You may have read the title of this article and thought, “What exactly is agency culture?” The culture within an agency can encompass a number of things. Simply, it’s the beliefs and values within an organization that are displayed through their mission and vision statement, company environment, operational procedures, work, attitudes, the people, clients and hiring practices, to name a few.
Culture within a company is extremely important. In fact, according to Robert Walters Group, 73% of employees have stated they left a job due to a poor cultural fit. Establishing and maintaining your company’s culture is a project within itself, but throwing a pandemic into the mix, which led some companies to go virtual full-time can be a recipe for disaster.
There are many questions an agency faces when going virtual. How do I onboard my new employees while keeping the culture apparent? How do I keep my current employees feeling that while the outside environment has changed, our agency's environment has not?
First, you should consider your standard operating procedures (SOP) and determine if they are still applicable while working remotely. If the SOPs aren’t sturdy in this new environment, the house can crumble (so to speak). We can’t stress enough to review what you currently have in place and make changes or additions to fit this transition. When your SOP is solid, and your current employees live by them, it makes onboarding a new employee so much easier. New employees are able to pick up on the vibe of an agency whether they are on location or remoting in, so you want them to join the team feeling the confidence and organization, not stress and mess.
Even though it may be disheartening to remove some of your past office social events, try to look at this time as a blank canvas that you will fill with new art. What are some things that you can take advantage of now that your team is working from home?
Virtual happy hours have become increasingly popular in the virtual world. It gives you the opportunity to not only visit with your coworkers but possibly receive cameo appearances from their pets and children, providing a more intimate setting. If there’s normally a dress code in place, you can switch things up and encourage your employees to wear comfy loungewear and call it “Sweatpants Fridays” or something clever to make a day of wearing pajamas feel extra special.
When the weather gets warmer (depending on where you reside) agencies can designate meetings as outside “walking” meetings. Inhaling fresh air and getting your body moving while getting work accomplished will motivate anyone!
This final idea may seem simple but what if you turn the tables to your employees? What is something they’ve seen other companies do to turn lemons into lemonade? Do they have an idea that they’d like to spearhead to bring a new flavor to the culture of the company? Getting your employees involved not only makes them feel valued, but it also makes them feel heard.
Most importantly; have some grace with yourself. We are all dealing with these changes together and if anything, working with each other and showing you care about your agency’s culture will speak volumes to your team.