Leaders have always been instrumental in guiding corporate culture. However, today’s hybrid work environments and evolving employee mindsets pose new challenges when it comes to developing a cohesive culture. Getting it right requires your leadership teams to be more pivotal than ever before.
The needs behind maintaining a strong company culture have changed significantly since pre-pandemic times. Our growing reliance on hybrid work environments has shifted our perspective on everything from traditional business hours, to team interaction, travel and incentives, and overall work-life balance. While nurturing a healthy corporate culture has always required an element of adaptation, these drastic changes in employee experience are demanding a bigger shift in thinking.
A recent article in Forbes defines a number of needs when developing a strong culture in today’s corporate environment. Of these needs, there are three stand outs in our book.
Increased Accountability — Accountability enables team members to see how their actions benefit the overall business, while also giving managers a clearer path for tracking performance against company goals. In a hybrid environment, increasing accountability is critical because it provides visibility and motivation regardless of location.
Shared Purpose — Instilling a shared company purpose has never been more important than it is today. Without the ability to interact directly, even the most motivated employees can get off track. Transparency and feedback are communication practices that companies must adopt from the top down.
Increased Engagement — With fewer opportunities to connect in-person, many companies struggle to maintain engagement in hybrid setups. Hybrid work arrangements have exposed the importance that quick one-on-ones and impromptu meetings have on the employee experience. Replacing these with frequent virtual check-ins and virtual team programming helps to maintain engagement levels and keep your people on track.
3 Ways Leaders Can Shape Culture
Leaders are instrumental when it comes to influencing trust and nurturing the employee experience. Achieving the changes discussed above starts with your leadership teams.
1) Team Cohesion
Increasing accountability relies on a foundation of team cohesion. Establishing this means leaders must build a culture where team members understand each other’s unique strengths and choose to trust one another. This mindset not only helps motivate hybrid employees, but also enables them to more clearly see how their contributions affect the overall business.
2) Belonging & Feedback
Developing a shared purpose among teams relies on leaders’ abilities to establish a culture of belonging. While belonging takes time and dedication, a good starting place is weekly communications of the company’s values and hopes, and how each team member’s contributions support them. Taking the time each week for these conversations makes a huge impact on the employee experience and builds belonging from the inside out. Instilling a shared purpose also relies on transparent feedback practices. Offering, as well as asking for, weekly feedback creates a psychologically safe work environment and acts as an additional touchpoint to further build on company values.
Improving engagement requires that leaders take the time to show that they genuinely care about their team members as individuals, helping them to feel appreciated and valued. Frequent check-ins are key to the relationship, as is the planning of casual team celebrations and shows of appreciation.
Want to get your leaders there faster? Music anchors learning, and SongDivision’s Culture Club: Leadership Track is a series of six scientifically-backed, music-driven sessions covering the most critical leadership skills for developing trust and productivity in hybrid work environments, and beyond.