Don’t Let Scheduling Barriers Stop You From Building Great Company Culture
When your entire team works a traditional 9-5, you know when to schedule professional development and team-building opportunities. But what if you manage teams that work round-the-clock hours or that cover different portions of the day, like customer support, IT, doctors or nurses, or police officers?
Unfortunately, when your employees work hours that overlap, it can be difficult to include them in company culture initiatives. After all, if someone must always cover the phones, then someone must always be left out!
Don’t let the clock hold you back from the powerful benefits that come from developing great company culture. Here are three things you can do to bridge the gap when your employees are working complementary shifts:
Treat them like a remote team
Remote teams face similar challenges as shift workers, they’re just gone all the time. Consider adapting some remote best practices for your team, like the following:
- Use photo and video. Film team member introductions and updates to help team members connect visually.
- Use a comprehensive communication tool like Slack. Opposing shifts can still engage in company-wide conversations or chat discussions, just delayed by a few hours.
- Assign off-hours partners or mentors. Give team members “pen-pals” or mentors on different shifts to encourage more communication outside their typical team.
- Enable cross-shift appreciation. Make it easy for teams to compliment and encourage each other by installing a box or bulletin board where team members can leave updates for later shifts.
Schedule more team-building events
Another solution is to increase the number of company culture events you have to “cover the spread” and increase the likelihood that team members can meet. The more events you have at different hours (think morning breakfasts and mid-afternoon brunches instead of the typical happy hour) will allow more people to have a chance to attend.
For example, let’s say you want to get your co-workers together for a during-work-hours professional development activity, but your teams work complementary shifts like 7-3 PM, 3-12 AM, and 12-7 AM. Within a one-month period, try to schedule a morning breakfast at 6 AM and an afternoon lunch at 2PM that can catch two shifts at a time. If possible, provide an incentive for teammates to attend.
Build great company culture through location
Your team may not work the same hours, but if they work in the same space, you can use that to their advantage. Depending on your location, use a common table, wall, or desk set up to let teams communicate and engage with each other. This could take the form of ongoing games (think chess or tic-tac-toe) or simply a wall of positive messages and affirmations that team members edit collaboratively.
For example, at a hospital in Virginia, different teams of nurses are responsible for decorating seasonal bulletin boards in the NICU unit. This is a great way for people who might not otherwise see each other to engage with new information in an old location. Consider implementing an idea like this that allows different shifts to interact with each other even when they don’t see each other regularly.
While it can be difficult to build camaraderie among always-on support teams and shift workers, it’s always worth the effort. Use these creative solutions to bridge the gap and develop great company culture across shift lines.
CultureIQ can help you build a solid culture regardless of your scheduling conflicts. Learn more here!