Leslie Harding

Leslie Harding

At Wonolo we help some of today’s most successful companies drive revenue by connecting them with on-demand, high quality workers that can flex with their business needs. We recognize the barriers that make it difficult for people to find fulfilling work and for companies to find quality workers. We knew there had to be a better way to connect these workers with the companies looking for them, and that’s why we created Wonolo.

Recently we held a webinar for HR professionals around how to create a great company culture for all of your workers. Katie Evans-Reber, Wonolo’s VP of People and Culture, shared her expertise on the topic. Here are some of the highlights from the session:

Post-COVID HR landscape

As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost everything when it comes to the work landscape. In terms of HR, it has ushered in a period of rapid change, allowing some folks to work completely remotely, while others have to adapt to new safety measures as they work essential jobs in person. This has tested some core assumptions about work.

While things have been changing at warp speed over the last six months, the future of work has been evolving over the past fifteen or so years. The cultural revolution started by big tech companies in Silicon Valley has slowly been making its way across the country. While not every company is going to adopt the outrageous perks typically offered by some of the biggest companies in the Valley, what we have seen is a greater understanding of the importance of worker engagement and culture. Nowadays, companies are focused on being vocal about values and creating a place where everybody feels like they belong. It continues to be up to us to foster positive values and craft a culture we want to see at work.

Company culture defined

Culture is the heart of everything you do as an HR professional. Culture is the choice as a company to take an active role in understanding what people need to do their best work. Culture is the shift between thinking “my team is lucky to have a job in the first place” to “we are lucky to have this team, let’s make this the best working experience they’ve ever had.” Culture is thinking of the worker experience as the foundation of your brand and being as strategic about it as you would about any other revenue producing endeavor.   

Some companies would have you believe that culture is stuff like ping-pong tables, happy hours, catered lunches, and free dry cleaning. While these things may be fun and bring enjoyment to workers, they are ultimately transitory. They don’t retain workers and they don’t keep them engaged. And in today’s world impacted by COVID-19, many of these things aren’t even relevant anymore. Companies who have tried to get away with this as the backbone of their culture may be struggling to find their way now.

Four pillars of culture

Organizational culture is a system of shared values, beliefs, and assumptions that governs how people behave in an organization. A great culture is an essential component of a successful business strategy.

Pillar One: Values

Your values sit at the core of your corporate culture. They offer guidance, shaping what your workers focus on in the workplace. They provide direction on how workers should do their jobs on a day-to-day basis. 

  • What are your company values?
  • Are your values simply words on a wall, or have you done the work of making them part of everyday life at your company?

Pillar Two: Environment

To date, the physical office space has played a big role in shaping a culture. Now, with remote working much more prevalent, the goalposts have completely shifted. Today we don’t just have to consider the physical work space, but also the psychological space. We must help our workers feel safe and productive, regardless of where they are working.

  • Do your workers have what they need to work from home productively?
  • Do your workers feel safe at work, physically and emotionally?

Pillar Three: People

This bucket is huge. Every single new worker should be additive to the culture rather than just fitting into the culture. Culture evolves when people of different backgrounds bring new ideas and beliefs to the table. When hiring, look for people who strongly align with your company’s mission and values, not for people who you’d like to hang out with or who would “fit in” with the team.

  • How do you assess culture fit when hiring?
  • How does everyone at your company contribute to your culture?

Pillar Four: Norms

Norms are values at work. Basically, norms are how people behave when no one is watching. Things like taking time off when you need to and speaking up in meetings are examples of norms. It’s what allows your workers to be their best selves. It’s traditions that you work hard to preserve so that there is a sense of continuity, of company history, of a thread that binds everyone together. It’s what brings everything together to create what we call culture.

  • Does your leadership team model the norms they want to see?
  • How do people reflect your company’s norms through their actions?

If you’d like to view the webinar in its entirety, you can do so here!

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