As a business owner, you definitely want to be successful, so you focus on offering quality products and excellent customer services. But wait! Do you think that you are overlooking something important on your road map? Are you forgetting to make your staff feel engaged and nurtured with proper care? Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the past two years have been full of stressors, now it’s more important than ever to encourage a caring environment. Let’s explore what a culture of care is and how to cultivate it from the HR Manager and Technical Support Leader of Boost Commerce.
Cultural Challenges of Building A Remote Team
It is undeniable that remote working has become more popular since the coronavirus pandemic. On the one hand, a remote workforce brings us a lot of advantages including flexible schedules, less commuting stress, location independence, money savings, and increased productivity, aside from preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, the digital workplace forces leaders to address cultural challenges, particularly the culture of caring, so that they can safeguard the business’s continuity.
- Isolation - With remote working policies, social interaction is one of the biggest difficulties that would make your staff feel physically isolated. They are now working alone without the office chatter that they are used to. So the question is, how can employees express themselves and feel that the team cares about them?
- Keeping morale up - In a remote environment, it is easy for someone to think that he or she gets excluded from a group sometimes. This is caused by poor internal communication.
Effective teamwork - Team collaboration is the key to success that every business manager should be aware of. Plus, collaboration is a chance for staff to socialize with and virtually care for each other through, for instance, warm greetings. However, members in remote working corporations are no longer in the same place at the same time to collaborate, which probably puts teamwork at risk.
To combat these challenges and boost staff engagement, fostering a culture of caring appears as an optimal solution that Boost has been offering our staff.
What is A Culture of Care and Its Benefits
“Leadership is not about being in charge. More than that, leadership is about taking care of those in your charge” - Simon Sinek
Forming a culture of caring means bringing a supportive environment that focuses on the employees, and it means truly wanting to take care of them. In other words, a culture of care is employee-centered.
A company with a strong culture that values its employees and customers will have a long and promising life span. Clearly, the more your subordinates feel appreciated and valued, the harder they work to succeed. Moreover, those corporations see less turnover and lower levels of absenteeism, which can directly impact the bottom line. According to a recent study conducted by the Center for America Progress, losing a worker can cost anywhere from 16% of their salary hourly, to 213% of the salary for a highly trained position. Accordingly, if a highly trained executive is making $120,000 a year, the true loss might be up to $255,600 to your company! That’s huge, right?
How to Cultivate A Culture of Care at Workplace
Did you know that 83% of executives and 84% of employees rank happy and motivated staff as the deciding factor contributing to great accomplishment? At Boost, we fully understand that a happy company can only be built by happy people at heart. We are so glad to share some helpful tips that make Boosters happy and develop themselves.
Make Them Feel Welcome
People will indeed forget what you did, and what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Therefore, your employees should feel welcome because it centers on the basic human need to believe that they truly belong and that their contributions are acknowledged.
Recruitment and Onboarding
It all starts at the very beginning of your hiring process. The opportunities to greet future employees include the organization's job posting, recruiting tools, interview process, job offer, and then the first day and following onboarding process.
‘I think Boost is the most loving, comfortable place that I have ever worked. Even the job can be stressful sometimes, and hiring in the IT industry is very competitive, I love my job and wish to continue to work here for as how long as it can be.’, said Ms. Sally
Last month, as Boost celebrated the first work anniversary of our HR Manager, Ms. Sally Nguyen, we had a chance to know more about the much challenging job of recruiting members to our company. “To get one member onboarded, it was a long process of a hundred CVs screened and lots of patience to pursue that candidate till the end. When a candidate is offered the job, they can be happy for one, but the HR team is happy ten times that.”
To make future team members feel welcome, you should:
- Take the time and effort to communicate with candidates in a timely fashion. A long and complicated interview process without any point will be likely to drive top-notch candidates away. Instead, HR staff had better schedule an interview with a sense of urgency as well as provide them consistent and relevant information.
- Being too serious does not make you cooler in front of the interviewees. Therefore, why don’t you inform them why you are excited to have them join your organization and provide them with as many details as possible about their first few days on the job?
- Make the onboarding process transparent. The onboarding works like an introduction to the team. If all goes well, the newcomer will be confident that they made the right decision. Several hacks you could apply here are arranging a clear schedule, explaining the purpose of each activity to them, letting them know what you expect from them clearly, and providing constructive feedback regularly.
At Boost Commerce, we have a bi-monthly meeting to review our work process and set up new goals for the whole month. Also, it is a great opportunity to introduce newbies to the entire team.
New Boosters are heartily welcomed by not only the HR team and Founders but also by future colleagues in the company.
Do you think that your staff wants to speak up about an issue but they are afraid of being judged, or they are pretending to fully understand something when they really don’t? If your answer is a big yes, it’s time to make them comfortably raise their voice as a crucial part of employees feeling pleasant is an environment that encourages people to bring their true selves to work, an environment that is open to discussions, being wrong, and learning from it. Plus, the organization should respect and accept differences, instead of exuding a mentality of cultural assimilation. This is perfectly true for a remote company like Boost which is diverse in the workplace.
Apart from channels for work-related updates, Boosters have plenty of spaces to share their cultural experiences.
But that’s not enough! As a leader, you need to bring your true self to work every day because it is an important component of inspiring the organization to be authentic and inclusive.
Boost’s founders join us on daily meetings to check our work status. Besides, they participate in level-up activities to inspire Boosters to develop themselves through learning new skills. Thank you, bosses!
Make Them Feel Healthy
To help employees feel happier at the workplace, managers need to take care of other aspects more than work efficiency. This means you should make sure that they are physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. The most important thing you should pay attention to here is to provide them with a good package of benefits. Aside from the salary and basic insurance as required, it should go beyond to include something like overtime payment, working equipment, retirement, vacation, and more. When developing company policies, ask yourself if you:
- Encourage employees to not exceed a 40-hour of work per week whenever possible?
- Encourage them to take time to care for their families via a healthy work/life balance?
- Provide time and resources for therapy or other forms of mental health help?
On the occasion of Mrs. Rose's 4th anniversary at Boost Commerce, we had a friendly chat with her.
Q: Hello sis Rose, thank you for joining me today. Firstly, I want to say congratulations on your 4th anniversary at Boost, and as I know you are the first member to work with Tony. Can you share a little bit about how you come to Boost?
A: Thank you. Before working as a full-timer at Boost, I had known Tony Tri for 5, 6 years actually. At that time, they were developing a Product Filter & Search app and Tony Tri asked me to refer some potential candidates. I did but none of them made it and coincidentally, I was also looking for a new job that allows me to work remotely. After several interviews, I ran out of patience as I had to wait for their responses. I told Tony to interview me although I knew I passed the test already.
Q: It has been 4 years since the day you started working here. So I really want to know what makes you stay for such a long time?
A: What I love the most at Boost is our remote working culture allowing me to work from home. Instead of spending time commuting to work every morning, I could use that time to take my kid to kindergarten nearby and pick him up early in the afternoon thanks to my flexible working schedule. Also, I could have quality time with my family in the evening, for example, cooking dinner, playing with my son, and getting him to sleep.
Make Them Feel Trusted
If you truly desire to build up a culture of care, you should have faith in their abilities and motives. The more you trust in them, the greater responsibility you would give them.
Autonomy in this context means the right of people to organize things on their own. In other words, it is acting with choice, being players, not pawns. So the question is, do you lead your staff with autonomy to breed engagement or with control to impose compliance? Plus, are they empowered to make decisions, or do they need to consult with managers for everything?
Well, we all know that management behaviors foster employee engagement. In fact, people at high-trust firms reported 106% more energy at work, 76% more commitment, 74% less stress, 50% higher productivity, 40% less burnout, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, and 13% fewer sick leaves compared with those at low-trust companies. There is no right or wrong answer here as each leadership style has its own pros and cons; however, if your goal is to build mutual trust, let’s see the following tips.
- Show your empathy with employees’ points of view. You can start with assigning them goals, not tiny tasks, and accept that people will take different paths to accomplish the same goal.
- Once the staff is aware of their responsibility, they should have the right to select their working schedules, favorite environments, and dream teams when possible.
- Let them know how you appreciate their effort and their work is fully acknowledged.
What could be better than gaining recognition from your boss and your co-workers? Boost's culture-tacos is a channel to express gratitude to a colleague by posting thank-you notes and tagging that person with the taco emoji.
Two-Way Communication with Transparency
Caring is also about giving your teams the information they need to do their jobs autonomously so that they deliver the best performance. Yet, in case you do not communicate with employees well, they may assume you are hiding something and may fill the void with their own stories, leading to a rift between leadership and frontline staff. As sharing is caring, leaders had better consider the following:
- Make budget information or meeting minutes available, whether online or in person.
- After you survey staff, share the results and what you have done as a result.
- When staff requests something that you cannot share, explain the reason instead of penalizing them for their curiosity.
Make Them Feel They Are An Investment
To build a culture of caring, managers will look after employees at a human level that involves furthering their learning and development.
When candidates accept your job offer, it shows that they think working at your company is a great chance to develop their career path. Hence, investing in professional development means you value their learning so send them to needed training. Unfortunately, there is no course that suits all, so you need to:
- Understand what your members like to learn. In addition to conferences, there are many low-budget learning options such as cross-training, projects, or online courses from top universities and enterprises like Google Digital Garage.
- Think about the non-technical skills that are useful for employees regardless of their job function. They could be communication or time management, and proactively organize on-site training to get more learning for your dollar.
Mastery and Flow
Another thing you must know about the culture of caring is mastery and workflow. To be more specific, it means you truly want them to enjoy and be challenged by their work, let them step outside their comfort zone by asking yourself:
- Is the work you assign that team appropriately challenging, or are they finding themselves bored or overwhelmed?
- Do you provide the time and space for them to get "sucked in," or are they being interrupted by meetings or inefficient communication practices?
Answering those questions will help you realize the current problems in your workflow which probably upsets your members and reduces their productivity. Instead, how about:
- Finding out what your employees are keen on and what makes them lose track of time.
- Reviewing meeting and communication practices that takes them a huge amount of time but does not resolve anything.
- Considering blocking off one day a month on everyone's calendars so that they can catch up, achieve flow, or dive into learning something new.
Creating a culture of care seems to be a soft perk, but don't underestimate its power. Staff will be more engaged, more committed, and more productive. They will also encourage others so the bottom line will thank you too.
In today's article, we have shared many ways to enhance a culture of caring, however, caring is not a list of checkboxes and it is never finished. Remember that a happy company can only be built by happy people at heart. At Boost Commerce, we will always strive to create an environment where any member feels happy to work and develop themselves.
Thank you Mrs. Sally and Mrs. Rose for taking your time to join the interview. Again, congratulations on your work anniversary. We wish you good luck for all the upcoming amazing years of work.