How To Develop Your Corporate Culture With The Rise Of Hybrid Work?

How to develop your corporate culture when remote work becomes normal? This is one of the questions that have been bothering employers and managers since the start of the health crisis. Reviewing its strategy on this subject is therefore essential in order to maintain the commitment of the teams.

March 17, 2020: France is confined, which announces the entry of telework into the lives of many employees. Essential to ensure the continuity of business activity during the pandemic, it has not ceased to raise concerns among managers since then. Dispersion of teams, isolation of employees, lack of communication… Consequences that would hinder the commitment of employees and their sense of belonging to an organization.

While remote work is still relevant despite the health lull and remains particularly popular with employees, these elements relating to corporate culture must be rethought by employers and team leaders. This is to establish a healthy working environment that would promote the development of employees and strengthen their desire to evolve within the organization.

To initiate this process, a precise knowledge of what corporate culture refers to as well as a good understanding of the contemporary issues facing the world of work are essential.

So, what are the principles and benefits of organizational culture? Has the health crisis had an impact on its development? How do you maintain it in times when employee expectations have changed and hybrid working is becoming the norm? These are the topics we will discuss in our article.

How to develop your corporate culture: 4 pillars to give it meaning

What is corporate culture?

Corporate culture, or organizational culture, is a set of characteristics that determine the identity of an organization for employees, customers and partners.

As defined by Gartner, this concept includes:

  • Decision-making methods
  • Operating Styles
  • The company philosophy
  • The organizational structure
  • The level of employee involvement
  • Internal communication methods

The mission of corporate culture is not only to set an entity apart from its competitors, but also to improve communication between team members in order to create a feeling of cohesion and unity.

Creating a corporate culture serves to ensure the proper functioning of its organization. In order to give it an extra soul, four essential elements must be taken into account:

The 4 pillars to create a corporate culture that makes sense.

Myths: the company must have its own, inspiring story. These can be funny or moving anecdotes, challenges she has had to face, failures she has experienced and successes of which she is proud.

The vision: the company must define and disseminate clear objectives in order to give meaning to its actions and engage its employees in its projects.

Values: the company must determine values that resemble it in order to transmit a guide to good conduct to all of its teams.

  1. Rites: the company must put in place a series of symbols and tangible elements that reflect its philosophy. They can take the form of a graphic charter, logo, seminars, integration policies for new recruits, etc.


How has the health crisis changed the business world and the perception of work?

2020… And telework was

7% is the rate of employees in France who usually worked from home before the pandemic. Telework therefore mainly concerns the IT and telecommunications professions. The situation changes from March 2020: according to figures from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the rate of teleworking has more than doubled in France compared to 2019.

A generalization of remote work which contributes to the acceleration of the digital transition for many companies. In this new configuration, collaborative tools are the most popular in order to maintain communication between teams. However, their use sometimes fails to make up for the lack of human contact and to replace the social aspect of office life. This estrangement of employees is likely to affect their team spirit as well as their commitment, and therefore can harm the corporate culture.

From the pandemic came new employee expectations

Since the health crisis and the democratization of teleworking, a wave of “great resignation” has overwhelmed the United States: 47 million employees haveterminated their employment contract in 2021 alone. A trend that could cross the Atlantic and reach us. According to a study by the Department of Research, Studies and Statistics (Dares), France recorded a record number of nearly 520,000 resignations per quarter between the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, including 470,000 resignations from CDI.

Also, during the pandemic, employees would have changed their perception of work and would no longer hesitate to question its meaning. Among their new aspirations would be the questions of:

  • Health: employees want their company to take care of their physical and mental health.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Employees expect organizations to be exemplary in terms of inclusion and diversity.
  • Flexibility: employees want greater freedom in choosing their schedules and organizing their work in order to achieve a balance between personal and professional life.

As part of the “Company Culture” survey that we conducted in June 2022 among 997 employees, flexibility is particularly perceived as a criterion of professional satisfaction by those questioned. Thus, 37% explicitly require it (21% in terms of the workplace and 16% in terms of working hours) while 39% say they want to promote a healthy balance between private and professional life.

The increased risk of resignations linked to increasingly difficult recruitment could somewhat change the balance of power between employees and employers. Companies must therefore remain attentive to the expectations of their employees in order to continue to encourage their commitment, guarantee their retention and ensure the solidity of their organizational culture.


Towards a standardization of hybrid work

Even if it is not always unanimous among managers, telework has not been completely eradicated within most structures. In question ? A position far from shared by employees who continue to express a desire to maintain remote work in their professional habits.

In a context where the enthusiasm of employees for the flexibility implied by this way of working is evident, it is difficult for employers to impose on them a diametrically opposed configuration. Especially since, according to our study, the elimination of remote work within their organization could represent a reason to resign for 51% of the employees questioned practicing it partially or full time.

Indeed, the balance of power having evolved somewhat, one of the challenges for companies today is to keep their employees, particularly the most efficient. In France, many leaders have realized that hybrid working will continue to develop and would be ready to allow flexibility in the pace between on-site and remote work. As proof, 63% of employees who started working from home before or during the pandemic say that hybrid working has become a permanent organizational model in their company.

However, with remote working still alive, how can business leaders and managers strengthen cohesion between teams and their sense of belonging to an organization?

(Re)creating a corporate culture today: tips for managers and employers

According to Gartner, in the face of the normalization of hybrid working, 68% of leadership teams continue to rethink their organizational culture. To do this, taking into account the new ways of thinking of employees is essential. In addition to allowing telecommuting several days a week, other parameters come into play for managers and employers if they wish to bring their company culture up to date.

1, Introduce participatory management

Giving instructions and making all the decisions, these are the principles of directive management. However, if it is the most widespread in the world, it is far from being the only one that can be used. New employee expectations combined with the rise of hybrid working are now giving way to a desire for more flexibility and autonomy, which can make 100% directive management obsolete.

Introducing participatory management into its corporate culture can enable managers to meet contemporary challenges. This consists of involving employees in decision-making and problem solving in mnow a permanent dialogue. With trust, listening, delegation and communication as key words, participative management helps to strengthen the involvement of employees, particularly when they work remotely, as well as to improve their well-being.

For optimal collaboration, managers can consult with their teams through process efficiency survey tools and get their feedback on how to improve them. In order to better organize and delegate, the use of task organization tools can also be useful to them.

  1. Giving meaning to the tasks and projects to be carried out

Increasing the commitment and involvement of employees also means giving meaning to their position. First of all, it is important to take into account the primary sources of motivation that led them to work for the company. Beyond the level of remuneration, the nature of the project in which they are expected to participate and the tasks offered can represent drivers. Valuing their daily activity and explaining how it is essential for the proper functioning of the organization encourages employees and reassures them of their abilities. Regular feedback sessions, face-to-face or by videoconference, are welcome to support and guide them.

Setting them clear and achievable goals also helps to increase their motivation, as does evaluating them based on the work accomplished and not the amount of hours spent in the office or online. In many corporate cultures, staying at work for a long time is seen as proof of efficiency. However, this received idea leads to the practice of presenteeism which has no beneficial consequences either on performance or on well-being. Conversely, a culture of results could be synonymous with professional fulfillment and empowerment.

  1. Promote fluid and effective communication

Long before the pandemic, a scourge was already affecting business life: meetingitis, or the mania for organizing useless work meetings. During the health crisis, this phenomenon would have transformed for employees into “Zoom fatigue”, a weariness with regard to videoconferencing tools. Adapting to the hybrid work mode also involves redefining your relationship to meetings. Limiting their recourse, doing them in small groups, preparing them well, determining concrete objectives, going to the essentials, challenging participants to encourage their contribution are all tips to follow to make them effective. Communication between manager and subordinate can also be facilitated through individual interviews (formal or informal, on site or remotely) where the culture of listening and feedback would be required.

To promote communication between employees in the era of hybrid work, the use of software remains essential, in particular that of unified communications tools. By combining synchronous (live) communication, asynchronous (delayed) communication and an IT work environment, they allow teams to work collaboratively and find key project information.

  1. Gradually rebuild the bond between employees

According to our survey, 69% of employees surveyed have never met face-to-face with members of their team or department. In addition, 46% say their employer has not organized in-person corporate events since 2020. However, in a hybrid mode of work, managers must work to reconnect with colleagues in order to promote team spirit and sense of belonging so dear to the corporate culture. Now that the time has come for the health lull, this can be done little by little through not only face-to-face brainstorming sessions but also more informal one-off physical meetings such as team lunches or afterworks. Interactions between colleagues who rarely see each other can also be encouraged through the reintroduction of seminars. In order to arouse the desire and interest of employees, they must be relevant, fun and impactful.

Cohesion between colleagues must also be privileged online in the era of hybrid work. It can be done through digital meetings, icebreaker question sessions, quizzes, surveys or informal discussion spaces where you can share your interests.


  1. Redefine your employer brand

The corporate culture is at the service of the employer brand. This HR tool covers the internal image and external reputation of an organization, and aims to both retain talent and attract new ones. Many criteria define it. This may be the working atmosphere, the flexibility of location and hours, but also thecompany values. These must respond to current social, political and environmental issues. Questions related to diversity and ecology animate employees today. Disseminating messages to this effect and organizing, for example, volunteering activities could arouse their interest or commitment. However, it is essential that these values are in line with reality and are therefore accompanied by concrete actions, in addition to being transmitted on a daily basis through recruitment and management methods.

6, Establish a work-life balance

One of the disadvantages of teleworking pointed out by employees during periods of confinement concerned the lack of separation between professional and private life. When its scope is not clearly defined, remote work does in fact blur the lines between these two spheres. Employees may have to devote more time than necessary to their professional tasks and always make themselves available, even in the evening. However, these habits are sources of exhaustion and often prove to be counterproductive. To make hybrid working harmonious, it is up to managers to maintain a healthy balance, for example by clearly banning the sending of emails outside working hours. Other measures or behaviors can be adopted, such as discussing the workload with employees and adapting it if necessary so that it does not encroach on their personal time.


Hybrid working doesn’t have to be a threat to corporate culture

With the rise of hybrid working, one of the concerns managers may have is to avoid isolation and maintain team spirit.

However, as franceinfo reports, a majority of employees believe that exchanges between colleagues have deteriorated, which could impact the quality of the collective. However, the decrease in interactions is perceived positively by some employees for whom fewer exchanges means fewer constant interruptions and therefore more efficiency.

As a result, the link between employees has certainly weakened with the advent of teleworking, but their involvement has proven to be stronger with an acceleration in performance. Even better, according to a study by Gartner, 76% of employees who have recently practiced hybrid working consider that the organizational culture of their structure has improved. And this in a considerable way for 32% of them.

Thus, the alliance of on-site work and teleworking would not be an obstacle to encouraging the commitment of its employees and uniting them around the company’s projects, quite the contrary.

However, this scheme involves new challenges for managers and employers. The behaviors and measures they intend to adopt will be decisive in maintaining the satisfaction of their subordinates and guaranteeing a strong organizational culture over the long term.

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