Find out simple tips you can use to unite your offices, ensure policies are consistent, and maintain employee satisfaction in an effective way.
In today’s economy, having multiple offices isn’t an unlikely scenario.
However, preserving (or establishing) a consistent company culture can prove challenging when a company’s offices are spread across a country — or the globe.
A recent survey of more than 500 organizations, conducted by employee survey provider TINYhr, found that 64 percent of employees feel they don’t have a strong work culture. The survey results also revealed another startling employee sentiment: Workers are most influenced by colleagues — not money. (See also: Our recent Is Salary Intelligence Everything? blog post.)
Supportive managers and employees can have a huge impact on employee satisfaction levels. Job satisfaction is crucial because it directly impacts performance: A study from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick in the U.K. found happy workers are 12 percent more productive than the average employee. Unhappy workers, on the other hand, are 10 percent less productive.
Dissatisfied, disengaged workers, as we discussed in our October Your Employee Value Proposition’s Surprising Effect on Profitability blog post, can hurt an organization’s bottom line. Gallup research found that up to 67 percent of employees may be under-engaged, costing an organization, on average, more than $2,200 a year per employee.
Yet, if an organization is spread out across different locations, ensuring that even the most carefully constructed company culture plan is successfully being upheld — and achieving the desired end result, high employee satisfaction levels — can be difficult.
The following tips can help you maintain a consistent company culture across multiple offices and remote locations:
• Create a culture that will truly resonate with employees. Your goal should be to establish perks and practices that employees will truly appreciate, not just things that look good on paper, according to Fast Company. For example, a 2013 New York Times article noted that although Google’s Manhattan offices have some exercise equipment, the space doesn’t have a fitness center because employees prefer to join health clubs, which provide an outside-of-work workout option. Google instead subsidizes their membership.
• Provide clear, consistent communication. To establish a sense of community, information needs to be shared universally, according to former Publishing Technology CEO George Lossius, who, in a recent Guardian article, recommended using one central method of company-wide communication. Whether you utilize an intranet, newsletter, employee blog or other tech tool, make sure each message is conveyed uniformly.
• Separate offices don’t need to lose their identity. Being a cohesive worldwide team doesn’t mean you have to ignore local holidays, traditions or business principles. Technology provider Dell, for example, stresses that its global offices are “each united by our common business culture, with an emphasis on preserving and sharing the rich diversity of the region.”
Local customs can sometimes add to your company culture by helping satellite offices deliver stronger results. A multiyear study of 11 national corporate cultures, conducted by office furniture provider Steelcase, found operational aspects that varied in importance in different regions, depicted in this Bloomberg Business graphic. For example, working from home or remotely is becoming more common in the Netherlands; in India, however, it remains fairly rare. Similarly, businesses located in India and China are more likely to invest time and money in building lasting relationships than outposts in the U.S.
• Practice what you preach. If your company, according to the Harvard Business Review, touts its employees as its greatest asset, invest in them — across the board. If you have a certain method for employee promotions, make it consistent. If you have multiple offices, don’t limit programs and incentives to certain locations. Offer and promote programs and incentives in the same way in each site.
If you don’t, your company culture could quickly become disjointed, ultimately ineffective — and end up being viewed as little more than an empty promise your organization made, a scenario that could easily put employee satisfaction levels at risk.