Tired. Burnt Out. Social Anxiety. Fearful. Low Confidence. Bewildered. Uncertain. Reluctant. Pessimistic.
Just a few of the feelings described by our clients at the prospect of returning to an office / hybrid work culture where many of their former colleagues are gone and relationships with new ones may seem artificial at present.
Leaders are reporting real apprehension at the task facing them as we move to an evolving new normal. Re-establishing their business to be both resilient and agile in a world where the pandemic has accelerated disruption and social justice issues have been front and centre make them fearful of missteps. Re-engaging employees with their colleagues and the strategy and objectives of the future seems a herculean task.
Consideration of culture is critical to success here. Assessing the fitness of your pre pandemic culture and pinpointing what may need to be adjusted will reap big rewards.
HR leaders and their senior colleagues must be intentional in assessing, re-defining and building the cultures of the future. What aspects of culture sustained colleagues through the last year and a half? Which fell by the wayside? What needs to be embedded in your culture going forward that does not exist right now?
Assessing the fitness of your pre pandemic culture and pinpointing what may need to be adjusted will reap big rewards.
Top tips for re-shaping your culture:
1. Don’t do a survey – employees are thirsty for face time with their colleagues and leaders. Consider how you can physically engage the workforce in a culture diagnostic. Hold surgeries and listening groups and have great facilitators to help you. Think strategically about the questions you pose and the mix of groups – functions, levels, ages, tenure for example. Employees are looking for increased agency in their work – collaboration and inclusion will reap great rewards.
2. Work really hard on trust – this has been the biggest casualty of the work from home period. Trust requires you to know your colleagues well. It requires you to be vulnerable and admit when you are in a hole / need help. It asks authenticity of you – hard to deliver over a zoom screen. These contributors to trust have been adversely affected by the pandemic period where people have not been able to socialise and are fearful of admitting mistakes when job cuts may be looming.
3. Closely examine the contributing elements – existing vision, mission and values may need to be rethought for relevance. Capabilities and personalities required to be successful in the future may be different and will affect the nature of teaming. Onboarding processes may need to be updated to better connect colleagues early on. Ways of working will certainly change, perhaps building on those that have been successfully adapted for a virtual world. What impact will any changes have on performance and reward strategies? And how do these align to the new culture versus being in conflict with it?
4. The social side – Re-establish the social side of work and align ways of working to the future.
5. Connection and engagement -How can we better connect remote colleagues and help them to be present? How do we build social engagement into remote working? What’s the equivalent of the water cooler conversation in virtual teams? How do we connect hybrid teams and help them to create relationships? What changes do managers and leaders need to make?
6. Use solution based thinking versus problem solving – assess which methodologies might best support the redesign and build of a new culture e.g. can appreciative inquiry help colleagues use past success to solution for the new world and reignite skills that may have been dormant for a while?
7. Make work life balance a priority – we’ve discovered it’s all too easy for us all to allow work to bleed into our personal and family lives. What boundaries need to be created and how do we best support our colleagues?
8. Support your leaders – what pivots do leaders need to make to express, model and reinforce a great company culture?
9. Deeper understanding – Understand the change impact and have an implementation plan – hope is not a strategy!
For 18 months companies have been dealing with the constant changes and people challenges of keeping businesses working in what was brand new territory for most. The 19th July now throws up even more choices for employers to make. So, how can you manage the immediate new challenges and at the same time lead and plan for a longer term unknown future? At Tessiant we can help you with your approach to resetting your organisation and culture, see our toolkit here: