The culture of a virtual organisation

By on April 7, 2014

Culture by nature is transferred through people and their interactions, says Seugnet van der Berg, Managing Director of niche consulting firm, Bizmod. “In a virtual organisation to develop and sustain the organisational culture it is vital that the cultural fundamentals of the organisation are communicated upfront and consistently to all employees.”

Van der Berg refers to virtual organisations as those organisations with staff people who are not directly visible are managed. She includes employees who may work remotely from different offices or based on projects at customer offices’ in this group. She says the success of any organisation’s culture relies heavily on its employees and even more so in a virtual environment.

Van der Berg recommends that virtual organisations must consider whether employees that like to be in control, 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 in their arsenal are required for this environment.

Another important skill that van der Berg highlights 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.”

Van der Berg proposes the below tips for virtual 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, 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 – artefacts, values and assumptions
  • Incorporate culture indicators into KPI’s

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