Many businesses have had to shift to remote working to keep employees safe and thus has left leaders with the ability to have a new perspective. Being physically away from the office space and your team enables you to hold your company culture up to the mirror, giving you the chance to see your business in a new light and reassess your attitude and values.
I’ve noticed that right now, it’s more evident than ever that those organizations built around considerate people and a caring culture are thriving. These businesses are finding creative ways to get through, whether it’s team social events (online, of course), keeping the conversation flowing throughout the workday, or even providing a support system for those who are struggling. I know our employees at Talent Works have impressed me with their collaborative and supportive team spirit. It is a difficult time, and I can imagine the struggles felt at companies missing an open and collaborative culture.
From mailing favorite snacks to financial support for home office set up, companies are being creative to keep teams engaged and connected.
Successful organizations recognize that now is the time to up their game when it comes to company culture, whether this means refining it or promoting it. According to a recent survey by LinkedIn, 65% of people would rather have less compensation, and 26% would go without the fancy title than deal with a bad workplace environment, so make sure when your office reopens, it’s a place people want to be.
Here are my tips for how to evolve your company culture and prepare for life after COVID-19.
Make the most of your people
When we’re back to business as usual, employees will value each other more. Having spent weeks in isolation, human connection is going to be a business’ most valuable asset in the days, weeks, and months after COVID-19. Employees will feel inspired and motivated to work, and as leaders, we can use this to our advantage.
Find value in face-to-face contact and use human connections to drive innovation, teamwork, and personal growth. Focus on the people that make your organization stand out and the moments that matter. We should enjoy our time in the office and moments together that we previously took for granted. Meetings should be used to innovate and inspire; make those that could have been phone calls or emails a thing of the past, because we now know they really could have been. Use training sessions as an excuse to bring the team closer and reunite, it will be much more enjoyable. Our time in the office should be fun, productive, and meaningful; otherwise, why go back?
Get people talking
During this time, leaders have had to be a source of comfort for many employees. Things have been uncertain and scary, not just in the workplace. After COVID-19, businesses need to maintain the culture of employees having a voice. Employees will expect their employers to hear their concerns, check in on them, and simply receive more regular updates than before.
We’ve also had to become a lot better at communicating with a remote workforce; constant communication and updates are vital to ensure a business runs smoothly. Perhaps daily team meetings or regular catchups across departments have become the new normal for your business, don’t let this disappear. Working across departments and a close-knit team will have enormous benefits for any business, increasing productivity, creativity, and efficiency.
Remote working is about to become the new normal
Going back to work doesn’t mean that all employees should go back to working at their desks every day with no option of flexibility. If your employees have proven they can work from home over the past few weeks, you must offer them the opportunity to do so as and when it’s appropriate. Before the coronavirus outbreak, 5 million U.S. employees were working from home at least half the time, and understandably, this is set to increase.
Offering work from home options can reduce your employee turnover by 50%, according to a study by Stanford. Plus, reports say 80% of respondents would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. If a flexible working environment wasn’t part of your company culture before, now you’ve proven it’s doable, it may be time to think about it.
Show individuals how they contribute
Your employees have been on a journey with you over the past few weeks. They’ve been with you through the highs and lows. When business returns to normal, you need to show them that they’re valued and that they genuinely contribute to what your company is trying to achieve. Be honest and open; disclose the information you’re allowed. It will give your employees a sense of purpose that they’ll thank you for. Think of yourselves as a team; you’ve weathered the storm together; the least you can do is show them what their work has achieved. Trust me; it will empower people.
Treat going back like a fresh start
Going back to the office means there’s never been a more appropriate time to educate employees in your company culture and values. Think of it like going back to school after a long summer; your employees may need a little refresh to get back into the swing of things. This is why if you want to make any changes to your values, it’s a great time to act. Welcome your staff back with a mini-training session, refresh their minds about your company values, and inform them of any new priorities.
If you need help redefining your company values, remember that the Talent Works team are experts in creating employer brands that resonate with audiences across the globe. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you.
Jody Robie is a shareholder and manages North America for Talent Works International. She helps clients leverage our team of brand and insight specialists, creative marketers and global recruiters. She uses her expertise to research, validate, implement and activate employer brands for companies of all sizes ranging from Babson College, RELX, Moderna, iRobot, Shopify and Primark.