Company culture has grown to be one of the most important features of talent acquisition, retention and development. I think we have all heard horror stories from those who work for an organization where they feel like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.
When considering a new job, not everyone places these softer cultural elements at the top of their considerations – but then again, it’s surely more important that the salary is good and the hours are friendly, right?
When the pay cheques come in each month, and your work-hours become semi-regular, these components slowly become part of the background; however, what raises to the foreground as time goes on is the culture of a work place. If you feel included in decision making, friendships and “part of something” you more likely to be content and happy within your place of employment, and also more productive. These things do not happen immediately, but the antithesis can make a person scroll through Indeed.com on their lunch break.
Far more frequently you now see companies advertising their company culture as a way to attract top talent - This poses the question of how does a remote-based company manage to tackle what would seem very physical thing?
I’ve said it before in previous articles, but I am fairly certain any claims made against remote working could easily be rebutted with one single word: communication. The answer to how a company culture of inclusion, engagement and feeling part of something evolves, all comes down to communication.
Our Company Culture
Our company was founded on far more than just anticipating incoming profits. It was founded because our CEO Charlie, wanted to build a business to engage audiences and clients on an interactive and personal level that allowed him to spend maximum time with his family. We value genuine relationships and so do our clients and customers.
As a fully remote organization, we actively encourage cross-departmental communication. Are we perfect at it? No – of course not! I think any company who says they’re an A+ at departmental cohesion is blissfully unaware of their challenges that are present. We are mindful that when it’s a particularly busy period often departmental silos appear – but it’s about acknowledging them and breaking them back down. However, we do some things that we feel works well in generating and developing an inclusive cross-company culture.
For our business, it’s personal relationships that form a wider sense of connection across the business. A big part of this is Slack, our team collaboration tool. Each week our MD posts an update within our Slack Channel, bringing to the foreground notable successes and/or upcoming challenges. This is one really simple way everyone can feel included in what’s happening within the company. Maybe it’s because Corinium is still a fairly small company Scrap that! I don’t think how big the company is matters when it comes to updating your colleagues on what’s happening within the business. None of us are expecting too much detail, but a general commentary makes everyone feel valued. This culture of sharing goes two ways; if you feel that your colleagues are sharing with you, in turn you feel more inclined to share with your colleagues. This in my opinion, is one of the strongest bedrocks of successful remote working.
This sharing isn’t just the business numbers, but also the personal stuff too. Unlike in a physical office when you can see someone’s body language and can notice if they’re not themselves, remote based workers have to be a tad more honest about themselves to their colleagues. I can’t turn up to work without make up on, with my hair in a mess indicating that perhaps today isn’t a good day – I have to spell it out to my colleagues that I’m not in the best place today. This is challenging at first, but as you become better acquainted with your colleague’s, honesty over personal-life becomes a lot easier, well at least I think so.
It could be hard to form one-on-one relationships in a remote based organization. But everyone is equally accessible on Slack so no one is excluded.
To maximize this sharing and sense of belonging we encourage contributions to “Corinstagram”, one of our Slack channels dedicated to personal photos and anecdotes. Being able to share funny moments and things of interest on Slack fosters a company-wide sense of community throughout the day. Plus, we like to think we have a pretty strong gif game!
I didn’t realize how caring the company culture was until I had to draw a recent comparison. Rather sadly a relative of mine passed away, whose funeral I wanted to attend. I didn’t really need to ask my line manager, as he already told me when I informed him of her passing, to take as much time as I needed. This I thought was fairly normal – until I heard my cousin wouldn’t be making the Memorial Service due being unable to get time off work. Technically Corinium didn’t have to give me any time off due to my Aunt’s being considered “not immediate family” – When I spoke to Management about this a few weeks after, they said they knew if I wanted to be at the funeral and they didn’t allow the absence, chances are I wouldn’t have been a very productive, efficient or happy employee that day/week. These decisions which in the grand scheme of things aren’t huge can have a very big impact on individual employees – and it is things like this that make a person stay in a job, and push to do their best.
It comes down to trust, respect and communication, and that’s how a Culture can be created, in thin air.