The Best-Kept HR Secrets for Creating a 'Wow-Atmosphere' in the Digital Workplace

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6 min
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Jun 21, 2024

Insights from Yuliya Kushnir, RISK HR Project Manager, on Fostering Connection and Collaboration in the Digital Workplace

In the ever-evolving landscape of modern work, where remote teams and digital communication are the norm, the role of HR professionals has never been more crucial. How do you build a company culture that thrives when employees are scattered across time zones and screens? How do you ensure that everyone feels connected, valued, and motivated?

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Yuliya Kushnir, an HR Project Manager at RISK, who shared her insightful approach to fostering a positive and engaging workplace environment, even in a primarily online setting. Despite being relatively new to RISK, Yuliya has already made a significant impact, particularly with her work on the company's strategic project - creating a corporate Knowledge Base.

We believe a well-organized Knowledge Base is key to a thriving company. It's all about clarity, efficiency, and growth. No more wasting time digging through channels for info—everything you need is in one place. This makes onboarding new team members a breeze and keeps everyone on the same page. As our company grows and changes, so does our Knowledge Base, ensuring we're always aligned and informed. It's a win-win for everyone: easier access to info, better decision-making, and a stronger team overall.

The Power of Words: Crafting a Knowledge Base That Engages

One of the most striking takeaways from our conversation with Yuliya was her emphasis on the power of language and communication in creating a successful Knowledge Base. She explained, "If I skim through the text and find it interesting, with clear structure, catchy words and funny emojis, then it's a good text, ready to be published. Our common goal is to describe policies in simple words, in an accessible and understandable language, without losing the necessary details of step-by-step instructions. After all, we are creating this base primarily for people, so that it is convenient and easy for them to use and always have an answer to any questions about the organization of work processes."

Yuliya's approach highlights the importance of not just providing information, but doing so in a way that resonates with employees. By using relatable language, incorporating visual elements like diagrams, pictures, where possible videos or even gifs with funny cats, and focusing on clarity and conciseness, the Knowledge Base becomes a valuable resource that people actually want to use.

Beyond the Knowledge Base: Building Connection in a Virtual World

Yuliya's passion for effective communication extends far beyond the Knowledge Base. She firmly believes that building strong relationships and fostering a sense of community are essential for any company, regardless of whether it operates online or in a traditional office setting.

"It doesn't matter whether a company works online or in an office," she says, "the main thing is to create a feeling of thoughtfulness, care for employees, and a wow-atmosphere at every stage."

Let’s delve deeper into Yuliya's top tips for achieving this "wow-atmosphere," including her insights on the importance of informal communication, personalized approaches, and the key soft skills that drive successful projects.

Fostering the "Wow-Atmosphere": Yuliya's Top Tips for HR Success

1. The Virtual "Water Cooler Conversation": Creating Space for Informal Connections

One of Yuliya's most intriguing suggestions was the importance of facilitating informal conversations, even in a remote work environment. She refers to this as the virtual equivalent of "water cooler chats" – those spontaneous, non-work-related interactions that happen organically in a physical office.

"Many managers underestimate the value of informal, cross-team small talk, especially in an online setting," Yuliya observes. "But these conversations are crucial for building rapport and understanding among colleagues."

To recreate this sense of connection online, Yuliya has experimented with implementing "random coffee chats" (Lunch Roulette app Slack -ed. notes) This involves pairing up employees at random for a short, informal virtual coffee break, where they can chat about anything but work. These casual interactions can foster a sense of camaraderie and shared experience, even when team members are miles apart.

2. The Personal Touch: Tailoring Communication to the Individual

Yuliya is a firm believer in the power of personalization, even when it comes to seemingly mundane tasks like assigning work.

"Understanding the personality and communication style of each employee is key," she explains. "Some people thrive on humor, while others prefer a more direct approach. Some need detailed instructions, while others prefer a broad overview. By tailoring our communication to each individual, we can ensure that our message is received and understood effectively."

This level of personalization may seem time-consuming, but Yuliya argues that it pays off in the long run. When employees feel seen and understood, they're more likely to be engaged, motivated, and productive.

The Importance of Soft Skills: Building a Strong Foundation for Collaboration

In addition to her insights on communication and connection, Yuliya also emphasized the importance of certain soft skills in creating a successful team and working for a project. These skills, she believes, are fundamental for fostering collaboration, problem-solving, and innovation.

Responsibility: Yuliya sees responsibility as the cornerstone of any successful project. "Responsible team members take initiative to learn and understand their tasks," she explains. "They are proactive in seeking out resources and asking for help when needed. This not only ensures that tasks are completed efficiently but also fosters a culture of continuous improvement and accountability. When everyone takes ownership of their roles, the team operates more cohesively and can navigate challenges more effectively. Moreover, responsibility drives individuals to maintain high standards in their work, leading to better outcomes and a more robust, dependable project overall."

Strategic thinking: When you perceive your task not as a separate one for which you are solely responsible, but as part of a whole mechanism that can affect the overall result of both the team and the company. This immediately changes the approach to work, teaches teamwork, work for results, and provides a "helicopter view."

People Orientation: While achieving business goals is paramount, Yuliya emphasizes the importance of valuing each employee's contribution. "Every task, no matter how small, has its own set of challenges," she says. "Recognizing and appreciating the impact of each team member is crucial for building a positive and supportive work environment."

In conclusion, Yuliya Kushnir's approach to HR is a refreshing reminder of the importance of human connection in the workplace, even in an increasingly digital world. By prioritizing communication, personalization, and the development of essential soft skills, she creates a blueprint for fostering a thriving company culture where employees feel valued, empowered, and motivated to succeed.

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