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Having a winning culture is key to success for a business of any size. We see culture come up a lot in large companies such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, but often miss it in small to mid-size companies. Culture is incredibly important for the brand of your company, your customer base, and most importantly the satisfaction, and therefore the productivity, of your employees. Building that type of culture that exudes excellence is difficult to do, not to mention trying to do it remotely. The following are a few items that you can leverage to help build or maintain the culture of your business, all while abiding by the ‘new normal’ imposed by COVID-19.

  1. Engage: Engaging with your employees on multiple different levels is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to help build a winning culture. One of the many things I took away from the military is that soldiers respond much better to leaders that talk to them, care about them, and know about their lives. Whenever I took a new position, I would carry around a small green notebook and take notes on every soldier in my unit. I would memorize their name, where they are from, their spouse name, their kid’s names, what they do for fun, etcetera. This allowed me to personalize my conversations with them and therefore increase my reputability as their leader. This allows managers to create a winning environment where people matter, their personal lives matter, their thoughts matter, and they trust that management cares about them. Working remote should by no means quell the need to engage with employees but should create an opportunity for leaders to understand more about the people in their organization and to bolster their organizational values. Learn more about your organization, down to the people level. This is the basic building block for the next items on the way to a winning culture.
  • Empathize: Everyone acknowledges that empathy is a crucial characteristic for a person involved in client or prospect engagement. It is also vital for building your remote company culture. Engaging with your employees is only part of the process and needs to be followed by empathy. Empathizing with your employees allows you to understand their motivations, pain points, and how to address their issues and concerns. Now, more than ever, empathy comes to the forefront of necessary leadership attributes to build an extraordinary company. You need to be able to understand people and their situations to create policies and procedures to accommodate them and enable their performance. The best boss I ever had offered me a remote position to accommodate my family situation. He understood the value I brought to the company and allowed me to adjust my situation because he knew it would confirm the winning and accepting culture of this company. It resonated with me and enhanced my productivity because I knew my company and my boss understood me, my problems, and were willing to adjust to my needs. Empathy is incredibly important to your culture and you, as a business owner or leader, should be taking the time to empathize with your subordinates.
  • Incentivize: Nothing drives motivation and morale of a workforce more than an intriguing incentive package. This is incredibly important in any organization and is a surefire way to physically manifest the care and empathy a company has for its employees. This may be a salary bump for superior performance, adjusted bonus or quota metrics to make goals more attainable during the COVID-19 economy, or small gifts and tokens of appreciation for company contest winners or just to say that the company is thinking about them. Sending flowers ‘just because it’s Wednesday’ will surely yield positive results from employees and show that the company leadership is really thinking about them during this trying time. Start coming up with creative incentive strategies in order to confirm that your company truly embraces a winning culture, especially in the age of COVID-19.

A winning culture is an aspect of an organization that sets it apart from the rest and drives success. Three simple steps won’t be the end all be all way to start creating or nurturing this culture, but is a great way to get started.

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