By Hope Liu, senior director of organizational learning at the Alliance
Your organization has a distinct culture—the special ingredient that makes it recognizably unique. You see it in the way your team talk to each other, interact with each other, problem solve with each other, and help each other. You see it in the way they decorate their personal space and shared spaces. Your organizational culture is the glue that keeps your teams together and the grease that keeps the organization moving.
With physical separation because of COVID-19, it’s easy to start seeing cracks in your culture. Meetings that used to be quick and simple, now seem challenging as we help each other through technical troubleshooting just to get started. Relationships can also become strained as employees juggle simultaneous roles of caregiver, teacher, employee. Face-to-face learning opportunities offer critical opportunities for staff across the organization to get to know each other in different and more relational ways.
Where to Start
Set out to Create New Models that accomplish your organizational goals.
Now we must do all those things and bridge the distance, but how? First, let’s dispense with the idea that we can “copy and paste” the way we did things in-person to an online environment. (I think we all know that the “Zoom Happy Hour” is not the same as an in-person one.)
Second, since we’re not going to replicate the previous model, we must start with the end goals to build the new model. Some examples are:
- Deliver your compliance training to remote workers
- Preserve and develop your organizational culture
- Help employees to develop stronger relationships or new skills or new attitudes
Consider How Technology Can Help
Third, look for ways to leverage technology to accomplish multiple goals created by this new normal. With intentionality, you can create virtual social spaces, meeting spaces, and learning spaces in a single online platform. You can have employees discuss work, complete training, and track training completion. To maintain social connection, you can have them share their best work tips or their favorite hacks for keeping kids entertained during these long days. You can build culture and accomplish business goals.
The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities can support your organization with technology options that offer ultimate flexibility to support your culture building goals. We can talk technology all day long, but what we really want to talk about is how it can support your specific business goals. It’s important to remember that that technology is just a tool—if you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So, let’s discuss a complete toolbox of tools to help you strengthen and build the culture you want—if it’s at a distance.