A CEO’s Tips On Keeping Culture Alive In A Hybrid Working System

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Over the past two years, the world has faced a dramatic workplace restructure, shifting from employees working full time in the office, to solely from home. Post-pandemic, many companies stand somewhere in between by following a flexible hybrid working system.

While the hybrid working system can be beneficial for employees and bring about positive change both personally and professionally, it also has its challenges. All signs however point towards the fact that the hybrid working culture is here to stay.

“A company runs because of people. They need to be looked after and connected with, and covid brought this to the forefront for us”, says Carey van Vlaanderen, ESET CEO. “It’s important that ESET embraces the hybrid culture while still ensuring that employees feel part of one cohesive team.”

Below, Carey shares her most important tips on keeping culture alive in a Hybrid Working System.

Have a defined set of cultural norms

Employees and their teams need to be aligned more than ever. It's important that the company’s key norms when it comes to ways of working are defined and communicated clearly by its leadership.

Personally connect with all employees (face to face on a regular basis)

A hybrid working model requires more effort than ever to foster a sense of connection. Introducing regular check-ins with employees will not only serve as a means of alignment but also allow for productivity and performance to be at their best. It allows leadership to gauge employee sentiment towards their work, which is important for overall company culture.

Have regular fun events

This can include team-building exercises, Google Hangouts, or team lunches. Recently, ESET hosted an online comedy event as well as a mental health awareness event, which both significantly added to employees connecting and building stronger emotional bonds with each other.

Have regular company-wide stand-ups

When employees aren’t in the office full time, regular stand-ups should be hosted in order to ensure that the status of work is shared and that any urgent issues are dealt with. It’s easier in a face-to-face environment for these discussions and updates to take place, so regular dedicated time is a must in a hybrid working culture.

Share strategic direction

For Carey, the one thing that has made a big difference within the hybrid working culture is having a system of OKRs already set up and communicated clearly to the entire company. This helps to reaffirm the company’s mission and values, and short and long-term goals. A hybrid working environment can easily cause these to be overlooked. 

Question alignment all the time

It’s tricky to check that teams and members within teams are aligned within the hybrid working model. Extra effort needs to be made in order to check that teams and goals are aligned within the company.

Have non-negotiable face-to-face time

While many employees enjoy and thrive within the hybrid working culture, some may rarely show face in the office especially if their role doesn’t require them to be physically present. It’s important that regular non-negotiable face-to-face time is made in order to keep traffic and culture within the office alive too. In-person office culture shouldn’t be neglected!

Have the right managers in place to closely monitor teams

The managers need to be on board with the hybrid culture so that they can encourage their teams to embrace it. Managers also need to be on the ball by closely checking in with their teams to monitor their work status, progress, and sentiment.

Always portray stability

With many employees at home, it’s easy for them to feel disconnected from what’s happening within the company. Employees need to feel at ease, especially when things around them are unstable. The company should constantly portray stability in some way, whether it’s regular reassurance that jobs are stable, or sharing company wins and positive results.

Company culture directly affects employees, and even though it may take extra work, having a solid culture in the hybrid working system is beneficial both for the company and its people. If kept alive effectively, it can be hugely rewarding while increasing productivity, performance, and employee sentiment.