Updated: May 18, 2020
As someone who works with a variety of companies and industries, responding to my clients during this pandemic has brought a roller coaster of emotions. I've seen clients make decisions with layoffs. I've seen them onboard newly acquired companies. I've seen leaders who have navigated the transition to remote working. And seen other leaders struggle to let go of the "way it has always been done."
But one consistent piece of feedback that has been echoed over the last two months can be summarized with the statement of "Our culture has shown up."
In his recent article, Josh Bersin reiterates this fact (with more data and pretty charts). The study in the article shows that leaders believe that their culture and employee experience has improved during the pandemic.
Why? Many organizations have been forced to do the things the define culture and employee engagement - communication, employee well being, leaders showing care and concern - over the last two months.
Many organizations have now entered - or are entering - the next chapter of this pandemic as they "return to work." You're seeing a wide variety of strategies in motion already. In the news just this week, Jack Dorsey announced Twitter's response while Elon Musk focused on a different approach for Tesla.
Both strategies are unique to their business and employee needs. And while your organizational strategy might fall somewhere in between these two, it will be important to not forget what has gotten you to this point - how you respond to the needs of others and focus on relationships.
When the pandemic began, organizations were forced into new ways of working - and new ways to serve the customer. Organizations responded with remote work and quickly realized (with school closings, dependent care issues and mental health needs) flexible work and well-being support was an essential part of the strategy.
Leaders realized monthly meetings with their teams and team members weren't enough when isolated at home - or separated from their teams. Strategies for daily stand-up meetings and/or office hours have become more common place.
The saying "if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers and your business" seems to be proven - again - during this pandemic. Culture - including leaders and team members - have shown up during a difficult time. While this next phase while bring more complexity and caution, continue to lean into this "new normal" by emphasizing culture and relationships within your organization.