Navigating company culture has never been more challenging than in the age of COVID-19 and remote work That's why we sat down with founder, podcaster, and author Chris Dyer, a tried-and-true expert on company culture and remote work.
Chris partners with Kunik to coach teams on effective leadership and creating a culture that supports both the C-suite and employees. Together, we go through topics like:
"With Kunik, their methodology can create a snowball effect. That adds stickiness to the changes I spell out and to these concepts that all teams can benefit from."
Every organization faces unique challenges (often of their own creation) when building a thriving company culture. They each have their own vibes and organizational structures, which can create friction in his process.
Even then, Chris sees many parallels between companies when using his techniques to solve these issues. Chris loves methodically — almost surgically — taking an organization from division to cohesion, no matter its quirks. Below, he outlines two red flags that signal you may need a company culture overhaul.
Burnout comes in many forms. People may feel stressed because they can't get their work done on time or spend too many of their precious hours in meetings and calls. When Chris sees that, he asks these questions to get to the root of the problem:
The answers often lead Chris to reframe and retool a company’s meeting and comms policies. Teams tend to waste time in meetings because they don’t differentiate between meetings for striking specific outcomes vs. personal catch-ups.
After all, if you bump into a co-worker in the hallway and ask them a quick question, it likely wouldn’t turn into a full-length conversation about their day. That’s not rude, it’s just how in-person workplace interactions go. Recreating those quick touchpoints virtually takes intention and effort.
When employees get frustrated, companies experience higher turnover and talent loss. Chris tends to see this when organizations do not share the full, fleshed-out picture of the business with their staff. When you withhold information, employees fill in the gaps with their own concerns: "If I don't know the answer here, the truth must be terrible," explains Chris.
He affirms that it seldom harms a company to reveal the whole truth to employees — even if the truth is less than ideal. Here are two ways he approaches this to foster transparency:
For micro-level transparency, Chris specifically recommends group goals “therapy” — rather than individual — as a strategy.
"When people don't share goals, they may feel like a terrible employee for not meeting them. But if your peers know that all you need is extra time every day to meet a goal, they can help you out. That builds camaraderie on the team as well.”
In 2009, Chris transitioned his company to a fully remote workplace to save costs. Their office lease was up, and the rent was increasing significantly. Rather than lay people off, he had everyone work from home. Remote work was a smash hit from the beginning. Employees immediately requested that the change be permanent.
Ironically, they didn't advertise being fully remote at the time because it was still considered a negative to not have a physical HQ. However, as years passed, remote work became more common and accepted. Then, COVID hit. Chris’ remote expertise was in serious demand as major orgs, from IKEA to the [Country’s] Ministry of Defense, didn’t know how to build remote functionalities.
Soon after, managers began to see the impressive productivity results from remote work:
Looking forward, Chris sees hybrid work as a democratization of sorts. Before the pandemic, only certain employees were permitted to go partially remote. Today, many companies will offer this across the board.
"Managers realized remote work could be done without their worst fears coming true. People weren't sitting on their couch, eating bonbons and not working. They worked harder and got more productive."
Chris has worked with many clients where he provides inspiration and clear next steps — but there is no follow-up and zero changes. This is why he loves working with Kunik’s team and customers.
Chris will kick off with clients by giving a talk to share his expert insights. From there, the Kunik team keeps working with that partner company to:
In his words, “Kunik facilitates ongoing conversations that lead to real change.”
“There is a definite structure to Kunik Conversations. At the same time, we bring unique, specialized information, strategies, and outcomes for every company.”