Establish the culture you believe in (Part 1)
In this six-part series, we’ll offer some thoughts and helpful hints to business owners who are tackling organizational culture as their employees transition from brick-and-mortar to a remote work environment.
Culture - huh. A lot of us immediately jump to geographic origin or stories from our ancestors. In the business world, it’s sorta the same but with a twist: whereas we can’t do much about our geographic origin or the stories our grandparents shared, as business owners, we can, and do, create and influence our company’s culture. When we have a brick & mortar location, it’s common to paint the walls a particular color, or place the bosses office in a certain location, or require a certain uniform. Less obvious, our culture is also influenced by how we speak to one another - the words we use, our tone, our mannerisms. There seems to be a near-endless supply of definitions of “organizational culture,” from “The Business Dictionary” to scholarly articles authored by professors, academics, and professionals who’ve all discovered that something special underlying an incredible office experience. For this discussion, we’ll build upon the definition that organizational culture is a set of shared assumptions that guide what happens in organizations by defining appropriate behavior for various situations (Ravasi & Schultz, 2006). It affects the way people and groups interact with each other, with clients, and with stakeholders.
When we are face-to-face with our coworkers and customers, it’s easy to monitor and amend the tangibles in our business that contribute to our culture. While the physical environment can reflect our business culture and aide in setting our employees up for success (see a later post on this topic), the non-tangible attributes of our behavior are equally important, and harder to quantify, regardless of our selected business model. This post explores how business owners can establish an organizational culture that resonates in any environment with an emphasis on how to transition from a brick-and-mortar to a remote workplace.
There’s a ton of information out there about the importance of culture in the workplace. In the 2020 Global Culture Report (https://www.octanner.com/global-culture-report.html), employees report what matters most to them: the personal, everyday, career-defining, micro-experiences that shape life at work. How employees and leadership engage is essential in forming positive “micro-experiences” that enable their success. By adopting practices sensitive to the employee perspective, business owners are more likely to reap the reward of greater productivity that leads to long-term results. While tomes of research and information are available to emphasize the vital importance of leadership establishing the culture they believe is best for their organization, it’s the employees' attitudes, behaviors, and interactions that give evidence as to whether leadership’s efforts have been successful. No matter what leadership may desire or document, employees are the truth-tellers: if the efforts are insincere or not consistently practiced over time, employees will see it, know it and feel it. And they will respond accordingly.
Tell us what you’ve done to shift your organization’s culture to a remote workspace and let us know what worked and didn’t work. Let us know if this information was helpful or what more we can address to help solve a real-world problem today. Feel free to reach via phone, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.