Hybrid corporate culture: tips for team cohesion

Building and establishing a good corporate culture is a difficult task. Many small and medium-sized companies have spent years on it. Now that the world of work is changing and hybrid working is spreading in many companies, those in charge are faced with a new challenge: How do we successfully build corporate values despite physical distance? Well, here are some tips!

What is a corporate culture?

Basically, the term is understood to mean a collective system of shared values, social norms, beliefs and practices that have a significant influence on common interaction inside and outside the company. It includes all employees as well as executives and management.  

A distinctive corporate culture ensures that...

  • ... employees feel comfortable & engaged.
  • ... employees pull together.
  • ... corporate goals are set & achieved.
  • ... team cohesion is strengthened.
  • ... concerns, fears, but also successes & feedback are openly shared with each other.

It thus forms the foundation of every company - regardless of whether it is a start-up or a large corporation - corporate values are important, especially in the transition to the hybrid working world.

Shaping a virtual corporate culture

But how does an active corporate culture take shape in the midst of a hybrid work environment? The problem is primarily that there is a misconception that corporate values are tied to an office. Since all employees no longer come to the office in the hybrid work model, there is a concern that corporate affiliation will suffer as a result of the alternating model.  

But that doesn't have to be the case! Because even in the hybrid work model, it is possible to build and maintain a distinctive culture and to develop it further. This requires sensitivity, an active feedback culture and plenty of communication.

1. communication & transparency

Even during the transition to the hybrid working model, transparent communication within the team is essential in order to maintain the corporate values in the alternating model. An active change management process involving employees not only ensures that concerns, fears and wishes of the workforce can be addressed, but also that the hybrid corporate culture can be actively worked on across teams.

Regular contact within individual teams and the entire company is very important! Many different small communication channels help to connect the teams with each other. However, the number of channels should remain manageable, because employees are bombarded with a lot of different information every day. Structured communication channels for different concerns make hybrid collaboration more predictable. These include, for example, weekly meetings with the entire team or internal departmental meetings in which the company's course of action is discussed transparently.  

2. encourage informal meetings

To strengthen the sense of belonging and keep the flood of information in check, the corporate culture should also consciously promote breaks. Non-stop meetings are often counterproductive. What is particularly important in the hybrid work model is to consciously promote time for each other. Fifteen minutes in a coffee chat can be enough to connect employees from different teams, build private bonds and promote team spirit.

Especially for new employees in the company, it is important to incorporate company values into onboarding - whether it takes place on-site or online. In these cases, time and space should be given for informal meetings. After all, regular meetings promote team spirit and communicate important values, rituals and work processes.

3. think global & regional at the same time

It is particularly difficult for global companies to maintain a consistent culture and values. Corporate values can change across countries and clash with local culture. Therefore, it is important to find global as well as local corporate values and a policy regarding the change between home office and office.  

One way to promote global culture, for example, is to visit global headquarters for onboarding. There is no better way to communicate values than to talk and interact with employees on site.  

4. organize team events

To strengthen cohesion within the company, team events and team buildings are a powerful way to keep the corporate culture present. For example, "mandatory" social events can take place at regular intervals - whether online or on site. The important thing here is to create routines and traditions that employees enjoy participating in. An online games night or a karaoke night are simple examples that employees look forward to.

At Seatti, for example, we hold regular team outings in various locations, such as Schliersee or Madrid, where the entire team meets and spends several days together. In the past, this has not only made it possible to provide better onboarding for new employees, but has also given us a conscious opportunity to share our company values.  

5. the suitable technique  

In order to build up a hybrid corporate culture and develop a suitable communication strategy, the right technical setup is particularly important. After all, employees who cannot physically participate in events or meetings must also feel integrated. Everyone, whether on-site or in the home office, must be involved in this cultural change and be able to help shape it.  

A technical design component becomes necessary, often dubbed the "third space" between home office and office. And there is a great deal of scope here. This can be the company's existing system landscape, for example, or additional tools can be used for communication. The important thing is that employees feel a strong connection and are an active part of the cultural development.  

How do you build a unified culture in the hybrid model?

Building a unified corporate culture online and on site is a challenge of the new world of work. But with the right tools and open, transparent communication, it can work well. It is important that all employees can communicate with each other at all times and everywhere.

In order for the change and the establishment of clear corporate values to succeed, you also need the right technical set-up. With Seatti, you can quickly and easily integrate hybrid working into your existing system landscape, such as Microsoft Teams. This enables your employees not only to do desk booking, but also location sharing, thus promoting social interaction within the team.

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A portrait from Chris.