The hybrid workplace has been an effective—not to mention necessary—adjustment since the advent of the pandemic, but it’s also inevitably presented a number of challenges to both employers and employees.
One of those challenges involves preserving an organization’s culture. Forbes recently cited a pandemic study by the Society for Human Resource Management finding that fully one-third of all employers reported difficulties maintaining company culture.
Which isn’t surprising.
Culture tends to develop through familiarity and proximity, two things that are often unachievable, and even at times undesirable, in what’s now a predominately decentralized, and often disconnected, environment.
Organizational Culture in the New Hybrid Workplace Reality
But it’s a challenge that many organizations must now embrace; Forbes has also cited yet another finding of the same study: 72% of business leaders now expect some sort of hybrid model to continue to be the prevailing norm.
This article isn’t necessarily about strategies for organizations to maintain a unique culture; there are any number of approaches for achieving that, and many can be employed simultaneously.
These approaches include everything from traditional office-based displays (such as in conference rooms and lobbies), to website and intranet communications, to incentives and rewards tied to performances exemplifying core values.
This post will focus instead on some of the opportunities that organizations can seize to promote and reassert their values.
Here are just five that you should be attuned to for their potential for highlighting and advancing your organization’s culture.
The most obvious anniversary celebration is that of the company or organization itself, but that doesn’t have to be the extent of your focus—especially given that the topic here is furthering and promoting your culture. You could, for instance, see an appropriate opportunity in the anniversary of a mentorship program your company offers; a special internship, or pro bono program, or its support of, or involvement with, a certain charitable cause or group. Again, the focus should be on highlighting values.
Here again, organizational milestones present opportunities beyond the ones that might immediately come to mind. Yes, the attainment of a revenue or new user goal can go a long way in solidifying your position as a market leader, something that shouldn’t be discounted and may be central to your company or organization’s values. But there are other milestones that can also signify values that are likely ones your organization also prizes. The introduction of a new product, for instance, can be held up as an example of your organization’s commitment to innovation; or a new drug brought to market might, on the other hand, exemplify your firm’s awareness of, and commitment to, underserved patient communities.
- Third-Party Honors
Among other things, social media has driven home the power and sway of third-party endorsements. Your organization’s selection as among the Best Places to Work, or Best Companies for Women, etc. is something that really speaks to the heart of your culture.
As mentioned above, defining and promoting organizational culture is something you will undoubtedly set about in a variety of ways. Desktop displays, which can be for both home and office use, are a proven way of celebrating these kinds of accolades.
- Training & Mentoring
It probably isn’t news to you that one particular challenge uniquely posed by the pandemic is in the area of training and mentoring.
Here again, this is an area where proximity, familiarity, routine—all things that the pandemic has undermined—have historically been the cornerstones for passing along professional and institutional knowledge.
Fortunately, a variety of strategies for facilitating mentorship in a hybrid environment. Those are beyond the scope of this post, but there is a relevant point here. The heightened significance of mentorship and training clearly makes it a critical area for organizational recognition. If you don’t have a formal mentorship program in place, you may want to consider one, and one which provides for some form of recognition for top contributors.
- Redefined Values
Perhaps the greatest immediate spur to promoting values is that those values have actually changed, or need to be revised. The pandemic has caused many organizations to reassess their attitude toward an array of issues, including flexible hours, and working from home, to name just a few. For that very reason, you may want to revise your organization’s stated values to reflect the new realities of the hybrid workplace.
One Approach to Sustaining Company Values
There are, again, any number of approaches to the challenge of upholding company values in an increasingly hybrid work environment. Most likely, you and your organization will find the most success through a combination of strategies.
At The Corporate Presence, we’ve been helping organizations of all kinds effectively promote their values for over 40 years. Our particular approach comes in the form of (primarily) highly visible and customized desktop displays, typically of crystal and Lucite. They could very well provide a successful component of a strategy for your organization as well. Reach out to us to get more information on possible ideas and designs.