Create a culture of empathy and understanding
Listen deeply to your team. People want to be heard and they want to be seen. If you can be present for your employees, they will feel supported and be more engaged at work knowing that they’re being considered.
Take your employee’s context into account. If a parent just started school at home for their child, or a teammate had to be evacuated, be aware of that. Don’t shy away from asking how they’re managing these changes and challenges — and don’t feel like you need to give advice, sometimes people just want to be heard.
Be transparent, and follow through
Don’t stay silent on issues that clearly affect your team. Communicate transparently company-wide, with your whole team, and on one-on-ones. If your company is affected by the recent Walbridge, Hennessey or Glass fires, you may send out communications on how your company plans to support teammates affected by the fires.
Or perhaps, your company just increased their COVID safety plan to include company-supplied weekly testing. Show up in a supportive way to address these issues.
Following through is a critical piece here. Trust in the workplace is largely based on doing what we’ve said we are going to do. If follow-through doesn’t happen, employees feel dismissed, unsupported, and morale is damaged.
Reduce stress; promote wellness
In our lives and in business, we can only control the controllables. Although we cannot control the external world, we can control how we respond to it. Offer your team tools to reduce stress and increase equanimity. Promoting this balance will improve team spirit, increase productivity, and build a sense of connection.
- Allow flexible working hours where possible.
- Consider offering a meditation subscription for apps like Headspace or Calm. (Five minutes of meditation a day has shown to increase creativity, improve moods, and decrease stress.)
- Create a virtual workout group that meets once or twice a week.
- Provide virtual counseling or a counseling allowance.
- Encourage healthy eating habits by sharing recipes or ordering healthy at-work snacks and meals.
Outwardly showing gratitude positively impacts the workplace. Whether it’s being vocal about an individual’s job well done, gifting a $10 coffee gift card, giving a weekly lunch allowance, or having a full-blown staff appreciation week, showing appreciation has a profound effect on teams.
Encourage teammates to let the gratitude flow freely. Consider an easy employee recognition software so peer to peer appreciation is embedded into day-to-day employee interactions. This type of integrated team recognition of everyday small wins transforms relationships, creating a culture where individuals are eager to support one another.
Make this immediately actionable by incorporating gratitude time into weekly meetings. Have each person in the meeting communicate gratitude for another teammate and why.
Bring the team together
While we can’t come together physically, there is no shortage of ways to connect your teams at work. Consider creating a monthly book club, women’s group, an at-home workout club, or host a virtual happy hour to allow much-needed human connection.
Remember, there’s no finish line when it comes to company culture. A truly supportive company culture is a work in progress, because as a company grows, so does its people.
Take the time and put the right systems in place to nurture company culture, especially during these challenging times.