Culture is your onboarding process and the way you treat people from the moment they join your company. It’s the aesthetics of your website, and your brand as a whole. Culture comprises the policies and rules that dictate how you want people to carry themselves as representatives of your business.
In this post, we’ll cover five of the top five culture killers in the workplace today, offer solutions, share video training templates, and discuss how to create training that builds culture in a remote team.
Addressing culture killers to improve remote team communication
A good culture can be a deciding factor in employees joining and remaining at a company, while a broken culture can lead to high turnover. COVID-19 changed the workplace landscape and culture expectations and the challenge to adapt presents a huge hurdle. After surveying 2,000 employees at large companies (500+ employees) we’ve identified a few key culture areas to focus on, so your company will not only survive but also thrive at remote work.
Employees want to feel connected, but not 24/7
The problem: Across generations, employees are reporting an improved work-life balance after shifting to a remote environment. Although, there are still frustrations: 40% of employees report feeling disconnected, 34% of employees report extra technical issues or delays, 34% of Gen Zers are working from their beds, work-life balance difficulties are disproportionately impacting women, and more.
The solution: It’s easy to work more than necessary from home, so it’s important for employees to create a work rhythm. Assess your team or company expectations and how you set an example. Are you respecting time-zone differences or do you expect employees to reply to emails and messages at all hours of the day? If so, it might be time to shift to more people-friendly policies.
Mental wellness is needed more than ever
The problem: Even though work-life balance has improved lately, many employees are struggling with increased anxiety and uncertainty from factors both within and outside of work. It’s easy to feel disconnected from your team when they’re little more than heads in a video call or names in a chat window. While you could write off this feeling of isolation as a symptom of being remote, some work-related isolation can be remedied with improved communication.
The solution: Despite being online and no longer in the office, you can gather a lot of contextual clues on how your teammates are feeling from their nonverbal communication. Note how your teammates appear during video calls. Do they looking happy and well-rested? Or do they seem stressed and run down?
Set up regular check-ins with your team, and give them time to have a quality one-on-one conversation with you. Use this time to see how they’re doing, and really get a feel for whether or not they’re doing well. This is also a great time to lead by example and tell your team what you’re doing to practice mental wellness.
Kids and remote work needs to be addressed
The problem: Remote work is an entirely new way of working and living for many people. Our survey revealed some very clear differences between generations when it comes to expectations around remote work and children.
Kids often make uninvited video-call appearances. For some of us, it’s an adorable distraction and a cheerful surprise. For others, well, not so much. Twenty-six percent of respondents believe kids on video calls are an etiquette violation, a whopping 33% of boomers say kids shouldn’t be on video calls. This clashes heavily with Gen Zers, with only 11% of them feeling kids on calls are an etiquette gaffe.
The solution: You never know what others are going through—especially on a remote team. It’s important to be considerate and empathetic toward others. Those with children at home may be unable to get help or may be dealing with any number of situations. Effective remote collaboration across teams depends on having explicit discussions about empathy and team norms. Start the conversation with your teammates and nudge employees towards empathy
Company training needs are evolving
The problem: Even prior to the pandemic, employees most preferred self-led online training (51%). And increasingly since work from home began for many employees, workers are seeking training methods outside PowerPoint and wishing their company would implement video training.
When it comes to training topics, some company training course topics are matching what employees are seeking (courses on ethics, data security, and mental health), but some needs are quickly changing and going unmet (management in a remote environment, health safety, having difficult conversations with superiors).
The solution: Consistent, timely, and clear communication is key. Make it a point to ask your team for feedback on remote training and internal communications. Make it a point to dedicate time to addressing evolving employee needs. According to our survey, employees are seeking to learn about health safety (53%), technical skills (48%), and mental health and self-care (45%).
People could use a vacation, but most workers aren’t taking one
The problem: Most people dream about taking vacations, but do they ever actually take them? The survey says, “Nope.”
While 58% stated prior to the pandemic they couldn’t take vacations because of their workload, the vacation woes didn’t end there. Another 27% claimed that guilt about taking a vacation was their main motivator for throwing away PTO.
Most problematic? 20% of employees claim that their employer shames those who use all their vacation time. This type of culture can leave employees overworked and burnt out.
The solution: Once again, this is an issue that can be remedied via clear communication. Drive home the importance of vacation and mental wellness from the moment people are hired. This is also a great time to lead by example. Take time off yourself, and encourage others in leadership positions to take time off—doing so can send a signal to others that time off is completely acceptable. Setting clear expectations can be helpful
How to create training that builds culture in a remote team
Remote work culture is a nuanced area and, as such, requires nuanced training. Video is a great way to communicate complex topics, making it ideal for your training. But what should you specifically cover, and how should you cover it?
The template videos above help, but the following tips will help you create thorough custom training materials that cover the necessities and curb future culture issues at your specific company.
Use the right training format
Presentation is often everything. This is especially true in remote training, where you no longer have the benefit of in-person connection.
In our survey, we found 48% wanted to see more video training implemented and 39% said they preferred self-led video training courses. So, before you open up another PowerPoint, consider if you could send a video instead. Or as a start, how about adding video to your PowerPoint presentations?
Keep this in mind as you develop your training content. Animation is accessible and easy with Vyond and can be paired with Articulate Storyline 360 to create interactive remote training courses. This allows you to give your team the training they want, with the freedom to tackle it when it’s most convenient for their schedule.
Also, consider rewarding your team with something fun if they complete their training first, or at all. Even a tiny gift, such as a custom pin with your company’s logo or a gift card, can be a nice way to keep morale high.
Cover the basics
Videos are also an effective way to communicate your sick time and vacation policies. It’s easy for these kinds of policies to feel dense, but with a video, you can quickly break down use cases with animated scenarios. For example, take a look at this breakdown of parental leave policy.
Communicate additional policies clearly
Be sure to communicate additional policies your workplace may have, such as device use, conference call etiquette, appropriate Slack chat, and so on.
No two workplaces are the same, so what worked at one place may not fly at your current workplace. Use animated training videos to play out scenarios demonstrating which behaviors are and aren’t okay. For example, you can create a training scenario that depicts your company’s retaliation policy.
Use animated videos to keep the tone light
Animated videos can also lighten the mood when dealing with serious, complex issues. This can make your audience (i.e., your employees) feel more at ease when learning about the subject.
For example, see how bedside manner is approached in a simple but helpful way with this video.
Many topics, like harassment and retaliation, can be difficult to broach for both employers and employees. An animated video makes it possible to get the tone just right without making light of a serious situation or being melodramatic when being somber is needed.
Pair text with training videos
Text based assets paired with training videos makes the content easy to revisit, search through, and reference when needed. Effective documentation alongside video training allows your team to access information at their own pace or fill any knowledge gaps that may have developed over time (everyone needs a refresher from time to time).
Not only that, but text also helps reading-based learners absorb the material, while the animated video assists your visual learners. This increases the chances your team is actually absorbing the information you’re sharing.
A happier, healthier workplace
Create proper training to ensure that your team is on the same page. We’re all human, and it’s possible that people are still harboring frustrations even after thorough training. But with enough patience and vigilance, you can avoid having a workplace that feels on edge, sick, and in dire need of a vacation.
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