It was not long ago that thinking of company culture brought us to a Mad Men-esque workplace, with its hierarchies that defined how people relate to each other, whom they communicated with and how. But reality has changed along with the demands of Millennials and inter-connected mobile workers operating in today’s hybrid workplace model, which requires an inclusive, feedback-based workplace culture to develop a meaningful employee experience.

Traditionally, company culture was shaped by a small group of stakeholders and tied in a performative way to the physical office space. It held little meaning outside of the office, because it was mainly defined by the material perks provided at each location and by the spontaneous conversations and interactions held in its common spaces. As a result, culture followed directives from the executive team, instead of being something that bloomed organically among team members. This model is inherently unable to support remote employees, who consequently feel left out, unable to participate in important social interactions  and perhaps even undervalued within the company. 

With the accelerated arrival of the hybrid workplace, some shared spaces have been lost and companies have come to rely on technology to connect people. This shift has enabled employees to participate and play an active role in redefining and shaping their company’s culture.

It’s All About Employee Experience

A recent Linkedin Global Talent Trends Study found that employee experience was chosen by talent professionals as the top trend impacting the future of recruitment and HR, with a direct impact on retention rates and on a company’s ability to build a strong employer brand. Traditional rules changed when Millennials took over the workforce and started dictating the pace and direction they were looking for in their workspaces. 

However, it has been reported that 1 in 3 companies do not consistently act on employee feedback, and the result is employees who feel disengaged and devalued, less productive, and less present. Team morale is hurting and so are retention rates. 

One of the many challenges that business leaders are facing today is how to connect the dots and make sure that their investment in employee wellbeing is creating a meaningful impact on their employee experience. More than ever before, the hybrid workplace requires a mix of strategic planning and technology tools to create a culture plan that is tailored to each company’s goals. 

Creating meaningful experiences for your team 

Democratizing company culture means listening to what your teams need to thrive, and meeting those needs. It means giving them the tools to express their thoughts and desires and the ability to co-create a curated plan that they will appreciate and nurture. These combined efforts work toward the goal of engaging and retaining employees, while strengthening culture. 

Recent studies show that in this new virtual workplace employees are working more hours, feeling isolated, and struggling with mental health. A recent Hays Salary Guide report for example, indicated that reduced social interaction, increased workloads, and a lack of well-being and mental health support are among concerns cited by Canadian employees. Despite their concerns, 54% of employers admit to doing nothing to change it. 

We understand that creating and improving a culture plan is not an easy task. It requires planning, alignment, budget allocation and, most importantly, open communication. Through Thriver’s platform, business leaders can listen to what their teams want, book activities in advance for them, and review their feedback after each event. In other words, technology is helping culture agents simplify program management while simultaneously opening new communication channels and providing employees with a platform to voice their views.

The future of company culture is a two-way street 

One of the keys to employee retention is for employees to feel genuinely connected and represented in their company culture. The leadership team and employees will need to collaborate and work together to narrow in on what they want their workplace culture to be. This is crucial because it enables every individual to play a leading part in developing its meaning and relate on a deeper level while fostering authentic connections. Culture is to be understood as an ongoing and organic element of a business, being created by the people or developed alongside them. When employees are not confined within a particular space, which is the case in today’s hybrid workplace, a democratized company culture exists where its people are. 

What this culture looks like will be unique to each company, but by understanding the importance of enabling a feedback-friendly environment, and the impact of this on the bottom line and recruiting efforts, employers will remove assumptions and trust their people, who in turn will trust employers. 

Goal-Based Culture Programs 

Technology is now enabling innovative solutions to revolutionize workplace culture. For example, through Thriver’s platform, business leaders can create a quarterly tailored culture program to fit their team’s needs. Programs are built to align with the company’s goals, such as strengthening employee relationships, celebrating company milestones, or onboarding new employees. 

Through Thriver’s platform, employees can vote in advance on which activities they want to participate in, and provide feedback about the experience afterwards. Managers are then empowered to make decisions using insights provided by employees to constantly improve their culture plans. 

Ultimately, in this new landscape, technology helps to streamline culture programs and make them scalable across teams, offices, and locations by removing barriers and bringing everyone together. 
For more information on Thriver’s VX solution, visit us here!