How Do You Build a Positive Culture in a Radically Altered Workplace?
Managers have gone from a pre-COVID world — where they spent much of their day working and interacting with their teams in person — to struggling to survive back-to-back online meetings most days. Previously, staff could just walk up to a manager to ask a simple question. Now they could spend half an hour on a call to do the same thing.
To complicate things further, many organizations have experienced rapid hiring as well as staff turnover the past two years. This makes it vital to have an onboarding and management strategy that’s fit for today’s workplace.
How can organizations create an efficient hybrid or remote work environment? How can they foster a culture that’s positive, flexible, and effective?
Our Vice President of Product Marketing Zachary Bosin recently joined a fireside chat to hash out these timely issues. The event was hosted by Joshua B. Lee and Rachel B. Lee, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, respectively, of the marketing services firm StandOut Authority.
Fully Integrate Newcomers
The shift to a hybrid or fully remote setup has been such a big transformation for many organizations that it required a new approach to managing teams, particularly when integrating new members. Bosin believes managers need to ensure that everyone knows each other and works together, which requires more than just having regular meetings.
“If you really want people to be successful and create a sustainable experience at your company, then I feel like the right onboarding — where they create a network and get the right domain knowledge to do their job — is critical. If you don’t do that, I think you’re setting yourself up for future issues where you don’t know who [an employee] is.”
Joshua B. Lee agrees, adding that new hires must get a chance to have conversations that enable them to build ties within their organizations because “relationships create opportunity.”
Failure to fully integrate new employees and help them connect with others can create silos, particularly in medium-sized and large enterprises.
“You have the engineering team doing one thing, the product team doing another, the marketing team and sales team running in different directions,” says Bosin. “You lose that cohesion, that really tight-knit kind of strategy and alignment.”
Aside from enabling newcomers to create relationships, organizations must take an approach “that will get [new hires] onboarded and up and running as quickly as you possibly can in a fully virtual format.”
Have More Meaningful Conversations
If new employees are struggling, Bosin recommends having more interactions with them.
“You need to invest in perhaps a more regular cadence of meetings that are focused not just on tactical projects, but more big-picture items.”
Meetings should be more engaging, adds Rachel B. Lee.
“Have conversations around, ‘How are things going? What is challenging you? Where do you want to go from here?’”
Take Advantage of Tools, But Don’t Overdo It
As managers continue to navigate the challenges of their new work environment, Bosin believes they will struggle if they don’t fully use the tools at their disposal.
“I 100% agree,” says Joshua B. Lee, “because you can’t inspire the workplace, everyone around you, if you’re not actually embracing those aspects that you’re asking them to embrace.”
It’s important not to overdo adoption. With so many communication and collaboration solutions out there, it’s easy to “go crazy over these products,” notes Bosin.
“If you can find the right kit, the right set of tools for your team and organization, you do have the opportunity to transform your organization from a productivity standpoint — and be successful in a hybrid environment.”
Bosin recommends using messaging tools that help employees collaborate with their teams at different times and locations, such as Slack. He believes these tools are more powerful than email.
“That’s where work happens. That’s what gets you out of back-to-back meetings and out of reading long emails that are impossible to penetrate.”
Meet up in Person Every Now and Then
Acknowledging that it’s a challenge to be 100% remote all the time, Bosin believes it’s important for teams to get together periodically.
“[You need to] weave into your communication strategy that ‘we’re going to be remote, remote, remote,’ and then maybe we’re going to do face to face, and then we’re going to figure out how to do things best. You’ve got to give everyone plenty of time to plan.”
He shares that his marketing team at BlueJeans by Verizon has been trying to meet in person quarterly — an effort that has greatly supported planning.
“And then as a leadership team at BlueJeans by Verizon, we’re doing something very similar. Every six months, we try to get together and kind of reset and align and just make sure we have the opportunity to meet in person, because we’ve had an influx of new talent.”
Finally, it’s important to be thoughtful “because everyone’s everywhere,” says Bosin.
“Schedules are crazy. I think we have to be considerate of everyone’s situation but be really pragmatic about how we can bring everyone together.”
Watch the fireside chat now to learn more. And sign up for BlueJeans Meetings for free!