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Company Culture Update: Remain engaged in times of hardship

Collaboration and culture-building have become difficult for companies to achieve as the nation approaches nearly half a year since social distancing measures began. While COVID-19 may have isolated workforces from each other, there are still many ways to participate in office engagement.

On this episode of Company Culture Update, Trailer Bridge President and CEO Mitch Luciano talked with Emily Szink, FreightWaves executive vice president of content, about the importance of communication in keeping companies thriving through trying times.

Company culture must always begin with those in charge, Luciano emphasized. Staff members want to know that upper management acknowledges their opinions and appreciates their contributions.

“It’s not just about caring with a paycheck or bonus, it’s about listening and having conversations with your workforce, regardless of their role in the organization,” Luciano said. “Companies with leaders who genuinely care are typically more successful than others.”

Luciano also believes that diversity within an organization can help team members develop a sense of inclusion. With offices throughout the U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Virgin Islands, Trailer Bridge’s diverse workforce challenges each branch to remain open-minded and to learn from one another.

“If more people had diversity within their organization, they would have fewer challenges facing them moving forward,” Luciano said. “I learn something new from our branches every single day.”

However, the lack of a formal office setting and the camaraderie that accompanies it can dampen the spirits of team members. Around 80% of Trailer Bridge employees work from home — a statistic that motivated Luciano to stay connected with the workforce, as he believes the home-based work model fosters disengagement.

Luciano encourages workforces to regularly schedule get-togethers — virtual happy hours of sorts — to keep team members engaged in conversation. 

The Trailer Bridge workforce has maintained a high level of productivity throughout the health crisis as the company hasn’t loosened its expectations for employee productivity. Luciano noted that Trailer Bridge continues to measure phone call and email engagement in addition to reviewing customer feedback.  

“One of the advantages we had was that we held our employees accountable before the health crisis,” Luciano said. “We let them know that accountability was not going to go away just because they are working from home.”

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Jack Glenn

Jack Glenn is a sponsored content writer for FreightWaves and lives in Chattanooga, TN with his golden retriever, Beau. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business.