The brand identity your business cultivates internally and in the marketplace can be its single most valuable commodity. Customers reward companies that represent a positive corporate culture and often shun those that do not. So translating and maintaining a positive corporate culture is a must in these customer-savvy times. Most companies have a mission statement, which usually consists of a sentence or two that someone came up with way back when. It gets dusted off, included in the annual report and then promptly forgotten again.
Is Your Corporate Culture Reinforcing Your Mission?
Is your company’s mission statement even current? More importantly, does it reflect your company’s identity in today’s market? If not, it might be time for an update. Whether your organization is crafting the most innovative product in the industry, creating wealth or doing good work in the community, your corporate culture is tied to your mission. Everything you do, from the smallest task to the loftiest plan, should be rooted in your mission. In short, your corporate culture must be a guiding principle every day — not just a catchy quote for shareholders.
Your Mission Is Teamwork
If your mission statement isn’t getting the job done — or even if it is — consider reviewing and rewriting it as a team. That’s because your mission statement really should be a corporate culture statement, which makes it a collective accomplishment.
In fact, when distributed teams are part of the process of identifying corporate culture, they have already begun to buy into its success. Ask your employees to identify core values they believe represent both them and your company, as well as those values to which you aspire in the future. That way, your team will understand your organization’s guiding principles because they created them. Their every move throughout the workday will be guided by those principles.
Brainstorm Your Current and Aspirational Values
You can get the process started by sending lists of keywords you think might be suitable for discussion and asking for ratings in two ways: how your company is performing today, and how it hopes to perform in the future. Identify key ideals that represent your values today, such as stewardship, integrity, customer care and inclusion. Then, incorporate ideas that represent your future, for example, innovation, leadership and growth.
Once you have identified which core tenets resonate, work with teams across your company to develop a mission statement that reflects your culture as individuals, teams and the company overall, for today — and tomorrow.
Corporate Culture: Your Common Denominator
Once the statement is finalized, don’t just write it up and forget about it. It should guide everything you do. Flag it everywhere possible. Post it to your website prominently, include it in email signatures and promote it internally and externally as often as you can. The more you reiterate your corporate culture, the more imbued it becomes in the day-to-day work lives of your staff. That way, whether they’re in a traditional office space, working remotely from two blocks away or on the other side of the planet, your corporate culture remains the same: Every employee will know who you are and who you strive to be. Everything you do will endeavor to support and enhance your corporate culture
Make Tech the Tie That Binds
An additional challenge for many companies in today’s market is translating their culture across a wide range of stakeholders. For companies with distributed teams, keeping the focus on corporate culture can be difficult. When you’re managing remote workers and staff in different time zones — not to mention different countries, — you may be overwhelmed just keeping everyone on the same page and projects running smoothly.
When things get busy, making time to translate your corporate culture can seem like a luxury you can’t afford. But that’s precisely when it’s most important for your leadership to show the way, demonstrating your corporate culture through every action, decision and communication.
When employees understand the long-range plan, and when they buy into the larger picture, each step they take in their individual journeys works to further the larger corporate goal. The key is to ensure that everyone is working toward a positive corporate environment that translates across aisles, teams and international waters.
Find Ways to Create Camaraderie
To make your corporate culture a living, breathing entity, remember that it thrives because of the people who support it. To keep it alive, create opportunities for employees to bond with one another. Reinforce the values of inclusion and teamwork with one-on-one meetings — even for remote workers — that remind staff they are part of a larger collective.
When you can’t get face time with employees who work remotely, technology becomes critical. But don’t just check in on task status. To truly translate corporate culture, employees need to be part of the team, whether the team is virtual or real.
Every Culture Needs a Water Cooler
Keeping lines of communication open is also critical. Whether it’s regular feedback, chat rooms to discuss work-related issues or a virtual water cooler for employees to touch base and cultivate relationships with their peers, open communication strengthens not only employee morale but your overall company. With low-code, cloud-driven workflow and messaging applications available to promote better communication between geographically-dispersed teams, it has become easier to incorporate apps into the arsenal of tools that promote a more cohesive work environment. This will support remote workers’ need to understand that they are part of a shared mission, even if they never meet their peers in real life.
Bonding Across Cubicles and Countries
Create opportunities to get people together that may not be directly related to projects. Open forum chat rooms, video calls that spend the first 15 minutes on non-work related topics and creating employee mentor or pairing opportunities are just some ideas to get started. As distributed teams grow into bonded, connected groups, so your corporate culture will grow, too. That way, whether your teams are in adjoining cubicles or separated by seas, a strong corporate culture and vision will inspire them to work to a single goal — success for everyone.
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