COVID pandemic has been going on for weeks now, many companies have chosen to switch to teleworking to ensure business continuity. While this transition to a new way of working has certainly represented a real technological challenge, more important than that, the challenge has been mainly cultural and human.
Indeed, with today’s technological advances, the technological transition to a telework mode is easier than ever. Thanks to the wide range of collaborative, project management and communication tools at our disposal, the technical aspect has been easier to implement. Business continuity was then quickly ensured. But as important as the operational issues are, it is just as essential not to lose sight of your most valuable asset: your team, and by team, it is especially important to understand the human aspect.
As with any change, the transition to this new way of working affects each member of your team personally, and at different levels. It is therefore more important than ever to respect the values you hold so dear and to ensure that the “human” dimension is a priority during and after the crisis.
Maintaining your corporate culture in times of crisis
Beyond the results, your corporate culture reflects your values and defines you as a company. There is no doubt that the serious crisis we are facing has put this culture to the test and has made it possible to understand the vital role it plays within your organization. The main reason is that in these difficult times it is essential to keep your team united, motivated and involved around common values: those of your company. Even through this crisis, it is important to keep a “human” face, because the way you will manage this aspect will be remembered for a long time.
Encouraging fact: many companies have understood this by keeping this “human” dimension to face this crisis and accompany their employees during these difficult times. Because yes, and especially in these times, you must know how to support your team, nurture this sense of belonging that will give them a certain form of security in these times of great uncertainty.
To take up this challenge, some companies are not lacking in ingenuity by taking advantage of all that technology has to offer to keep this cohesion, so important, within their team. At Openmind, true to our values, we support this global trend and would like to share with you our tips to help you maintain your corporate culture during this crisis.
The 10 do’s and don’ts to preserve your corporate culture
We have to admit it: it is easier to preserve this culture when everything is going well, but it is more difficult when times are hard, and it is even more difficult in this period when everyone is confined to their homes. Like it or not, this isolation has a great influence on the maintenance of your corporate culture. It is your turn to innovate and adapt to the situation by adopting the right state of mind to come out of this crisis stronger and more united than ever.
Your team is your number one asset. If during this crisis you focus a lot on operational aspects, you should not neglect to support your team in all your decisions and actions. Make your team a priority because, after all, it is with them that you will begin the recovery when this crisis comes to an end.
One of the main difficulties your team members may have difficulty managing at times like these is isolation. Regular and transparent communication can help to minimize the feeling of isolation. Most importantly, encourage each employee to follow your example by maintaining contact with each other.
Nobody likes to be left out, this is true in normal times, it is even more true in these difficult times. Show your team how much each one of them matters. For example, encourage everyone to schedule regular virtual coffee breaks with randomly selected team members. No one should feel left out.
Encourage your team to open up and share how they feel about the situation: how they are experiencing it, what their main fears are, etc. The most important thing is to give everyone the opportunity to talk and share their feelings. Your team will then be able to talk freely and support each other.
A simple “How are you? ”or a “How are things going with the family? ”will help you show that you care about your team. Likewise, lead by example by making them realize that it is just as important to take the time to disconnect and talk about things other than the office.
The idea is not to videoconference every ten minutes on an issue that can be resolved with two or three text messages. It is well understood that one mode of communication may be more appropriate than another depending on the context. However, from time to time, turn on your camera and conduct your discussions via screen. Although this will never replace a physical meeting, it will add some warmth and conviviality to your exchanges.
While much has changed during this crisis, and will likely remain as such forever, it is important to keep some of the rituals that were in place before VIDOC. If you used to have lunch together once a week, sit down at the table together and reproduce those moments from a distance. Likewise, keep your Thursday night beer nights in hand. Maintaining these convivial moments will help your team keep morale up.
Now is not the time to relax. Be creative: now more than ever, it’s important to strengthen the bond between your team. A quick look around on the internet and you will find a long list of activities to do as a group. These sessions will help everyone understand how much they belong to a great team.
We are in a situation where the personal side inevitably mixes with the professional. Parents who have to juggle work and young children, it’s not always easy. Relax the rules and build a flexible work environment where everyone can be at ease while accomplishing their tasks.
As a leader, set an example for your team and inspire them to adopt a good mindset. This is the ideal time to show by each of your actions the importance you attach to your company’s values.
Stay true to your values
The most important aspect of Human Capital is the “human” side. In these difficult times, your team is counting on you. It is more important than ever to stay true to its values and to remain united around them. Take advantage of these difficult times to become more united than ever and come out of this crisis stronger as a company, and as individuals.