Currently, leaders have a unique opportunity to cement and leverage their company culture to design the greatest impact for their organizations. Organizational culture is one of the most important possessions of the companies. If culture is the way things get done around here and what employees do when no one is looking, it is highly significant when employees are away from the office, from their colleagues, teams, and their managers.
Those who are working from home may never return to the office. This means that they might not get the same amount of direction, supervision, and coaching from their managers and a good organizational culture is all about guiding & directing the decisions of all employees at all echelons.
So how should we manage and leverage culture in such cataclysmic times? How do you create a culture that exhibits true values of your company? Let’s understand…
1. Competitive Advantage:The Most Powerful Source
Competitive Advantage means an advantage over your competitors. The idea behind its strength is that Competitive Advantage is extremely difficult for competitors to replicate. It’s because your company has certain standards and values that stand you out in your industry. Competitive Advantage is all about sending strong messages to the stakeholders that are irreplicable for competitors. Your company’s culture is an underlying item for Competitive Advantage. So, working on the culture during a pandemic is going to furnish positive results.
2. New Talent During The Pandemic
Employers as well as employees are experiencing a new shift in their working styles. And it is a fact that culture attracts talent. The most wonderful cultures value people, adapt when it’s needed, provide career growth, and deliver great financial results. However culture is not about it hence it is a subjective concept as well. The pandemic has put many cultures in stark relief as this time employees really got an opportunity to witness whether a company’s stated value truly exhibits in their companies’ actions or not.
For example, the company which provided employees with modern technology to get their jobs done has struggled a lot to outfit its employees in their homes or the organization that is so nimble even under normal circumstances has been challenged to make even more quick decisions to meet demand. The pandemic has made employees assess whether they want to stay with their companies for the long term or not.
What’s new is that leaders have become extremely important in shaping and cementing up employees’ engagement and perception. Leaders matter because people look up to leaders and draw conclusions about the company culture based on their designations. During the pandemic, leaders have become a source of true information for many employees. There is so much information that comes from many sources and leaders who have the most information about one topic, also tend to place a greater influence on the teams.Therefore, you don’t really manage a culture and instead you manage behaviours that shape your company’s structure. Fostering behaviours that represent the values and norms should be reinforced.
3. Communication and Community
Culture is an iceberg in which normas, values, and assumptions are below the water level and not visible but palpable. The more companies bring things above the water (which is visible), the more companies become visible and conscious. People can’t trust what they can’t understand. Hence, clarity on culture is more important than usual.
When people gather together, it’s easier for companies to communicate their goals to create a sense of community. Without having a time to be physically together, companies should be creative in maintaining a virtual sense of esprit de corps.
Here are 8 recommendations to manage the culture of your organization as a leader:
- Keep discussing your culture with your employees and reinforce the type that you want to sustain.
- Just stick with the values that you have been praising since ages. For example, if you promote empowerment at your organization, then you should ensure that even amidst unprecedented times, you are still providing ways to your employees to be empowered.
- Recognize the people or employees who have been acting the way you desire and take those employees’ behaviors as an example for reinforcements.
- Focus on employees’ needs and proactively address their concerns.
- Make sure that the managers are being empathetic to the employees. Provide coaching and training on the same.
- Create mentorship programs and plan the communication process between teams and individuals.
- Create an open forum where employees can share their concerns so that more quick information can be obtained and guidance can be provided immediately.
- Send a strong signal regarding your culture internally as well as externally.
The pandemic has brought several negative as well as positive realizations. However, it is surely an opportunity for you to create a constructive virtual culture.