How to build a collaborative culture in remote work

Looking to stem the tide of the Great Resignation? It's time to start investing in tech

How to build a collaborative culture in remote work

As we move into 2022, the rise of digitization only continues to grow and grow. Gone are the days of the nine-to-five, in-office models – replaced instead by sleek, modern, hybrid work. And while remote structures have been essential over the past 12 months – were they ever meant to be a long-term solution? One of the main issues of contention for HR leaders has been how to foster an authentic culture away from the office. How do you facilitate collaboration, boost morale, and make those important colleague connections from behind a screen? HRD spoke to Meghan Stettler, director of the O.C Tanner Institute, who explained the most effective ways of driving a creative culture in hybrid work.

“After nearly two years of widespread fragmentation brought about a series of cascading crises, the need to rebuild authentic cultures of connection is imperative to stemming the tide of the Great Resignation,” Stettler told HRD. “Research from the O.C. Tanner Institute’s 2022 Global Culture Report reveals that when employees feel connected to their teams, leader, and organization, they are 11x more likely to stay at their organization for another three years.”

For organizations looking to supercharge their remote working cultures, Stettler had some stellar advice.


“Maximize formal and informal moments for team building, networking, and development for remote and hybrid employees.  Well-connected teams have members who are aligned in the purpose of their work and go out of their way to help one another succeed. They also recognize each other for their great work, share successes, and show they care about one another. When employees get to know each other personally, the likelihood that they’ll feel an above-average connection to their teammates increases 42x.”


“Hold regular one-to-ones to provide powerful moments of connection, mentorship, and appreciation.  This practice continues to be a lifeline for many remote and hybrid workers dealing with high levels of stress and isolation, helping to identify challenges and solutions through the lens of empathy, gratitude, and support.  When employees feel like their leaders make time for them, they are 7x more likely to have an above-average connection with their leader.”


“Communicate a collective goal, and help employees understand how their everyday work directly contributes to achieving the organization’s purpose.  Then celebrate all together when the goal is met, to reinforce connection to purpose, accomplishment, and one another.  When employees feel they are a crucial part of an organization’s success and they are doing important work, they are more connected and less likely to feel left out.  Employees who connect to purpose are 20x more likely to have an aspirational connection to their organization.”

The research really does speak for itself. Companies that have an up-to-date, high-purpose tech solution already in place weathered the COVID storm better than those that did not. Investing in emerging HR tools and programs doesn’t only help employees work better from their own homes, it also supercharges the overall employee experience.

For Stettler, she believes in leveraging this new technology to accelerate digital frustration and facilitate meaningful connections.

“Organizations need to ensure that their tools for connection are not only up to date but are integrated into culture in a way that enhances the employee experience,” she told HRD. “For instance, having a recognition program that supports plugins directly tied into email, and other communication channels makes appreciation accessible and personal in the normal flow of work for remote and hybrid employees.  It ensures that just because people are no longer in the same physical space, that opportunity for genuine connection to teams, leaders and the organization doesn’t get lost. 

“As organizations take stock of technology and consider how new technology may enhance their culture and employee experience, the O.C. Tanner Institute uncovered four key employee perceptions that indicate how culturally ready an organization is to adopt and integrate new technology.  We call this metric Cultural Technology Innovation Readiness—or CTIR.  To score high in CTIR, employees must feel that new technology is implemented with employees’ best interest in mind, that the organization will be responsible with workplace data, that the technology will help connect employees and customers together, and that it will have a tangible, positive impact on the employee experience.  When organizations integrate technology into their culture, there is a 644% higher likelihood of success, 424% higher likelihood employees are engaged and 296% higher likelihood of increased revenue. 

“As Judy Smith, CEO of Smith & Company, said: ‘Delivering a winning employee experience means leveraging technology to provide employees an experience at work that is comparable to their experience as consumers’.”

To learn more on the best ways to supercharge your culture in remote work, download O.C Tanner’s free whitepaper here.

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