Asher Primrose: Organisational culture does not need to be office-based

Asher Primrose

Creating a strong organisational culture is not easy with a virtual team. Employees cannot ask each other about their weekend when walking to the office kitchen or decorate each other’s desks for birthdays. But at Allied Health Media, the parent organisation of online continuing education business Continued, our team is a collaborative, communicative, and 100% virtual bunch.

We have existed solely online from the start, and considering our 2% annual voluntary turnover, a virtual presence works for our 88 employees. We value commute-less evenings, practical working hours and the ability to be there for our families at home. As a result, our employees are engaged, happy and care about one another.

A key element of our success is a central communication hub. We used to rely on email, Skype and G Suite to connect, but employees receiving 60 emails on their birthday was not cutting it. So in 2014, we launched a digital workplace through Igloo Software that allows us to organise and share organisation communications, policies and calendars. We have created team spaces for each department and a microblog for casual communication to reflect our culture. The platform is easy to navigate, even for employees who may not be tech-savvy, and it has accelerated on-boarding by centralising all the information new hires need.

To organisations moving to a digital workplace, I recommend discussing with departments and teams what content they want to put out there, leaning on a platform for organisational tips, and leveraging employees’ creative skills to customise its look. The more employers are involved, the stronger the culture will feel.

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By adding this type of software, our team can connect as if we have a physical presence. We can keep a tight community as we continue to grow and we can communicate effectively as we  spread out around the world. The platform is the place our employees start their day and the place they come back to throughout the day to connect, collaborate, share, and do their work.

Asher Primrose is HR director at Allied Health Media