Culture as bedrock in a remote working environment

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Nicole Erasmus highlights the benefits of having a strong corporate culture as 2023 approaches.

Nicole Erasmus, head of HR at VALR, the largest cryptocurrency platform headquartered in Africa, says it is important for organisations to have a strong corporate culture as it represents the way they do business and ultimately determines how their employees and external stakeholders perceive them.

“Employees want more than just fair remuneration and benefits – they want to be part of an organisation with a bigger purpose that adds value not only to the organisation, but also to humanity. When a company gets this right, their culture can transform employees into ‘culture advocates,’” advises Nicole.

She says a strong corporate culture attracts the right talent to an organisation and, more importantly, retains that talent. “It should come as no surprise that when employees feel that they belong, and that their personal and professional values resonate with the corporate culture, they are more likely to become deeply engaged employees.”
A strong, positive corporate culture can transform an organisation, bring people together and ensure alignment, says Nicole.

“At VALR, we believe that even when our employees have different perspectives, our values and culture will direct them towards a common purpose – that of serving humanity.”
But Nicole warns that the lack of a strong corporate culture or, in fact, a toxic corporate culture, can have severe implications for an organisation. “Some examples of the impact of a poor corporate culture are losing the organisation’s competitive edge, an ongoing struggle with talent acquisition, employee disengagement, low job satisfaction levels, a reduction in productivity and performance – as well as high turnover rates,” she says.
According to Nicole, despite initial views that remote working would have a negative impact on corporate culture, research has revealed that there was a positive spike in culture ratings during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Organisations that saw a positive change to their corporate culture ratings excelled at transparent and effective leadership communication, put a focus on employee well-being and responded to environmental changes with increasing agility,” she adds.

She suggests that organisations with hybrid or remote working models need to continue to communicate their strategy clearly throughout their organisation, and to put policies in place to assist employees in integrating their work and family responsibilities.

“Key to hybrid working models is supporting employees with general wellbeing, experimenting with different and new ways of working, collaborating and having flexibility in operational processes. Hybrid and remote work are here to stay and it is extremely important that organisations continue to be mindful of the challenges and opportunities presented by such models,” she concludes.

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