The world is a different place than it was six months ago. The emergence of COVID-19 caused many organizations worldwide to pivot (almost overnight) to an entirely virtual workforce, leaving leaders to pick up the pieces and quickly figure out how to manage their teams in this new way. And while no one could have anticipated the crises that 2020 would bring, it’s up to leaders of all levels to proactively support their workforce’s ability to connect and engage with each other in this new normal.
So, what can leaders do during this time to support company culture, strengthen relationships, and meet the unique needs of their team, virtually?
Solid Organizational Culture Is Essential
In a recent HBR article, “5 Questions That (Newly) Virtual Leaders Should Ask Themselves,” Melissa Raffoni details some of the factors that make managing virtual teams difficult and suggests new ways that leaders can support—and even strengthen—their teams during this time. Raffoni’s reflection on how company culture can create personalized support right now really resonated with us.
From our research, we know that culture serves as the foundation to success, and that people who evaluate job opportunities hold an organization’s culture and values second only to work-life balance. In this same study, “culture & values” beat out other factors such as “compensation & benefits”, “career opportunities”, and “senior leadership.”
“Many of the most resilient leaders I work with have accomplished [strong culture] by finding opportunities to align, engage, and inspire their teams around a purpose. Right now, teams need to feel connected, not only to the company’s mission but also to each other,” Raffoni writes. “One way to accomplish this is to regularly set aside time for team members to highlight and share wins delivered either to customers, each other, or to the business itself.”
What Solutions Are Out There?
As many organizations find themselves scrambling to meet deadlines and bottom lines, company culture can so easily be thrown to the wayside. But culture, or maybe more specifically, how people engage and connect with one another to get things done, is arguably more important now than ever before. Why? Because in this time of unprecedented disruption, organizations must proactively shape their cultures in a way that supports their rebuilding efforts. Without a solid framework and focused intention, culture could emerge in a way that drags down employee morale, collaboration, and performance.
The choice seems clear, yet actively shaping culture remains one of the hardest things to do. So, the question stands: How can organizations actively “preserve and strengthen” company culture amidst all this change and uncertainty? There’s no one universal answer, but we do have some ideas on where you can start.
Everything DiSC Workplace® can help leaders optimize the work from home experience for their people. As leaders take on the imperative task of improving their teams’ remote work situation, Everything DiSC Workplace can serve as a solid foundation to help build strong culture and connection with one another by uncovering insights that help deepen self-awareness, inspire appreciation of others, and offer pragmatic tips for building better relationships—all based on your DiSC style.
Take, for example, Sabrina, who’s just discovered that she has a C-style. Through her personalized profile, Sabrina learns about her workplace motivators and stressors. One of these stressors includes making big decisions quickly—something Sabrina has struggled with for years, but wasn’t sure how to deal with. Using her newfound DiSC knowledge, Sabrina finds herself able to navigate this stressor more easily the next time it presents itself, telling her teammates, “I need some time to form my answer. I’ll get back to you on that later today.”
On the flip side, DiSC can help provide a better understanding of others based on their DiSC style. For instance, say Sabrina’s coworker, Juaquin, has an iD style. Juaquin might be fully comfortable with (and even enjoy) making highly important snap decisionsؙ—after all, iD-styles have a tendency to be fast-paced and outspoken—and might be frustrated by Sabrina’s need to take a more cautious approach. However, knowing the differences between their DiSC styles allows Juaquin to give Sabrina the space she needs to draw a conclusion in her own time. (Want more information on how DiSC style influences work from home tendencies? Check out our Getting to Know YOU: Working from Home blog post!)
It’s Time for Leaders to Take (Virtual) Action
These vignettes are just a few high-level examples of how DiSC can improve organizational culture—one interaction at a time. What’s more is that, for the first time ever, this best-selling training experience is available virtually. With the launch of the Catalyst™ digital platform, Abbot Consulting has access to new capabilities designed to create an impactful virtual training experience that helps your people create more impactful interactions—even as they work from home. And with a tool like Workplace on Catalyst™, your organization can be better prepared for whatever lies ahead.
“There is no going back to exactly where we were before,” Raffoni concludes. “New opportunities will open up—maybe full virtual workforces on a level we’ve never seen. And thanks to an unforeseen time in our history, you’ll be ready for it, with new skills in place to truly lead, whether from home or the office, more effectively than before.”
It’s up to today’s leaders to invest in supporting their workforce’s ability to connect in this new virtual environment. But while nurturing and shaping culture during this unprecedented time is not necessarily an obvious or quick approach, Everything DiSC Workplace provides a springboard to help remote workforces remain connected, aligned, and engaged.
This eBook explores the connection between agility and emotional intelligence, the perceived impact it has on individual and organizational performance, and a proven methodology for development at scale: Everything DiSC® Agile EQ™