It is generally accepted that culture goes to the very fabric of most businesses and this is often what sets one business apart from another. Quite often culture and values will determine success or failure.
For personality and culture to be consistently delivered, it is vital that staff in an organisation both understand what the businesses culture and values are and understand the importance that their behaviour plays in demonstrating those values in daily interactions with both fellow team members, customers and stakeholders.
Personality and culture are introduced to team members at early induction stage, but for many, the practical skills of being able to promote the culture and the personality of a firm through behaviours is learnt by osmosis – through being around colleagues and subconsciously picking up styles and learning behaviours.
Recent events have of course distanced us from the operational norm, for many we have reclused to the isolation of our homes, working independently and making the most of video calls for interaction with colleagues and customers. COVID-19 has presented businesses with many challenges, and this is just another – how do we in the “new world of working” ensure that staff feel engaged and “part of the team”, deliver service and interact with stakeholders in a way that promotes its culture or, maintain the “buy in” to a firm’s set of behaviours and values? The author argues that this is key to ensuring the cultural survival of a business.
Communication is of course fundamental. The use of video conferencing, whilst lacking the dimension of physically present dialogue is vital because seeing faces and (although limited) body language is important to effective communication. Regular structured catchups are vital.
It is also important to be creative – there is no such thing as a bad idea (other than no idea) in thinking about employee engagement - be creative – focus on ideas to promote and show case your values, for example if supporting charity is a large part of what makes you, you then come up with ideas to promote these – virtual bake offs, team fitness challenges are just some of the ideas that have been successfully promoted.
Be free with your time – do not underestimate the anxiety and the impact that this may have on members of your team, letting them know that you are available for them is both reassuring and demonstrates that you care.
Promote and encourage self learning and team development – suggesting webinars to watch or articles to read and then agreeing a time to review and discuss is a great way to promote interaction and dialogue.
Don’t forget those that may have been furloughed – a furloughed employee is still an employee and whilst there are restrictions on carrying out work during furlough, training and social interaction is permitted.
In conclusion, COVID-19 has presented us all with challenges and difficulties. It continues to do so, but the world will go on and ultimately, in time, will recover. Businesses to be resilient and ultimately successful must not lose sight of culture and values. Business personality will be just as important in the new world as it was pre lockdown and the importance of employee engagement in the promotion of this is vital.