In the history of ‘work’ has there ever been such a swift and tremendous change to the workplace than what we have experienced over the past two years, as a result of the global pandemic? If organisational culture is defined as “the way things are done around here” where does that leave our shared attitudes, beliefs and customs in the face of so much disruption, where those written and unwritten workplace rules were practically thrown out the window.
We all agree that a positive workplace culture can be critical for business success. Making any changes to culture for the better, while rewarding, can be a challenging and difficult process that happens over an extended period of time. The problem is, we’ve experienced such a monumental shift over a matter of months – both good and bad – that surely is having an impact on employee engagement and ultimately, organisational performance and business recovery.
The big question being asked is how can organisations create (or recreate) a positive workplace culture? From our experience, we see three practical areas of focus.
1. Recognition and purpose
Gratitude and acknowledgement are two fundamental levers in driving worker engagement, creating a stronger sense of belonging and connecting people to a shared purpose.
Improving the employee experience and investing in the health and wellbeing of your people, is not just good for business, it’s the right thing to do.
3. Prioritise employee engagement
Promoting a culture of engagement is something that needs to permeate through all areas of the workplace from acquisition and onboarding through to the way you manage performance and develop and support your leaders.
Unlike other business performance metrics, measuring something intangible like culture can be difficult, although not impossible. While culture itself cannot easily be quantified, it does manifest itself in behaviours that are trackable. For example, a regular pulse survey may be a way to track the effectiveness of leaders, HR metrics like retention and absenteeism can be an indicator of how well you are prioritising employee wellbeing. A net promoter score could be a good barometer for your employee value proposition (EVP). Even something as seemingly minor as employee feedback by way of a suggestion box, can be an effective way to measure the workplace environment and your appetite for constructive criticism.
Deciding exactly what you need to measure, rather than collecting data simply because it is readily available, is key. Don’t measure for the sake of measuring, rather only measure what is relevant to your culture. Measure what matters.
A great starting point is conducting a culture audit to better understand your ‘culture gap’, how the business wants to position itself vs what employees currently perceive the culture to be and what they would like it to be. As well as better understanding what is working well and what isn’t, it is also the first step towards gaining alignment. If you have been through this process pre-pandemic, don’t assume things haven’t changed.
A post-pandemic culture reset could just be the most important business priority for long-term organisational success – creating an environment that enables your people (both current and prospective employees) and ultimately your business, to thrive. Look inside your company culture. What would your employees say about the workplace? Do you really understand your culture?
Not sure where to start? Let’s talk.
The Decipher Team
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