The longer I am in the workforce, the more I see the importance of purposefully building culture in our organizations. Interstates has been investing in building a high-performance, high-trust culture for as long as I have been a part of the company, and this culture is what drew me to come to work for them over 20 years ago. While the following article was written before COVID-19 was a reality, much of it still rings true.
As we grow, we have found that many of our remote locations tend to take on a variation of our corporate culture. While we do welcome some variances among our offices and want employees to have a collective to identify with, it is important that these subcultures still align with the core identity of our organizational culture.
Many in the systems integrator community are probably facing similar issues as they add locations across the country, so here are some lessons learned along our journey that might be helpful elsewhere:
- Know why you want to replicate corporate culture in your remote offices. Are you doing this to drive employee engagement, or are you just hoping for them to use your systems and tools correctly? In Start With Why, Simon Sinek says, “When employees belong, they will guarantee your success. And they won’t be working hard for you and looking for innovative solutions for you, they will be doing it for themselves.” What is it that drives your employees to want to come to work every day? This is the part of your culture that you must replicate at your remote offices and virtual teams.
- Find culture ambassadors in each office that you can trust to live out and teach your culture. Find one or two people who have already built trust with your team there, and then ensure that they are 100% bought in to your corporate culture. Help them understand the importance of this ambassador role, and then release them to live out your culture and encourage others to join them in the pursuit of your “Why.”
- Talk about your “Why” in both formal and informal settings. When corporate leadership visits the office, make sure you not only live out the culture but also purposefully talk about it. Spend time with your culture ambassadors to get their feedback on how it is going. Encourage them and offer to support them any way you can.
Maintaining a corporate culture is difficult even when you are with all of your people every day, but it can be even harder when you are separated from them by miles. It pays great dividends to really invest in setting, maintaining, and living out the valued tenets of your culture every day.
This article was originally published on Automation World blog
Jeff Miller, Director of Project Management