Personio’s Nina Rogler shares her advice for companies that want to keep employees connected even when they’re dispersed or working remotely.
Despite the gradual return of workers to the office since the pandemic, it is clear that the nine-to-five office life is a relic of the past for many companies. Yet as we get in the swing of remote and hybrid working as the norm, these new ways of working – which certainly bring many benefits – are also presenting newfound challenges for organisations that have historically built their culture and kept teams connected by having them physically together in the office.
We know that many people and companies have embraced the advantages of remote or hybrid working – giving people more flexibility and improving work-life balance. However, Personio’s latest research suggests that fully remote workers in particular may feel less connected and loyal to their companies and be more likely to leave. Indeed, 53pc of remote workers in the UK and Ireland said they plan to leave their jobs in the next 12 months, compared to 30pc of hybrid workers.
This demonstrates how crucial it is for companies to ensure that wherever their workforce is based – in the office, hybrid, remotely or working across offices in different cities or countries – they feel connected with their colleagues, part of a team, and are aligned on common goals and values. In this new world of working, strengthening and maintaining company culture is more important than ever.
Keeping employees engaged
So how can companies create great company cultures that help employees to thrive and be productive, wherever people are working? The first step is to assess the company’s values – making sure that these values inspire a positive and connected working environment.
Then, we need to make sure these values are being communicated throughout the business, running like a golden thread through the company. It’s this that forms the basis of a unified company culture. Does everyone in the company, from leadership down to entry-level workers, know what these values are and work to meet them? Are new hires made aware of these values in the recruitment and onboarding process?
It can be a challenge to embed such a strong company culture and set of values across a workforce that’s dispersed across various locations, or even time zones, and it’s even harder when the company is one that’s growing quickly. Therefore, businesses need to be innovative and creative when re-thinking how to approach improving company culture in the context of hybrid and remote working.
Personio has offices across several European countries and has experienced this challenge first hand. That’s why in 2021, it launched its All Company Culture Week. This involved bringing 750 employees from across our European offices together in Munich, in order to reaffirm our culture and grow together. As the company had doubled in size, it was an amazing opportunity for many of the team to meet for the first time, or reconnect with friends after nearly two years.
This was an incredibly successful event and a survey conducted afterwards found that 93pc of employees felt more connected to their colleagues after the week – so successful we did it again in 2022, this time with 1,500 Personios!
Other companies have also come up with initiatives that are excellent examples of maintaining company culture while facilitating a mix of hybrid and remote working. For example, Google set up ‘fireside chats’ whereby all team members on calls are given an individual screen, to replicate a ‘seat’. This facilitates equal participation between the team, fostering engagement and that feeling of a company culture.
It is evident that businesses must adapt to the new ways of working to maintain connected teams. Creating innovative initiatives to bolster company culture is an excellent way to do this.
By Nina Rogler
Nina Rogler is people experience manager at HR tech company Personio.
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