Retaining your company culture during challenging times
As the evenings are getting darker many of us are facing the prospect of spending the first months of winter with our everyday activities severely restricted once again. Some of us might also be suffering from ‘pandemic fatigue’ a phrase coined by the World Health Organisation and the umbrella term for how people are feeling and behaving as the pandemic continues with no end in sight.
Employers will also be fatigued – since March businesses have worked hard to stay afloat.
This has included coming up with new ways of generating revenue, identifying new markets that are ‘pandemic friendly’ and working to retain company culture and the talent and people that make up a company.
What do we mean by company culture?
For some people it means being able to describe what it’s like to work somewhere, for others it might be about how they feel when at work or it may be more about how their employer recognises and rewards achievement. The culture within an organisation influences how people feel, how they behave and how they interact with their co-workers and managers.
Organisations which have a strong employer brand will also have an identifiable culture. Brands like Amazon, Google and Facebook promote their working cultures and if asked we could probably give examples of what we think it might be like to work for these businesses. Smaller companies can also have tangible cultures and because of their size will also have the flexibility to implement employee engagement initiatives quickly, respond to challenging situations and have an ear to the ground of how their people are feeling.
Encourage people to talk and be open. Check that managers are talking to their teams – both collectively and individually.
Be as transparent as you can about the challenges and the impact of the pandemic on the business. Uncertainty and not knowing often have a greater impact than the delivery of specific negative information.
Some companies are utilising surveys which check in with their people to understand the prevalent mood and/or people’s reactions to change at work. These can be anonymous which may encourage employees to be more open.
Walk the Talk
Do what you say you are going to. Do not make promises and fail to deliver. Don’t say you are not going to do something and then go ahead and do it. If you are unsure – say nothing!
During a period of uncertainty your people will appreciate clarity and certainty at work.
The little things are important and often have a disproportionate positive impact. Virtual quizzes, promise auctions, singing Happy Birthday on Zoom, thinking of non-financial ways to reward and recognise, celebrating the small wins and good news are just some of the ways an employer can reinforce company culture.
Keep doing things that work
Though businesses are having to adapt to the current situation and do things differently don’t stop doing the things that work. Everything that made your business a great place to work pre-pandemic should still be in place - you just might just have to work harder to retain them. Ok, so the financial rewards and incentives may have taken a hammering but everything else should still be in place.
At Next Steps Outplacement we pride ourselves on understanding the cultural needs of our clients and delivering a personal service.
Anna Brett works for our partner ResourceBank, and is a key consultant for Next Steps Outplacement service which provides outplacement and careers transition services.