Culture and values – Finding your way together while working far apart

Carolyn Dorsey | Coordinator

No one really saw this coming. A huge percentage of the corporate world having to work from home? Everywhere?? How does that even work? Aside from technology, how can we be effective as a team when we can only see each other in little boxes on our screens?

 

A big factor in how we work together as a team – whether remotely or at the desk next door – is are we all working for the same thing? Do we know what we’re aiming for and do those things match?

 

No company can be effective if its people are all pursuing different goals. I don’t mean goals as related to your tasks, I’m talking goals as an organization. – Those things that are founded upon the company’s mission, vision, and values. Does your organization have purposeful mission, vision, and values? And are they an integral part of your team’s thinking and performance?

 

Without having these elements defined, your people don’t really have a shared purpose. Even if they are good and dedicated employees, your organization’s effectiveness is hobbled by a lack of direction. Having that shared direction is absolutely critical to your team feeling united in – and inspired by – what they are doing.

 

If you’ve already checked the box on having company mission/vision/values but they’re nothing more than words on a wall somewhere (a wall your employees can’t even see right now), your first step is to see if the values still fit what your company is trying to do. Let’s say they do. How do they inspire your employees to be effective and feel united when they’re nowhere near each other? (If you haven’t created them yet, hold tight. You’ll still need this info.)

 

Values, along with mission and vision, need to be a part of your company mindset – for both leaders and team members. They need to be a part of the fabric of each day and decision. SHARED values are the glue that holds diverse people together. They form the foundation for collaboration.

 

So here are a few ways to create and strengthen a great culture around your values –

  • Start highlighting the values on multiple levels –
    • Write blogs on each value;
    • discuss them at weekly stand ups (or sit downs in front of a video call!) – ask if team members can give examples of how they’ve lived out different values;
    • post those great examples on the internal company news pages;
    • Use social media posts to highlight those examples, boosting team members’ morale and promoting your values to customers at the same time
  • During one-on-ones with team members, discuss what they really mean to company performance and connect high levels of individual performance to carrying out the values.
  • Include them as part of performance reviews
  • Make them part of the recruitment process, framing questions from the perspective of how candidates might exemplify those values-
  • Then make their importance a key component of the orientation and onboarding process.

 

When you get everyone on the same performance track, using the same values, you have teams that know what’s expected, and you give them a path to follow in laying out their objectives. This is key not only in the office, but especially when working remotely. It gives them a direction they can all follow together, no matter where they are.

 

If you’ve never created your mission, vision, and values, I’m hoping you can see how important they are and how critical it is for you to define them. We’ll address how to do that – even from remote locations – in our next blog!