It’s no secret that engaged, or ‘connected,’ employees can positively influence company culture and ultimately increase profitability. Unfortunately, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, many of us were forced to shift into remote work survival mode. This shift put up new “doors” in our once-open office environments and just like that we were disconnected.

Now, more than ever, it is vital for our employees’ and our companies’ well-being that we continue to help our teams stay connected and inspired.

Develop a Culture Champion

Before you can take off and wow your colleagues with an incredible calendar of events, you must build the team that will help drive and sustain your culture. Start with developing a ‘Culture Champion’.

The ideal Culture Champion is someone who is fired up about camaraderie and team building and is able to help brainstorm and execute engaging events based on your team’s needs. If you are a People & Culture team of one, you might be tempted to take on this role yourself, but consider reaching out to another colleague who has shown interest in developing your company culture.

Working alongside a Culture Champion will not only hold you accountable and allow you to be more strategic, but they will also be your key influencer as you market your new culture.

Recruit Micro-Influencers

Culture building is a team sport and the more people you have driving your initiatives the more effective they will be in transforming your community

The ideal micro-influencers are rising leaders who have shown alignment with your company’s values and mission. Rising leaders have developed trust amongst their colleagues but are not officially on the leadership team yet. This unique, in-between role, allows them to have greater insight into what will resonate with your greater community and the power to inspire those around them.

While rising leaders are ideal micro-influencers as they will be most aligned with your strategic vision, you’ll also want to recruit congenial micro-influencers as they’ll naturally draw in others with their good-natured friendliness.

5 Ways to Implement Your Culture

1.Start a Competition

One thing that has not changed in the new world is people’s love for a good competition! Whether you like to be a competitor or just a spectator, starting a competition is a great way to keep people engaged with your company culture.

Similar to the NFL combine, where scouts, coaches, and team managers get to preview athletes’ skills during a week of physical and mental tests, our agency has started its own combine with events 3 times per week. These events don’t just test your strength but also creativity and wit! We’ll end our month-long combine with a draft and tournament during the final week. Some of our favorite challenges so far have been Celebrity Impressions and Code Breaking. If you have a budget for a small prize, like $5 Amazon gift cards, this can help incentivize competitors as well!

2. Add Music

Another great unifier is the love of music! An easy place to start is starting a Music Club where you can swap playlists and maybe even start a collaborative one! Adventurous teams can take it a step further and hold a Karaoke night or Musical Bingo!

We loved playing Disney Musical Bingo at Direct Agents! While in traditional bingo you mark off the letter & number called out, here we listened to a 15-second snippet of a song and had to find it on our bingo card. For an added level of difficulty, try playing a part of the song that does not include the title or shorten the snippet to 5 or 10 seconds. We’re excited to play again with 90’s jams up next!

3. Catch Up Over Coffee

While many teams are encouraging video meetings, less vocal employees can often get lost in large group calls. Keep these team members connected by inviting them for coffee! Set some time with individual team members to chat over coffee, tea, or maybe even lunch.

This type of casual setting is a good way to catch up on how they are feeling and what they are doing to cope in these difficult times. This is also a great time to find out what is working for them and where they might need extra assistance or guidance.

4. Get Moving

Exercising is a great mood booster and is essential to staying physically and mentally healthy. As gyms remain closed and we are limiting our time outdoors, scheduling time to get our bodies moving is vital.

Our company has hired personal trainers based in NYC across disciplines like HIIT, boxing, and yoga to hold hour long– no-equipment needed– sessions in the mornings and evenings so everyone has an opportunity to workout from home.

If your team does not have a budget to hire a personal trainer, check out Youtube and Instagram for easy to follow workout videos. One of your employees might also be a yogi or athlete and volunteer to lead a simple 30-minute workout.

5. Celebrate

Keep morale up by continuing to celebrate special events like birthdays and work anniversaries. Using creative tools like Canva and Google Draw you can create digital birthday cards that everyone can sign, just like you would at the office. You can also record short video messages and edit them together for a video card!

If you have a budget for a small treat, consider sending cookies or a special pastry from a local shop for an extra sweet celebration!

This is a difficult time for all, but there are ways to brighten up the days and bring people together. You don’t need to start implementing a bunch of ideas, but starting with one or two can draw people together and remind them that you all are still one team. Employees recognize and appreciate the effort put into creating these moments with everyone.

Sara Martinez-Noriega, Director of HR at Direct Agents

If you have any questions – or would like to learn more, please reach out to [email protected]