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How to sustain the organizational culture in a hybrid work model

28 March, 2022
5 mins

How do your employees live your culture when they don’t even live in your culture? Leaders left right and center have all been scratching their heads when it comes to sustaining organizational culture in this new norm. 

With all the time your employees have spent working from the comfort of their homes, they may have become fond of the flexibility and work-life fulfillment they experienced. Now the employees expect to continue working with these flexible working ways, organizations are open to this as well. A flexible working model has become more of a necessity and less of a perk now – yes, the workforce demands it! If not provided with it, they might find some organization that is more likely to offer them a hybrid or remote working option. So, how on Earth do you and your organization facilitate a constructive culture when all your employees are not in the office together? Let us find out!

organizational culture in a hybrid work model

Source: pexels

Culture is significantly vital for organizational success. When organizational culture tends to be more effective,  organizations witness it paying off. From revenue growth to net income and from retention to the stock price – everything receives a boost as a result of organizations having an effective and ideal culture. Moreover, research done by Dension demonstrates a positive relationship between culture and return on investment as well as return on sales. 

However, organizational culture has taken a hit since the global pandemic. As a result, leaders have started to put even more focus on the culture of their organizations. It all appears to be deteriorating ever since employees have started to work away from the office. Two-thirds of the leaders have been stumbling to maintain employee morale and more than one-third of them are experiencing hindrances in maintaining the culture of their organizations.  

Establishing a culture in a hybrid and remote work model 

One of the most vital determinants of the relationship between your employee and organization is proximity. Even though proximity is about perception, it tends to build connectedness and empathy. Practically, the tactics explained below are about establishing proximity – both real and perceived as well. Effectiveness will be driven by employees feeling connected, engaged, and close with the success of each other and the organization. 

Shared ambition

Ambition has always played a key role in organizational performance, but in the hybrid work model, it has become even more significant. When employees are present in the office, they can feel a sense of being together and experience a feeling of working on a common purpose by running into their colleagues and chatting about organization, projects, and strategies. However, when these employees are separated, even though some of these may still take place virtually, it gets drastically receded. So, you have to ensure to be intended about articulating the purpose, discussing the ultimate organizational objective, and making your employees feel that their work uniquely contributes to the organization’s success. The teams also need to be made aware of how their work connects and intersects on the organizational level. 

Accountability

Leaders who have the habit of being sensitive to the needs or challenges of their employees sometimes end up going too far in providing them with space to work through the issues. While some employees indeed need empathy and compassion, they sometimes also need to be held accountable for the outcomes. Accountability plays a significant role in fostering an effective culture as it reminds employees that their work matters and it reminds them how vital it is for the organization as well as the team. If the purpose is the ultimate picture of how the work matter, accountability is the mechanism that operationalizes how the work even matter. It ensures high performance while working in the hybrid work model which is vital for the individual, teams, and the organization as a unit. 

Fairness

Fairness is closely related to the topic of accountability. If employees do not have a sense of fairness and equity, they will easily experience a fall in their motivation levels. This dynamic is highly critical when your organization is trying to nurture a hybrid model. When your employees are not present in the office, they might not have as many possibilities to learn about the organization. Fostering a culture in the hybrid model demands more communication about how work leads to outcomes that are equitable and fair.  In addition to this, you have to ensure that no matter who works from where the team has to remain unified. Be sensitive and inclusive about how you refer to your employees and treat them, no matter where they might be working from. 

Transparency

If you want to establish an effective culture in a hybrid and remote working model, you need to have communication and transparency at the center of your organization’s operation. When your employees are not present in the office, they would not have the automatic prospects to pick up on what is happening. As the leader, you have to ensure that each of your people is kept in the loop, share their inputs constantly, and are in the know about each and everything – the good, the bad, and the ugly. This openness serves as a primary ingredient of trust that serves as the basis of a constructive culture. 

Visibility and accessibility 

The most crucial facet of adequate leadership is when the leaders are sensed to be accessible and present. As it is tough to accomplish even virtually, it’s harder and more important in the remote and hybrid model. Visibility also plays a key role – both in terms of leaders being visible and in how they keep their team members foremost. In addition to this and most importantly, you have to be intentional about being personally accessible. Make it a habit to check in with your team members repeatedly. Also, promote such a culture when your team members share a close relationship and strong bonds with each other. Pairing them in tasks and assigning collaborative projects to them is the easiest way to do so. 

If you take the above-described points into consideration, you are highly likely to sustain an organizational culture in hybrid and remote working models very effectively. For more proficient assistance regarding maintaining a productive and engaged workforce be sure to contact us!