by Marylin Garcia, Manager of People and Culture
While working from anywhere (WFA) has many advantages for both businesses and employees, not being onsite with your whole team can have its challenges. One example? Figuring out how to maintain your company culture and keep your people engaged, both with each other and the work. Keeping culture thriving from a distance takes planning and some effort, but the payoff will be well worth it.
5 Ways to Keep the Culture from Afar
To encourage more interaction and togetherness while working apart, Liongard has established several ways to keep our team engaged—maybe even more so than we did while working together onsite—and build on our winning culture.
Monthly social hour
Each month, we schedule an hour to put our work aside and just get together and have fun. Our social hours usually have a theme and are casual, educational—and sometimes include a game or contest, because we all love a good competition. Other than that, there’s no set agenda; we let things happen organically: we may discuss a cause, catch up on things or find reasons to celebrate. This gives us a chance to see each other outside the work setting and read body language cues, which helps us all recognize if someone might be feeling down.
Monthly company meeting
An hour-long meeting with our entire team lets us all come together, hear updates from each department, talk about projects and learn what’s new and what people are excited about. We use the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) process for our meetings and have a SEGUE for each meeting that lets us share fun stories or facts about each other that we may not learn otherwise. It’s also a chance to see the bigger picture—how one person’s contribution relates to what others are working on. This time of connection isn’t feasible for all companies, so we feel very fortunate to be able to meet and make sure we’re all “rowing in the same direction.”
Slack and other messaging programs have replaced the break room and water cooler talk, now that we’re not physically together. From day-to-day communication to channels about family, sports, pets, music, hobbies and more, this helps our people connect and learn about each other organically, growing closer as a team.
Designate a Culture Team
To keep our culture thriving, Liongard execs created a Culture Team at the onset of the pandemic. What’s great about our Culture Team is that they’re volunteers—people who are really excited to share ideas about how to bring energy and engagement to our team. Those representatives come together to organize activities, provide resources and drive engagement related to People, Community and Education. Seeing the initiatives coming from the team has inspired others to become more involved and offer new ideas, too.
Access to outside resources
It can be tough to share personal struggles with teammates, management or HR—it requires trust and vulnerability. If a teammate isn’t comfortable discussing something with the internal team, we have third-party resources available. From mental well-being and pandemic-related stress to custody agreements, substance-abuse issues and financial consulting, our team can reach out anonymously through our Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) for a helping hand.
We also partner with For All Abilities, to help our new hires define what they need in order to thrive in their remote workplace. Through a proprietary assessment of personal preferences and challenges, the company provides a recommendation on how to improve accommodations, such as specific lighting, standing desk options, back support and many other solutions.
Putting People First
Transitioning to a WFA model is exciting for management and team members alike, but knowing how to keep the culture alive and make it thrive can’t be overlooked. Along with nurturing your culture, it’s also important to ensure this new working environment is a healthy one for all employees. When you think through the human component of working remotely and produce solutions to each challenge your team may face, you’re setting your company up for success.
Liongard has successfully made the WFA transition, being named the #1 Fastest-Growing Company in Houston for the second year in a row. The only way we could have accomplished this is to have an engaged team that lives and breathes the Liongard core values and culture every single day. And that begins and ends with trust.