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11 Ways to Increase Your Company Culture During Tough Times

Monday, October 12th, 2020

Company culture begins with the hiring process of every employee for a business. From the content presented in a job description, a business clarifies what the company culture resembles when someone becomes an employee. Company culture is found in which job posting site a business facilitates to discover their ideal employee. Even in the process of using an applicant tracking system to find businesses next hire, the organization and the candidate experience express largely towards a company’s culture. The hiring and retention process has a major impact on company’s culture and its ability to endure productivity through hard times. 

As we come close to the end of 2020, looking back on what business around the world has been doing to increase company culture is inspiring. As many businesses found themselves closing their doors, some could hold on and adapt to the controllable changes that have occurred throughout the year. More now than ever, companies have tuned in to what the essential aspects of running a business consist of to stay strong. Recognizing that company culture and employee morale obtains a solid foundation to withstand troubled times makes a significant difference. 

Transiting to remote work for some business displayed challenges they were not equipped to manage initially, while others found the shift to be easier than expected. Either way, any business creating or balancing remote or virtual workforce revealed some new adjustments that affect company culture. Not being physically present in the typical office environment can make any business structure lose track of objectives and the sense of being part of a team. During these difficult times for business everywhere, understanding the value and implementing approaches to increase company culture is at an all-time high. 

We have gathered the top company culture ideas, tips, and advice from business leaders worldwide to help you increase your company culture. 

How to Increase Your Company Culture During Tough Times

#1 Transparency and Feedback

“During these difficult times, increasing company culture has required a shift in mindset and methods, as our previous efforts aren’t necessarily adapted to remote work.”

“We’ve made sure that we are very transparent with staff, whether the news is good or bad, and this has built a sense of trust between staff and managers. In such uncertain times, it’s reassuring for employees to know that they will be the first to know if something is happening.”

“We’ve also been using things like anonymous employee engagement surveys to get feedback on what the company is doing well and what needs to change. When employees see that their feedback is heard and changes are made, it definitely improves company culture and morale.” – Jenna Carson, HR Manager at Music Grotto

#2 Virtual Culture

“Like most companies, we transitioned our meetings from in-person visits and phone calls to video conferences. From our staff and team meetings to client meetings and skill shares, having some face-to-face time has helped us feel connected even if it’s through a screen.”

“If we can’t go out for events, virtual ones are the next best thing. We all got together for game nights, team lunches, happy hours, and even a flower arranging class throughout our quarantine. These events give us a chance to catch up with each other outside of the workday and unwind.”

“We also use virtual meetings to stay fit together. Lucky for us, one of our team members is a Pilates instructor and has been treating us to some virtual classes over the last few weeks.” – Lauren Metter, Founder, and President of Metter Media LLC

How to Increase Your Company Culture During Tough TImes

#3 Encourage Taking Breaks

“Some employees may find that their vacation plans are canceled due to the pandemic and travel bans put in place. Allowing them to bank it for the future and giving them the allowance to take breaks when they feel the need for it can sit very positively with employees. Humans are social beings, and they are created for interdependency.” 

“With the pandemic spreading rapidly, it is important for one to keep well and sound mental, especially as they don’t get the chance to travel frequently or take a vacation. Encourage taking breaks as they feel emotional, social, or mental stress. This will help them stay mentally strong in the long run, giving them a pleasant life ahead”.- Stanislao Marrazzo, Co-Founder of  Italian Food Online Store 

How to Increase Your Company Culture During Tough Times

#4 Proceed to Positivity

“We don’t really mention COVID-19. It’s sort of a rule in our virtual office. My approach is this – we are confronted with that every day in our personal lives; I would like to leave that behind when we’re in a work setting. Yes, that is still happening, but we all need a shred of normalcy during these times, so why not act as a safe haven?” 

“Instead, we put a lot of effort into talking about current events, posting memes, sharing jokes, sharing personal successes and milestones, anything that will keep the mood perked up, morale high, and increase company culture. We don’t need to succumb to misery just because the rest of the world did. In my experience, it’s been a very effective approach, and people are responding so well. They’re all glad to have a space in the world where these troubles don’t exist and don’t interfere. I fully recommend implementing the same policy; you’ll be amazed at the difference in mood.” – Hosea Chang, Chief Operating Officer of Hayden Girls 

How to Increase Your Company Culture During Tough Times

#5 Start a Mentoring Program

“One of the most impactful ways to increase company culture during these tough times and long term is to develop some type of mentoring program among your teams that allows them to learn from each other, become more well-rounded professionals, and even compete against each other which can become an added incentive.”

“Employee mentoring programs can help employees stay connected with more regular feedback during a time when a lot of teams’ communication is suffering and employees can get to know each other better and build bonds that will contribute to better productivity coordination and overall company culture.” – David Adler, Founder, and CEO of The Travel Secret.

How to Increase Your Company Culture During Tough Times

#6 Meetings with Meaning

“I have put in a lot of effort into keeping people connected during the pandemic. My first strategy was to introduce regular virtual team building activities that were entertaining and light. People have been under huge pressure in the past few months, and I wanted to provide a space for them to connect and talk about anything other than work. I believed that employees would stay motivated if they feel good in their workplace, and these team building activities were supposed to ensure a good atmosphere.”

“My second strategy was coming up with numerous incentives I could offer to my employees on a weekly level that would inspire them to work hard. For instance, we had the best worker of the week who received a gift card for Amazon. Also, I increased bonuses for successful campaigns, and I gave them to people as a recognition of their good work.” –  Malte Scholz, CEO, and Co-Founder of Airfocus

How to Increase Your Company Culture During Tough Times

#7 Run Internal Contests on Slack

“We’ve started doing weekly contests on Slack to keep our team engaged – we do things like “post a picture of where you are” and have one person curate them anonymously so the rest of the team can guess who the picture belongs to.  The winner gets something like an afternoon off or an Amazon gift card and the combination of a contest + reward has been great at getting people excited.”

“We’ve even done a live contest where we hold a group Zoom call and flashed pictures of ‘spirit animals’ on the screen and everyone guessed who it belonged to.”

“We’re lucky that we have such a tolerant staff, but events like this definitely help us keep it fun and exciting when we haven’t seen each other in months.” – Quincy Smith, Co-Founder of Test Prep Nerds

How to Increase Your Company Culture During Tough Times

#8 Special Motivators 

“Money is often the number one motivator. It’s why people who win the lottery or receive a massive inheritance often quit their jobs. The money has replaced their desire to work for the money. Knowing this, we like to give spot bonuses here and there to our team. Random surprise bonuses are motivating. But, not enough to quit their job over. Plus, the spot bonus often comes with verbal praise or company-wide recognition. If you’re looking to motivate your company, a spot bonus program always works.” – Brian Robben, CEO & Founder of Robben Media

How to Increase Your Company Culture During Tough Times

#9 Personalized Presents

“One cool way you can increase company culture is by going out of your way to give each employee working from home a personalized gift. What we do at our company is have our graphic designer make a customized Avatar of each employee, with some fun artwork that includes their interests.”

“For example, the mug can feature the employee’s cat or a small landmark of their favorite vacation destination. Then we have the graphic printed on large mugs and delivered to their home. It may be something small and simple, but with a little bit of creativity, you can show your employees how much you value them with small acts that can help increase company culture during this time.” – Stefan Smulders, Founder of Expandi

How to Increase Your Company Culture During Tough Times

#10 Communication and Connection

“One of the keys to strengthening company culture has been prioritizing communication and providing employees the outlets they need to feel supported. We facilitate daily virtual Kanban meetings with the whole company to address big picture issues and recognize accomplishments, and teams also meet individually to focus on more specific, day-to-day projects and goals.”

“We are intentional about providing opportunities for employees to connect with each other in more relaxed and social settings. We have biweekly virtual happy hours, and during the workday, we utilize social platforms like Skype and Slack to share friendly conversations and virtual coffee meetups.” – Monica Eaton-Cardone, Co-Founder and COO of Chargebacks911 

How to Increase Your Company Culture During Tough Times

#11 Encouraging Emails

“There’s no single way to increase company culture during COVID-19, but we’ve been trying a number of things in order to connect with our remote team and keep everyone’s spirits up. So far, it’s worked quite well and has been a lot of fun.”

“We send out a daily email to all of our employees encouraging them to participate in a unique topic. We ask things like: “Tell us about the favorite place you’ve ever visited” and “Tell us one thing about one coworker that you admire” and more. Everyone gets to read everyone else’s responses and it allows us all to learn a bit about our coworkers.”

“We are a digital agency that has new employees joining us frequently, so it’s a way for everyone to meet each other, learn a bit about each other, and it’s exciting to read the responses coming in throughout the day.”

“This is an easy, quick, but engaging way to bring the entire company – and its employees – together in a positive way! It has definitely helped increase company culture during these troubled times.” – Jus Chall, Brand Strategist at Skein Agency

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