Culture by nature is transferred through people and their interactions. It is vital that the cultural fundamentals of the virtual organisation are communicated upfront and consistently to all employees to develop and sustain the corporate culture in the organisation.

Virtual organisations are those organisations where people who are not directly visible are managed. This includes employees who may work remotely from different offices or based on projects at customer offices’ in this group. The success of any organisation’s culture relies heavily on its employees and even more so in a virtual environment.

Virtual organisations must consider if employees have a high level of internal locus of control – individuals that believe that events in their life derive primarily from their own actions – as well as those whose environment is not the main influencer of their mood. Individuals who have strong internal motivation and the right social skills are required for this environment.

Another important skill is being able to catch and pass a virtual ball. This refers to deliverables that have to be completed by members in a virtual team, in a specific time period and to a certain standard. Employees in a virtual environment are required to have a skill set that enables them to communicate and pickup deliverables from team members at all times and in different circumstances without having physical access to their colleagues. This assumes not only a technical understanding but also a clear understanding of the process to follow and the collaborative effort required.

Here are some tips for organisations that will assist in keeping the company culture strong and visible.

  • Create online and offline contact points for employees to easily maintain relationships with one another,
  • Recruit for cultural fit,
  • Be explicit about the culture: What it is and what it isn’t,
  • Create interventions that reinforce the company brand and culture at each face to face gathering,
  • Create and manage the building blocks of a company culture – values and assumptions , and
  • Incorporate culture indicators into KPI’s.

Published in HR Pulse