Understanding a company’s culture

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on January 19th, 2021 by admin

Culture is defined as the values, practices, and beliefs shared by the members of a group. Company culture, therefore, is the shared values, practices and beliefs of the company’s employees.

While you cannot see or touch a culture, it is present in the actions, behaviors, and approaches of the members of an organization. From hiring practices to how people work, make decisions, resolve differences of opinions, and navigate change, the culture defines the unwritten but very real rules of behavior.

This article offers guidance on learning to sense or understand a firm’s culture. For anyone seeking a job, striving to make a sale to a new client or any manager or individual contributor endeavoring to innovate inside an organization, a firm’s culture is a powerful force that must be accounted for in your endeavor. The oft-repeated phrase, “culture eats strategy for lunch,” offers the important cautionary advice to ignore culture at your peril.


Ask the Right Questions

Ask someone about their firm’s culture, and you are likely to hear a series of general statements, such as:

  • We are an inclusive culture that encourages collaboration.
  • It’s an environment where everyone’s opinion is respected.
  • We are proud of our heritage and dedicated to our customers.
  • We reward initiative in our organization.

While mildly informational, those statements might apply to any number of organizations, and they don’t give you a great deal of insight into the inner workings of the organization. A better approach is to ask about or listen to the stories that are widely shared and celebrated in the firm.


11 Types of Questions to Help You Understand a Firm’s Culture

  1. Ask for an example of when the members of the organization came together to do something remarkable. Dig deeper and probe for examples of individuals or teams exhibiting heroic behaviors that enabled success with the big initiative. Listen carefully for group orientation or the singling out of one or more individual efforts.
  2. Ask about examples of people who succeeded wildly within the boundaries of the organization. Strive to understand what it was they did that made them rising stars in the organization. Was it their initiative and innovative thinking? Was it their ability to rally support?
  3. Look for visible signs of the culture on the walls of the firm’s facilities. Are the walls covered in stories or photos of customers and employees? Are the company’s core statements of mission, vision, and values present throughout the firm’s facilities? The absence of those artifacts says something as well.
  4. How does the firm celebrate? What does it celebrate? How frequently does it celebrate? Are there quarterly town hall meetings? Does the firm get together when new sales records or big customer orders are achieved?
  5. Is the concept of quality present in the culture? Do employees take pride in their work and the output of their firm? Are there formal quality initiatives in place, including Six Sigma or Lean?
  6. Are the firm’s executives approachable? Are there regular opportunities to interact with top executives including the CEO? Some firms use “Lunch with an executive” initiatives to offer employees time to ask questions and learn more about the direction of the firm.
  7. Is employee input sought for new initiatives including strategy?
  8. Are the leadership roles filled with individuals who have been promoted from within? Does the firm tend to hire from the outside for senior roles?
  9. How does the organization innovate? Ask for specific examples. Be certain to explore what happens when innovation initiatives fail.
  10. How are big decisions made? What’s the process? Who’s involved? Do executives encourage decision-making at lower levels of the organization?
  11. Is cross-functional collaboration encouraged? Again, ask for examples.

Individuals experienced at quickly establishing a sense of a firm’s culture use those questions and many others to understand a broad range of the attributes of an organization. They look to understand how work takes place and how employees are treated as well as how they deal with each other. From decision-making processes to the firm’s commitment to employee development and engagement, a careful questioner can learn a great deal about daily life in a firm through deft use of the questions above.


Cultures Do Change, Just Not Quickly

Every organization changes and evolves over time. Whether the influence to change comes naturally over time from the addition of new employees with different views and approaches or via a shock to the system from a merger or significant external event, firms do adapt and evolve.

For individuals striving to promote change within an organization, the pace of cultural evolution often seems too slow. Smart professionals understand that instead of hurrying or fighting culture when promoting change, it is essential to work within the boundaries of the culture and draw upon the strengths to achieve their objectives.


7 Ideas to Help Promote Change by Leveraging the Culture

  1. As a new employee take the time to study and understand your firm’s culture.
  2. If you are hired into a new organization in a senior leadership role, respect the culture and heritage of the firm, even if the firm is struggling.
  3. Connect the change initiative to the core cause, purpose and values of the firm.
  4. Identify and draw upon key influencers inside the organization for support. Instead of selling your idea to the entire organization at once, sell it to the influencers and gain their help in creating widespread support.
  5. Link your ideas or potential projects to previous successful examples that helped drive positive results for the firm.
  6. Draw upon peers in other functions to support your initiative.
  7. Respect the culture, but provide context for the need to change. Use external evidence, including competitor announcements, the emergence of new and potentially disruptive technologies or business approaches.

The Bottom Line

Many individuals and initiatives have crashed on the rocks of a firm’s culture. Instead of falling victim to the concept of: “That’s not how we do things here,” respect the culture and leverage it to promote your ideas for change. While you may not agree with some of the cultural nuances of your firm, you can only facilitate change by respecting the culture and people and gaining widespread help to produce your desired change.


Source: www.thebalancecareers.com/

Distansledarskap i pandemitider: Så leder du anställda som inte vill bli styrda

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on January 14th, 2021 by admin
Svenska chefer har svårt med distansarbetet och digitalt ledarskap, visar en ny undersökning av Office Management. Ännu svårare kan det bli att leda anställda som inte vill bli ledda i hemarbetet, menar ledarskapsexperter.

I pandemitider har chefsrollen blivit extra viktigt när hemarbetet blivit vardag. Distansarbetet kan tära på den mentala hälsan då tekniken kan ha svårt att ersätta mänsklig kontakt.

Samtidigt trivs flera medarbetare med distansarbetet och upplever att man blivit allt mer produktiv, enligt en ny undersökning av Office Management där 500 chefer och 500 anställda blivit tillfrågade om hur de upplever distansarbetet.

Chefer i undersökningen pekar däremot på att möjligheten att leda sina anställda på ett bra sätt har försvunnit. Och ännu svårare kan det bli att leda anställda som redan innan pandemin inte velat bli styrda, menar ledarskapsexperten Lena Lid Falkman.

DN har ställt frågan till tre ledarskapsexperter om hur man som ledare kan förbättra sitt ledarskap digitalt och hur man agerar när anställda inte vill bli styrda.

– Hemarbete kräver självledarskap. Jag som ledare ska inte kontrollera exakt när du jobbar och på vad du gör, utan fokusera på att det blir rätt resultat i slutändan, säger Lena Lid Falkman.

– Är det så att folk inte levererar behöver man strukturera upp arbetet som ledare och sätta tydliga mål. Håll kortare avstämningar ofta, och följ upp med frågor som ”hur går det nu?”. Kontrollera inte din personal genom att fråga ”vad har du gjort i dag?”.

– Viktigt är även att fira dessa delmål.

Leif Andersson erbjuder ledarskapsrådgivning för verksamheter och enskilda individer i Sverige. När folk säger att de inte vill bli styrda så ligger det ofta en orsak bakom, menar han.

– När någon säger till mig att ”den här personen vill inte bli ledd” så säger undrar jag varför har man fått för sig dig det? Det kanske handlar om att personen inte gör som den blivit tillsagd. Ibland är chefer för snabba på att bestämma vad folk ska göra.

– I stället för att komma med en lösning till medarbetaren upplever jag att det är bättre att ställa frågan om hur uppgiften eller problemet ska lösas så att man gör medarbetaren delaktig.

Samtidigt innebär distansarbetet nya utmaningar, förklarar han.

– Tidigare har det varit lättare att vara en dålig chef, för anställda går till jobbet på grund av sina kollegor även om de har en dålig chef. När arbetet nu sker på distans blir det ännu viktigare från chefens sida att få anställda att känna sig uppskattade.

Ledarskapsexperten Malin Trossing upplever att det i grund och botten alltid handlar om att man måste förstå varför anställda inte vill bli ledda. Och om tydlighet för att komma till bukt med problemet.

– Lösningen är olika beroende på anledningen. Det kan vara så att vissa människor behöver större frihet, eller att man själv tycker att firman inte har koll.

– Man kanske har en anställd som underpresterar, eller så har man olika sätt att kommunicera på som gör att ledarskapet blir otydligt och att man som chef upplever att ”de inte vill bli ledda”, säger hon.

– När vi kommunicerar är det bara tio procent i ord och 90 procent i kroppsspråk, tonläge och röst. Om vi ses fysiskt i ett möte så vet vi att det ändå är lätt att missförstå varandra. Digitalt kan man i princip säga att alla de 90 procenten försvinner i ett knackigt videosamtal där du kanske ser någon frimärkesstorlek. Cirka tio procent når fram så det gäller att vara dubbel så tydligt som i den fysiska verkligheten.

Employer branding – Tre trender inför 2021

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on January 12th, 2021 by admin

Medarbetarnas genuina åsikt om hur de upplever företaget har blivit allt viktigare. Inte bara för att rekrytera nya talanger, utan också för att stärka varumärket. Men det senaste året har skakat om och förändrat många rekryteringsprocesser i grunden. Här är tre trender inom Employer branding att hålla koll på inför det nya året.

1. Flexibel arbetsplats
Under det märkliga året 2020 tog digitaliseringen ytterligare stormsteg. Nu när den tekniska infrastrukturen fallit på plats hos de flesta har de anställda vant sig vid både för- och nackdelar med att flytta över mötena till digitalt. Om vi någonsin kommer gå tillbaka till att spendera all vår arbetstid på kontoret är osäkert, men en sak vet vi – att vi gärna vill välja vår arbetsplats och att flexibilitet kommer stå högt upp på önskelistan hos blivande medarbetare 2021.

2. Äkthet över yta
Nuvarande personal är den bästa marknadsföringskanalen och en äkta röst som kan berätta hur det är att jobba hos just er kommer fortsätta vara värdefull. Men det ställer också allt större krav på att verkligheten stämmer med dikten. Om ni beskriver att ni är ett gäng som har roligt tillsammans, se då till att skratten ekar i korridorerna. Idag är vi alltför medvetna om hur enkelt det är att putsa på fasaden – och ärlighet varar längst.

3. En upplevelse – hemifrån
Liksom all annan kommunikation, har trenden inom Employer branding rört sig mer och mer mot att skapa upplevelser. Men vad händer med Employer experience, en av förra årets hetaste trender, när många av oss jobbar hemifrån? Hur kan vi boosta medarbetarupplevelsen och vara en attraktiv arbetsplats, trots att vi måste distansera oss socialt? Det är frågor vi spår att många företag kommer kämpa med under 2021 – och hur det går kan bara det nya året utvisa.


Källa: Linkedin, Maximum, och The New York Times via HRnytt.se

In times of corona – How to improve remote team collaboration and workflow

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on January 9th, 2021 by admin

Team Norms, Communication, and Tools for Working from Home

In order to make your remote team productive and collaborative—without burning out—it’s important to create an efficient system that improves workflow and team collaboration.

Experts point out, though, that what works in the office does not always translate to remote work.

Establishing Remote Team Norms

In a phone interview with The Balance, Nancy Settle-Murphy, founder of Boston-area consulting firm Guided Insights and a virtual teams expert, said that a good remote team manager must establish specific team norms for working from home. These include:

  • Working hours: Agree upon working hours, and if you’re offering flexibility, decide if there are specific times the whole team should be working each week.
  • Communication: Decide on which platform the team should collaborate and stick to it to ensure that communication is clear and not missed.
  • Signifying presence: Decide how an employee will signify they’re available to meet or talk—like turning their availability on in Slack.

One option for establishing these norms is to create a virtual work agreement spelling out these expectations that is shared with employees.

Understanding Remote Team Personalities

According to Settle-Murphy, switching to remote work can affect employees in a variety of ways, and it’s important for managers to be attuned to their team’s personalities to mitigate any issues.

Personal and Social Needs 

Understanding that an introvert may need more specific questions asked in order to share their point of view, or that someone that is living alone may need more social interaction beyond just work talk, is important to making employees feel valued and appreciated.

Level of Independence 

Understanding an employee’s level of independence is important. With no spontaneous interactions or check-ins, it’s important to proactively schedule a time to check in on projects for employees who need it.

Balanced Participation

It’s easier for dominant personalities to take over an online meeting. Managers should be prepared with interventions to ensure that everyone has a voice.

The Importance of Remote Collaboration

Experts widely agree that the key to good remote collaboration is understanding that what works for in-office workers won’t necessarily work for remote teams.

Asynchronous Communication

“Optimizing asynchronous tools like Threads or Twist over synchronous communication like Slack and Zoom allows you to create systems and processes where employees can collaborate without needing to be online at the same time,” Hailley Griffis, Head of PR at social media-focused company Buffer, told The Balance via email. According to Griffis, whose company has always had a fully remote workforce, this communication strategy helps with collaboration across time zones, and also allows employees to deal with the unique needs that the pandemic has presented, such as parents who are homeschooling their children.

Enhanced Interaction

Interacting with a remote team means that there are no incidental run-ins throughout the office, or opportunities for a quick chat or check-in. 

However, experts advise adding in regular check-ins with your team—whether those are daily or weekly—to ensure that you are in tune with their needs.

You can also build in social interactions by simply saving some time at the start of each meeting to chat, do an icebreaker, or engage in other team-building activities.

One other challenging area is editing or design critiques. Teams can switch to online tools like file sharing, online design, or whiteboard tools and collaborate to make edits, suggestions, and changes.

Streamlined Access to Information 

Centralized information where everyone has access to the right documents is a tremendous challenge for teams—and the dreaded emailing of attachments can seriously hinder having the most up-to-date information and cause project delays.

Settle-Murphy recommended that companies decide on a centralized depository and require that remote employees learn the tool, identify who has editing privileges, and give up other ways of storing or communicating about documents to ensure that everyone is on the same page for any piece of information.

Tools for Better Collaboration and Workflow

The right tools are essential to remote team success—and many of these tools are different from what teams might have previously used in office.

Communication Tools

  • Asynchronous communication tools such as Threads or Twist create organized discussions that can be searched.
  • Synchronous communication tools such as Slack, IM, or Microsoft Teams can be more useful and immediate than email as an internal communication tool.
  • Virtual meeting tools such as Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams provide face-to-face team interactions.

Collaboration Tools

  • Online document editing tools, such as Google Docs, allow each team member to have the most current version of a document and allow collaborative editing, synchronously or asynchronously.
  • Online meeting collaboration tools such as MeetingSphere provide a platform for more productive meetings by allowing questions to be posted in advance, allowing participants to build on comments and bring the pre-work into the meeting.
  • Online whiteboard tools such as Miro or Google Jam Board provide an opportunity to brainstorm ideas visually.

Task Management Tools

A variety of project and task management tools such as Basecamp, Asana, and Trello provide a way for the entire team to see the status of projects or tasks, their role in them, and whether milestones are being met.

Building a Workflow for Better Collaboration 

Settle-Murphy emphasized the importance of teamwork in developing the right workflow for employees.

Assigning a Team

Assign a team (the size of the team depends upon the size of your organization) to analyze your current workflow and decide what areas need to be improved upon. Start with a list of areas and choose a few of the most pressing to focus on first.

Assigning a Subteam

Assign a subteam of two or three people to brainstorm solutions to your workflow issues, starting with identifying any choke points that need to change. The subteam will identify the areas that need improvement and share with the larger group of decision makers.


From there, the subteam should brainstorm potential solutions and vet them with the larger group. “Norms shouldn’t come from one person,” Settle-Murphy advised. “It’s important that they are vetted with the larger group.”

A Flexible Future

While the abrupt shift to remote work was a result of social distancing and other safety needs, at some level, it seems here to stay. In the PwC survey, 72% of employees said they’d like to continue working from home at least two days a week once the pandemic ends.2

“I believe that in an ideal scenario where remote workers can choose whether to work from home or a coffee shop, library, or coworking space, that it does improve productivity, which ultimately increases overall work at the company,” Griffis added.



Source: Thebalancecareers.com, 25 September 2020

In times of corona: How to effectively manage remote talent

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on January 4th, 2021 by admin

At a time when remote work is the norm for many employees, how do managers effectively lead their teams from a distance? Managers must lead and ensure that company guidelines are provided that encourage employee productivity while reinforcing employee satisfaction and morale. They must develop a whole new skill set, but the biggest leap may be to develop the mindset essential to managing employees you can’t see each day in the office.

The Rapid Rise of Remote Work

Employees are participating in remote work in unprecedented numbers. According to data analytics firm Gallup, the average number of workdays telecommuters are working from home has more than doubled, from 5.8 days per month in October 2019 to 11.9 days as of September 2020. Among all U.S. workers, the average number of telecommuting days has also more than doubled, from 2.4 per month to 5.8.1

Additionally, Gallup finds that 26% of U.S. workers currently say that they have worked entirely from home recently, “while 51% are working entirely from a location outside their home, with one in five reporting a mix of on-site and remote work.” Not unexpectedly, college graduates have been more likely to work from home (38%).

Challenges and Advantages of Remote Work for Employers

Employers will experience the pitfalls and advantages of this unprecedented remote work from home situation. A virtual workforce requires stronger leadership skills than ever before when it comes to coordinating projects and bringing the team together as a cohesive unit.

In a Talent Development Leadership Forum, these leadership skills were found more essential when managing a remote team:

  • Establish and meet metrics for work projects and goals
  • Be extremely clear with goals and directions with a constant focus on the big picture
  • Work with a high degree of complexity
  • Promote organizational commitment

One forum interviewee said, “It may be that leaders in a virtual environment need just a little more of everything: more knowledge of technology, more knowledge on how to work with team dynamics, stronger communication skills, and of course, a little more patience.”

Challenges for Employers

Employers need to ensure that employee productivity delivers the sales and profitability they need to keep business viable. At the same time, employee morale, motivation, and satisfaction are paramount in creating a positive work environment that retains your most-needed employees. Challenges to these goals include:

    • Providing effective oversight of employees who have never experienced and may not have the skills necessary to thrive in a remote work situation
    • Developing the communication and technology skills necessary to manage remote employees using devices such as laptops, smartphones, and software for holding remote meetings
    • Knowing what, when, and how often to support employees’ emotional needs while keeping communication transparent and professional
    • Facilitating remote team building using meetings, activities, and icebreakers that promote employee connections and morale

Provide tips on how to maintain a consistent daily schedule and take time off for lunch and breaks. Remind employees about existing mental health programs your company may offer.

Advantages for Employers

When employees work from home, there are advantages for employers who properly manage their employees’ needs and wants.

Lower Operating Costs

Lower costs of operation such as lower utility bills, savings on bandwidth, and fewer staffing needs at customer-facing workstations are a plus for employers. For those employers who are convinced that remote work will remain their employees’ preferred work environment into the future, savings such as renting less square footage and purchasing less furniture and devices are substantial.

Boost in Productivity

Increased productivity results in better work from employees—they gain back the hours they spend each week commuting, and they can focus more on tasks without interruption from coworkers.

Better Engagement

The blurring of lines between work life and home responsibilities can result in employees who spend more time thinking about and engaged in work projects and cultivating better outcomes.

General Cost Savings

General cost savings due to employees using their own devices for work and taking less paid time off (PTO) can lower expenses for employers. This also generates cost savings because employers do not have to deal with issues related to employee absenteeism and tardiness.

Tips to Effectively Engage and Manage Teams

You can provide effective remote talent management by taking the following steps while employees are working from home.

Increase Meeting Frequency

Schedule meetings more frequently so you have time set aside on your calendar to catch up one-on-one with individual employees, as a team, and in remote company meetings. When no one is working together in the office, time together becomes even more important.

Continually Check In

Set up recurring check-in times with your team members to foster the casual moments of connection throughout the work week that would normally have occurred in your offices.

These can include team happy hours, coffee breaks with coworkers, and virtual lunches over video to bond and celebrate your team and organizational successes.

Establish Clear Goals

When setting assignments for employees and teams, specify clear and well-defined end goals so they know exactly the result you need from them. Specify what you need—not how to do the assignment—so employees are empowered to decide their own course of action.

Share Work Progress

Use a shared tracking system for team and individual deliverables, deadlines, and goals. Such a system will foster trust among employees—and with you as the manager—that the team is doing their jobs.

Maintain Video Interaction

To foster a sense of in-office closeness, managers and employees need to use their webcams and video communication programs. The rich, in-person interaction that you take for granted in the office is scarce in remote work. Thus, effective managers will want to nurture relationships and foster connections by seeing people face-to-face.

Show Appreciation 

You will want to make your team members feel valued and appreciated—even more when they are working from home under not-always-favorable working conditions. Employee rewards and recognition are even more important when the team is working remotely. Congratulate, thank, and compliment performance more than you critique or suggest improvement. Take the time every day to tell at least one employee either in an email or over the phone that you appreciate something about them and their work.

Emphasize Employee Wellness

Keep your fingers on the pulse of your employees so you are aware of how they are feeling and how they are dealing with any adverse side effects of remote work.

You can do this by holding well-being focus groups, using employee surveys, and asking managers and HR staff to talk with people. Start a wellness newsletter, schedule online yoga classes, send a daily wellness tip, or provide opportunities for employees to get together while keeping personal distance and wearing masks. One example is to purchase lunch for employees and their families and schedule a time for them to pick it up at the office, where they will safely see each other.

The Risks of Remote Talent Management

As managers learn to effectively oversee remote workers, they need to note that serious mistakes in decision making can adversely affect their relationships with employees. In these unexpected working conditions, managers will particularly want to avoid mistakes such as micromanagement, which in turn can foster distrust.

Perceiving the need to monitor employees’ work times and amounts can be tantamount to saying that you do not trust your employees.

Yet, a study by Gartner notes that employee monitoring has risen significantly since 2015, and 80% of employers are expected to use new tools and data sources to monitor staff during this year of the pandemic.

Micromanagement Can Breed Distrust

You want to avoid making employees feel untrusted. This lack of trust can lead to workers spending time gaming the system and losing focus on their actual, needed output. According to Accenture, 52% of workers think that the use of new sources of workforce data risks damaging employee trust.4 It can also cause severe lack of motivation and commitment. Focus instead on what employees are actually producing—not on when they produce it.

Micromanaging employee work is a mistake managers are prone to make when they cannot see their employees actually doing their job. This is partly a trust issue, but also an inexperience problem. Managing in a remote environment can result in a leader showing controlling behavior when interacting with staff.

Overcoming Remote Management Risks

When providing talent management to your employees who are working remotely, do not forget the importance of personal and professional development. For example, if you notice an employee is not working enough and/or dealing ineffectively with telecommuting, you need to establish clear goals and criteria that sets a standard for the employee and motivates them. By addressing this failure promptly and correctly, you can build trust with the employee and the rest of your team.

The opportunity to grow and develop skills remains a significant contributor to employee morale and motivation. Make sure that online classes, coaching sessions with you, the implementation of a career development plan, and additional, more responsible work opportunities are available.

Setting Proper Guidelines

As a manager, you can provide particular guidelines about your employees’ working conditions even when the job is remote. By creating specific guidelines, you can go out of your way to make sure your employees are well.

  • Requiring Meeting Attendance: You can require attendance at the remote weekly staff meeting or the total employee company meeting. You can also ask team members to share their schedules, projects, timelines, goals, and needs with each other so efficient project coordination can occur.
  • Establishing Work Hours: In setting working hours, you can require a core time every day during which the exempt employee must make themselves available to collaborate with peers. With your non-exempt employees, you must have stated working hours that they adhere to and you can require that employees ask for permission to work overtime.
  • Addressing Employee Well-Being: You want to ensure that you are properly attending to the well-being of your remote employees. In remote work, many of your employees will experience loneliness and feelings of isolation; they will also have to address new distractions such as family and pets.
  • Planning Properly: Make sure that you do the appropriate planning before, during, and after the remote meetings you do hold. Having an agenda, clear goals, and anticipated outcomes becomes even more important when people do remote work.

To maximize employee productivity and well-being in a remote environment, encourage them to:

  • Set up boundaries and expectations with family members
  • Maintain a workstation that is separate from central living areas
  • Set up a consistent work schedule
  • Maintain self-care such as eating regularly, chatting with friends, exercising, and sleeping regular hours
  • Communicate what they need in order to work more effectively

The Bottom Line

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about new challenges and opportunities that managers may never have expected to experience in their lifetimes. However, it has also generated a new vision for how employees will work going forward—and this may not include working full-time in an office. As such, this pandemic provides a valuable opportunity for managers to positively—and with deliberate practice—hone their new skills as a remote manager. Talent management from a distance will be the new norm in a globally dispersed and remote work environment, so it’s time to think about the potential for this new world of work.


Source: Thebalancecareers.com, September 2020