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The Importance of Culture in the (COVID) Workplace

June 10, 2021
by Amy Cronin

It’s no secret that a positive organizational culture and employee engagement are key factors – maybe the biggest key factors – to business success. Successful leaders across all industries have attested to this time and time again. Doug Conant, former president and CEO of Campbell’s Soup, boils it down best: To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.

But how does a positive organizational culture come to be? And what can you do to improve team member and employee engagement when many companies are still primarily working remotely?

Organizational culture encompasses so many things that it can be hard to define. It also develops and evolves over time based on the combined traits of the people leadership chooses to invest in, and that’s why good people are important to any organization. And at FUEL, we have them. In fact, they’re more than good. At FUEL, our people are passionate, hard-working, creative, smart, and FUN. They create our unique culture, and, in turn, our agency leaders and support team work to provide the best environment, resources, and tools to allow it to flourish.

This year, organizations have had to get more creative than ever before in their efforts to maintain culture and employee relations. In our new COVID world where almost everything has changed, culture doesn’t have to. How can you safeguard yours?

Implement innovative platforms and resources

Beyond Zoom or Microsoft Teams, what do your people need to succeed? If you’re like us, maybe this means new collaboration tools, streamlined internal communication, and a new and improved internal knowledge hub. Whatever it means for your business, arming your team with innovative tools will inspire motivation and growth. Find the right ones that meet your team’s needs–in fact, ask them what tools they need to succeed and do a little research.

Do the same things in different ways

Stay true to the things that make your team special. The virtual happy hours are great, but there’s more to it than that. Company practices and values should remain intact. For example, at FUEL, a #showandtell Slack channel and a new platform for peer recognition has allowed us to further our commitment to always acknowledge and reward good work. (Turns out, a virtual high five feels just as good!) 

Maintain closeness and connection 

Closeness, connection and engagement are fundamental to sustaining culture. While social distancing may be necessary, team members should never feel disconnected from one another or the organization as a whole. Instead, team members should feel shared purpose, visibility and accessibility, and intentionality in maintaining culture. So embrace the regular team-wide meetings and scheduled supervisor check-ins, and actively seek opportunities for your team to engage with one another virtually or in-person when safe to do so. 

Understand, support, and appreciate your team

This one isn’t hard. Be kind. At FUEL, we have appreciated simple considerations such as flexibility for working parents, health and wellness initiatives, and employee care package delivery. These simple acts of kindness go a long way in encouraging our people to bring their best selves to work each day. 

Maintaining corporate culture in today’s work environment may be challenging, but it boils down to the basics: listen, respond to, and respect your employees’ needs and challenges and remain flexible.

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