7 Tips for Improving Your Culture Post Covid-19
“Positive culture is a vital aspect of running a business–more than 50% of executives say corporate culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value, and growth rates. These corporate culture statistics outline how important culture is in attracting, retaining, and satisfying employees.” – https://bonfyreapp.com/blog/8-stats-building-a-corporate-culture
Currently, the new struggle is finding ways to motivate employees to come back to work, many like being home and having more ownership of their time. People are starting to realize there really is no need to be in an office 9-5, 5 days a week, and Covid has proven just that. Of course, with every positive there is a negative of sorts, chatter of “quarantine fatigue” has been showing the importance of getting out of the house. Many people suffering from this issue is because they are stuck at home, isolated, and frustrated. Now throw into the mix the idea of people walking into a hostile or uncomfortable workplace, you now turned their quarantine fatigue into a full-blown mental health crisis. As we begin to encourage employees to return to the workplace, it is extremely important, perhaps now more than ever to take a hard look at your company culture, and also consider the benefits of employees not being stuck at their desk for 9-5’s every day. One way to really help overcome quarantine fatigue is with connection to others, if you can make your workspace a positive environment for others to connect your employees will actually look forward to coming to work post-pandemic.
Point 1: Empathy/lack thereof: The stats show that 92% of CEO’s surveyed stated that their company is empathetic towards employees. However, only 50% of employees felt that this statement was true. Overall, the inability to be empathetic to your employees are scaring them away, reducing productivity, and making them feel that they would rather be anywhere other than in the office building. This means the employee finds no meaning in their work, leadership, or company. How often do you notice if quitting time is 5 pm, people are already packing up around 4, and the office is a ghost town exactly at 5? It isn’t a ghost town because they can leave, it’s a ghost town because they NEED to leave, they have zero desire to stay for even another second.
Point 2: Proper engagement: Only 1 in 3 employees feel they are recognized for their work and efforts. Studies show that employees who receive little to no recognition are more likely to say they’ll quit and look for another job within a year. Many employees in the U.S. have reported feeling disengaged from their work. With a number of 51% of employees feeling that they are disengaged it means they don’t want to do their work, be at work, or give anything more than the bare minimum to their work. The stats show that when employees are more engaged their absenteeism is lowered by 41%, productivity increases by 17%, and turnover lowers by 24%. With this being said your ability to work with your employees and create a better culture is more important than replacing “lazy people” with “more motivated people.” Chances are your employees aren’t bad at their jobs, or lazy, they’re just demotivated by your leadership.
Point 3: Company Reputation: 86% of potential employees would not apply for a company that has a bad reputation. Also, employees that work for a company that has a bad reputation are more likely to quit, since they don’t want the association with such a company as they feel it reflects on them as a person, perpetuating working for a company that they don’t share values with or have any pride to be a part of. This comes down to company pride, if you’re lacking employees that are proud of their job, leadership, and company as a whole they will be less engaged, less likely to stay, and more likely to encourage others to stay away from your organization.
Point 4: Social Environment: Political work cultures which have been developed, show that 58% of employees said they have or would leave a company due to negative office politics. How do we fix office politics? One way is by breaking up favoritism and making sure that we break down “cliques” to keep the environment open to everyone, treat everyone the same, and make sure that the company sees that everyone has the same opportunities. (story and connectivity to drive home the point is important)
Point 5: Building Trust: Only 46% of employees report trusting their company; that’s a staggeringly low number. When employees don’t trust their company, they look for better opportunities elsewhere. Trust is one of the most important components to keeping a cohesive work culture, where there is no trust, there is no comfort, and when people are uncomfortable, they leave or produce poorly. Now more than ever trust is going to be the determining factor of if your employee is going to be engaged or show up for a paycheck. Trust will be the building block and foundation of how your company will move forward post-Covid, do employees feel that their leadership is excited about their return, or do they feel that they are still going to be in the same unappreciated workspace? With so many leaders falling short on the empathy scale it is paramount to the successful transition of your employees returning to work to feel that they are valued and that the leadership understands their needs and can show more empathy, engagement, and connection. For this transition to be made smoothly the leadership must grow themselves to a place of change and adapt to the climate and culture of today’s world and society.
Point 6: Importance of Attracting Higher Talent: Cultures that attract seasoned employees lead to much higher revenue, stats show about a 33% increase in fact. Most of this is attributed to hiring good managers, which leads to an increase in employee productivity by about 27% per person. The employees are paramount to your success, as a leader, it is important to keep in mind, they don’t work for you, you work for them. While servant leadership is a timeless concept, the phrase was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay he published in 1970. In this essay, he explicitly stated that a servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. Traditionally we see leadership as an accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power and puts the needs of others first as they help people develop and perform as highly as possible. It is important to remember that the biggest measure of success isn’t how many people you have under you, but rather how many people can duplicate and produce the results that you want. Duplicity is a true measure of success, if people can’t replicate your work, it’s because you have not done a good job as a leader when it comes to teaching your employees. Employees are resilient and businesses are not, understanding business is to understand people, what they need, and how they work most effectively. Connecting to people will attract a new quality of work and a new quality of employee.
Point 7: Employee Burnout: This is every companies worst enemy, employee burnout will make levels of productivity and profitability stagger and sink. Then what, you replace all your “lazy” employees with fresh new ones who want to “get after it more than your last sack of lazy people” until they burn out too, and so the vicious cycle continues. Studies have shown that 61% of employees report feelings of being burnt out and 31% report high levels of work stress. Many of the employees feel that their stress and feelings of being burnt out contribute to why they are so disconnected from their work. The employee’s ability to be productive will be tied to their ability to manage stress.
Summary: What Needs to Change: All 7 of these points if implemented and changed will improve your company drastically. The best way to invest in your company is an investment in yourself. Education of leadership and culture through articles, training, courses, and coaching are all excellent ways to take out the guesswork, clearly define goals and focus, and make lasting and impactful change.
Some additional resources have been included here:
Building Empathy is a key factor in keeping your employees in the office, here are some ways you can do it: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/using-empathy-to-improve-your-workplace-4157504
Feedback can be given in a positive and constructive way to help with employee engagement and retention, here are some ways to do it: https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/5-reasons-your-feedback-is-hurting-not-helping/
Trust is built through consistent and positive leadership, anyone can be a boss, but developing leadership skills takes time, a few great ways to build trust can be found here: https://hbr.org/2014/06/proven-ways-to-earn-your-employees-trust
A few reasons that people are the most important asset of your company can be found here: https://www.continuitycentral.com/index.php/news/resilience-news/1772-why-business-resilience-should-be-about-people-not-algorithms
Some great ways to improve employee engagement can be found here: https://inside.6q.io/increase-employee-engagement-in-the-workplace/