2020 undoubtedly threw us all for a loop. After spending five days a week in a traditional office, we went home for a year and a half – and our culture at Jackson Spalding suffered. You probably felt it at your organization too. We did not know how to engage virtually, and work took a back burner to health concerns, home schooling and just trying to stay sane. From that chaos, the JS Culture Club was born. It is a team of people who truly care about the JS Culture – a culture that was thriving pre-pandemic and one that has been revived in the last year. It is made up of a diverse group of JSers from our different disciplines and practices and includes JS vets and JS newcomers.
Company Culture Matters More Than Ever
The Culture Club’s mission is to make sure our JS culture adheres to our purpose, mission, vision and values and to build programming to create and nurture the environment where our culture will thrive. If you have a written set of values and your everyday work environment does not adhere to them, your culture will suffer. You have to walk the talk. Culture is contagious and spreading. It should start with living out your values in a visible way, and then you need to create programming that nurtures the environment you are trying to shape for your employees. That can be everything from happy hours to learning opportunities to leadership open office hours. We have worked to create camaraderie slowly and build on it.
If you have not written down your organization’s purpose, mission, vision and values, it will be nearly impossible to define and live out your organization’s culture. If you do not know why you come to work every day or what is important, how can you share that with employees? Every employee at JS receives a physical reminder of our guiding principles in a frame that sits on their desk. If you do not have yours written down – or created – I highly recommend you do so. (And by the way, if you need help with that, JS’ brand strategy team is one of the best in the business in creating employer brand messaging!) Once you have those guiding principles, living out your culture becomes easier. If entrepreneurship is important to your organization, then providing opportunities for doing things differently should be built into your workplace processes. If having fun is important to you, how about a daily joke or trivia question on your in-house Slack channel? Culture starts with knowing who you are as an organization.
Once you know who you are, you can create strategies that will help reinforce your culture. Here is where our Culture Club started; these may work for your organization too:
#1 – Reinforce your purpose
Your purpose, mission, vision and values give your employees a clear understanding of your organization’s foundation. How might this play out? Well, be sure all employees understand the history of your organization and where your values originated.
#2 – Celebrate your culture
Celebrate your company culture in ways that all employees can take part – that means considering those working in your office and those who may be joining virtually. Create opportunities to recognize your employees that are “in real life” and for those working from home. And if you want folks in the office, create reasons for them to come in – from something as simple as breakfast to opportunities to have meaningful interaction with their managers.
#3 – Engage your employees
Engage with your employees to become what we like to call “cultural torchbearers” – let your employees spread the culture themselves. Ask them to write company-wide communications or create committees to plan happy hours or recognize anniversaries.
Let Jackson Spalding Help Your Company Culture Grow!
At JS, we have implemented new ways of creating employee engagement – some have been hits, others not so much. Is your organization stuck in a culture rut? Our team of in-house experts would love to share what we have learned along the way. We can help you do everything from facilitating conversations around your culture to shaping ideas for employee engagement to sharing best practice for internal comms. Does your company have “cultural torchbearers”? If not, now is the time to set up a team like ours – one that focuses on your company culture and employee engagement. Today’s employees have high expectations, and we believe a culture committee can help your organization meet those demands.