From the office outing you’ve been planning for weeks to your comprehensive plans to expand into another location – big changes cause several things to take a backseat. But culture is not one of those things which should be placed neatly in a company’s figurative “storage room.”
Simply put, company culture is the collective outcome of what you and your employees say, do, or think within the workforce. It is a mirror of all the rules that your collective workforce follows. Good or bad – it is inevitable for culture to take form and grow in strength with each passing day. So, when times get tough, it is critical to rebuild and reinforce the right culture. For instance, a culture initially designed for an in-office setting might need ample “tweaking” to ensure it remains positive and efficient in a remote work setting.
But, how can organizations foster positive work cultures in the wake of a crisis? Read on to understand!
Detect and Address Workplace Biases
Detecting and addressing workplace bias is no walk in the park. Several types of bias linger within a workforce and most of them typically fall into two categories – conscious and unconscious bias. Unconscious bias occurs when an individual is unaware of the bias they harbor. For example, in the case of “Similarity-Attraction” bias, a manager may end up hiring a candidate simply because they see a lot of themselves in them – either in disposition or appearance.
Uncovering and remedying biases help create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. It also helps wipe out the instances of discrimination among several levels of management. Here’s a quick look at how a majority of workplace bias can be worked on:
- Focusing on facts rather than assumptions.
- Offering bias training to managers and employees.
- Evaluating candidates without letting biases such as age, race, gender, appearance, and more overpower hiring decisions.
- Creating anti-bias policies (such as using performance review phrases and structured interviews to gauge the qualifications of candidates) to make for a culture of inclusivity.
Compassion Works Wonders
Sure, the rise of COVID-19 brought out several challenges that organizations didn’t experience before. However, the lack of compassion has been an issue which has plagued company cultures for the longest time. Workplace discrimination, overwhelming work pressure, abuse of authority, issues of retaliation, and lack of action toward employee grievances have always been flowing in companies’ veins.
Regardless of the kind of battle an organization faces, it’s often the employees that take the heaviest of the blows. This is where compassion helps assuage the challenges. Ensuring that your employees have access to hand sanitizer, COVID 19 POCT test from SureScreen, and other safety precautions means that your employees will feel cared for.
Leaders and managers must bring compassion to the conversations and acknowledge the efforts every employee puts in to cope with difficult situations. When employees feel “understood”, they automatically contribute to a positive work culture.
Make Technology Your Company’s Companion
From just 31% to 62% – remote work simply doubled as a result of the pandemic. Such a massive shift required equally massive changes to how companies welcomed and managed new hires.
With remote or hybrid work cultures now finding a forever place within global organizations, squeezing the best out of technology seems to be the only logical path toward growth.
While regular tools like video conference, emails, and instant messaging “get the work done”, it’s equally critical to make your employees feel “connected” – regardless of the physical distance.
Without the good old in-office work environment, it can be incredibly easy for efficient work cultures to take a backseat – especially when it comes to retaining a robust culture of compliance.
Remote work doesn’t mean the end of ethical issues. In some cases, it can be the very reason for an increase in these issues – especially when organizations fail to put a solid compliance system in place. This is where the need for investing in compliance solutions and software comes in.
Guide Your Staff By Carving Out Clear Goals
Your organization’s goals are the pathway that would lead the employees towards the right destination. In other words, to see any tangible results, it’s critical to design a “crystal clear” outline of objectives each team must adhere to.
This will help boost individual performance and foster strong collaboration between the teams. Create room for feedback so you can alter KPIs and quotes when the time comes. For example, if Team A consistently meets its goals, it might be time to adjust its objectives for taking the production up a notch.
Make sure all the employees are clear with your company’s long-term goals to foster a collective professional purpose.
Sure, organizations see several storms approaching their horizons. But regardless of how challenging the times of change gets, some strategies for a healthy workforce always remain constant. These include:
- Encouraging employees to take their paid time off (PTO) to help them avoid burnout and boost their productivity.
- Stressing on the importance of mental health and self-care.
- From Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to health insurance plans to even the meditation rooms you might have in the office – educating your staff about the resources they have access to, to cope with stress.
- Allowing employees to work remotely.
- Offering comprehensive (and fun) ethics and compliance training to ensure employees remember and follow what they learn.
Promote Diversity and Inclusivity (and Mean It!)
Diverse organizations typically outperform their non-diverse counterparts. Individuals who come from diverse backgrounds have their own ideas, experiences, and perspectives that fuel an organization’s growth and resilience.
For instance, according to Fundera research, organizations with an ethnically diverse workforce are 35% more likely to perform better. In addition, teams that boast diversity are 70% more likely to succeed in capturing new markets.
Team up with your HR department to infuse diversity into your overall recruitment strategy. Celebrate the differences your employees from all backgrounds come with.
Go By A Zero Tolerance Policy
Protecting the individualities and rights of employees is critical for holding the workplace culture together. Give employees the opportunity to express their issues freely and without any fear of retaliation. Offer ample support and resources to encourage a speak-up culture.
A great way to do that would be to supply them with an anonymous ethics hotline – especially if they want to report the issues they see or experience without any fear of retaliation. Should an employee feel the need to communicate something, HR representatives must also be quick to offer personal conversations to hear and resolve their issues.
Noting down the issues, however, is not enough. Organizations must have rigorous strategies in place to not only resolve every issue but also ensure the same issues don’t repeat down the line.
Change is constant. Change is challenging. Change demands the right efforts if a company is to stay afloat and succeed. Whether it’s a pandemic, a new CEO, or an extremely complex merger – it’s inevitable for organizations to journey through several transitions. But when the new normal sets in and the initial rush of emotions die down – it’s critical to put the spotlight back on the company culture through transparent and effective communication, recognition of employee efforts, setting up robust compliance systems in place, and deploying the right technology.
Giovanni Gallo is the Co-CEO of ComplianceLine, where his team strives to make the world a better workplace with compliance hotline services, sanction and license monitoring, and workforce eLearning software and services.
Growing up as the son of a Cuban refugee in an entrepreneurial family taught Gio how servanthood and deep care for employees can make a thriving business a platform for positive change in the world. He built on that through experience with startups and multinational organizations so ComplianceLine’s solutions can empower caring leaders to build strong cultures for the betterment of every employee and their community.
When he’s not working, Gio’s wrangling his four young kids, riding his motorcycle, and supporting education, families, and the homeless in the Charlotte community.