Protecting and Emphasizing Company Culture Is
Even More Important During Times of Uncertainty
— This memo is part of a series of articles and perspectives prepared by Accel-KKR in relation to COVID-19 impacts. —
This time of uncertainty has upended many work environments in the software industry. Many work teams quickly moved to remote working during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and now we are all coming to accept that remote working will likely remain in some form for the foreseeable future. It can be hard to maintain a sense of company identity – not to mention the challenge to help address the stressors that employees face in juggling changing work and home expectations. It is during this time that your company culture becomes essential: it acts as a compass to guide team cohesion, decision-making, communications and so much more.
Things to Consider:
- What are your company’s core values? Embrace them overtly (e.g. express them during all-hands meetings with employees, even with your clients).
- Reiterating your values in implied situations is arguably even more important. E.g. if one of your values is ‘accountability’, then managers need to trust that employees will complete their assignments even if the work is completed outside the conventional “9a-to-5p” window.
- Being understanding and accommodating go a long way towards building goodwill. Home and work lives are mashing into one, sometimes messy, reality: acknowledging that and even having a good sense of humor can lessen the stress on employees.
- Above all, overcommunicate. The healthiest virtual teams meet frequently: sometimes once if not twice weekly, and often daily for critical, time-sensitive work. Meetings do not have to be long, even 5-10 minute check-ins are sufficient; it is more useful that these occur frequently and consistently. For important messages: use several different modes of communication like video calls, emails and team meetings. Utilize team platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams for formal collaboration as well as for social “water cooler” moments.
In a recent leadership program, Accel-KKR Consulting Group led a virtual training for the people managers of its portfolio companies across the world on leading virtual teams and improving virtual team effectiveness. We invite board members and C-suite leaders of enterprise software companies to contact us for a complimentary guide.