In the early stages of the pandemic, HR leaders scrambled to provide support, guidance, and structure to their workforce while transitioning to a fully remote environment. For many organizations, business priorities also shifted as the coronavirus spread to different countries they operated in across the globe.
Here at Phenom, we quickly developed a Response Team with HR leaders from our offices worldwide. A common theme we noticed? Each location had its own stories about employees who continued to uphold our core values of curiosity, responsibility, intensity, self-confidence, and positive thinking during uncertain times.
So what are the best ways HR leaders can continue to foster this sense of community and company culture?
1. Ask employees for feedback
Most companies have their own set of unique core values, which connect the purpose of the business to the employees who work there each day. These values are the foundation of most organizations—and although they may feel different when working remotely, they still exist.
One way to enforce them among your remote teams is by activating employees and soliciting feedback. By hosting regular Q&As or town halls where people are given an open floor to ask questions and share feedback, you’re able to maintain a sense of community.
Including employees will ultimately build stronger relationships in the long run and can be a win-win for all.
2. Lead by example
During uncertain times, it's easy for employees to stray — especially since the majority of the workforce was accustomed to working in an office every day surrounded by cool snack bars, lounge rooms, and their favorite coworkers. In a remote environment, these perks don't exist, which can make it harder for employees to stay engaged with the company culture.
But leadership should emphasize the importance of upholding the organization's values — and leading by example is crucial. Living out your company values will serve as a guiding light for others to follow suit, stay on track, and remain focused.
3. Stay on track
An organization's core values should be conveyed throughout the entire talent lifecycle: from the moment they apply to a job to their first day — all the way to when they are ready to move on to the next step in their journey (in some companies).
Try not to lose sight of these important milestones within your organization and continue highlighting the core values every step of the way. Consider creating a virtual onboarding program, celebrating birthdays via Zoom, and more.
4. Reward and recognize values
Reward employees who exemplify the core values defined by your company and make sure they are recognized. You can do this by sharing their story at a company-wide meeting or featuring them in your internal email newsletter.
Consider asking employees to nominate their colleagues by sending in a video and explaining the core value they represent. The employee will feel great, and others will be encouraged to follow suit — creating a great employee experience.
Spend time supporting your virtual community
A company’s culture and values should remain strong in times of uncertainty — and it's up to HR leaders to encourage teamwork, leadership, and empathy during tough times. If there's a silver lining during this pandemic, it is this: we are all coming together as leaders and working through the challenges of the workforce, and growing stronger because of it.