Retaining company culture in turbulent times
In times of a global pandemic that is leading to remote work - how should Human Resources look into retaining (and growing) company culture?
As this article by Sequoia compared the outbreak of Coronavirus to a Black Swan Event, it indeed makes the Chief People's Officer, HR Managers and consultants wonder how ready are organisations in adapting to
a. Stagnating opportunities due to shut down in travel
b. Health Concerns of employees within organisation
c. The general gloom and pessimism that is observed thanks to constant barrage of information
But the bigger question remains -Are companies planning 3-6 months ahead? Let us stretch our imagination and explore the scenarios that can arise with prolonged travel and movement restrictions
a. Demotivation within ranks: While work from home may sound initially like a good idea, but there are lots of repercussions in staying away from teams. Firstly employees need to have regular interactions with one another to discuss key issues, set goals, celebrate achievements and help execute the company vision. With increasing travel restrictions, companies will find there to be restricted interactions, wrong assumptions and general friction arising out of not interacting face to face.
b. Communication gaps: Interacting face to face often helps discuss sensitive issues, reinforce trust and goodwill and of course - improve communication. In the possibility of remote working, companies may suffer from productivity losses and confusion because of increased formal communication against quick personal interactions
c. Increased distance in philosophy between top management and employees: With less visibility among senior management, companies may feel the hardship in bridging the vision of the senior management to the reality of the organisation. Troops need to interact with the General to remain motivated and execute the vision planned ahead.
The solution lies in creating (and encouraging) a digital medium through which employees can thrive within an organisation. This medium needs to be regulated by the company, so as to ensure healthy, positive and honest discussions take place within the organisation. The advantage of having a digital medium is several fold
a. At a minimum cost, companies are able to provide a platform for employees to interact with one another
b. The company vision can be easily communicated
c. HR and other leaders can respond directly to queries/concerns being raised by employees
d. There is scope of engagement among employees through gamification
We, at Procialize have been learning, and creating products that help improve networking among businesses. In 2017, we launched Huddle - an engagement platform focused on connecting groups, teams, employees, dealers and other sets of mutually benefiting individuals. This has helped human capital intensive companies such as DHL Express, DHL Singapore, Bayer Zydus Pharma and several other organisations prepare well ahead for such unforeseen circumstances.
Digital platforms can help in several ways:
A company feed: Similar to Facebook, a company feed would allow all employees to post updates, images, videos; and gain encouragement from the same through likes and comments. Human Resources can put in new initiatives, corporate communications can put new announcements, CEO and directors can put video updates
Employee List: An employee list can help quickly find employees across functions, locations, designations etc. What helps more is the ability to immediately start 1-1 chat, monitored by the company
Company Policies: A ready reckoner for all employee policies
Corporate Communication: A section devoted to periodic corporate announcements, new joinees, birthdays and celebrations
Activities: Here is where the true engagement stands out. Features such as Polls, quiz, selfie and video engagement, leaderboard help create healthy competition and interaction with stakeholders.
Training: Skilling employees is necessary to ensure the company stays ahead of time - Products like Huddle allow creation of new training modules using videos, images, documents, polls, quiz and certificates. Alternatively, it also allows integration with any third party training module