We read quite a bit around here, and we like to pass along the insights we gather from our reading. Recently Insigniam, a management consulting firm for executives, published the results of a survey they conducted measuring changes in workplace attitudes because of the pandemic. We think their findings are important for everyone trying to manage corporate culture, so we’ll summarize them for you here.
Perhaps the most important finding is this: We aren’t the same as we were before the pandemic started, and we’re not going back. The time we’ve spent working from home with all its attendant issues has fundamentally changed how we look at our work, our workplaces and our families. Those of us trying to lead organizations in this new world need to understand how our employees have changed and recognize that we’re not going back to “the way it was.” A positive future requires us to find a way forward, not the path back to anything.
The authors of the Insigniam study wrote, “By understanding how their people have changed, leaders and organizations can create new environments that will allow people to bring their best to work.”
Our goal at PROPEL always is to help you bring the best to work by improving your culture. So, let’s dig into the survey itself.
Insigniam asked slightly more than 1,000 business people worldwide three questions:
- How have you changed?
- During the course of the pandemic, in what ways have you changed your expectations of the people leading your organization?
- How will your organization need to change to adapt to the post-pandemic you?
The respondents came from all types of businesses and from all levels. Their positions ranged from those who are self-employed to CEO-level executives. The survey was conducted in English during January and February 2021.
The responses to the survey revealed five shifts in how employees view the world:
- My life takes precedence over my work – the latter will not displace the former again.
- The illusion of “two selves” – work and home – has been shattered. I am a single, whole, integrated person.
- I see that in an instant anything can change.
- I know now that leadership can be found anywhere and in anyone, including myself.
- I am inextricably connected to others around the globe.
You might ask, “What does this mean for my organization?” Insigniam found five implications for the responses they received. They are:
- Inflexible work environments are a thing of the past . . .
- . . . and so are leaders, managers and organizations that don’t show care for their people.
- Uncertainty has given rise to anxiety – and to an appetite for positive change.
- The world feels smaller, and people care about their own impact on it.
- Authenticity matters.
Positive Culture Is Critical to the Post-Pandemic Workplace
This survey echoes what we believe to be true – now may the best time in years to develop a positive corporate culture. It’s likely that your culture – the collection of words, actions, thoughts, and “stuff” that clarifies and reinforces what is truly valued inside your organization – has changed in the past year. Your goals may be the same, but the way you accomplish them may be different because you and your employees have changed their perspectives.
So how do you engage a new culture?
First, you’ll need to assess it. We expect your culture will be different in critical ways from the culture you worked in at the beginning of 2020. You may have to adjust your strategies based on both the positive and negative aspects of that change, but ignoring your culture during a time of upheaval will not serve you well in the long run.
At PROPEL, we use the WorkXO Culture Assessment to capture what it’s like to work at your organization – the patterns, the experiences, even the contradictions inherent in how you do things. The assessment takes your employees 15 minutes to complete, and the results come back in days, not weeks. The platform allows you to slice and dice the data any way you’d like.
What Are Your Next Steps?
We think that a culture assessment is the logical first step to defining and nurturing your culture during radical change, particularly if you want your company to thrive. The results can be the starting point for the critical conversations your organization needs.
Of course, you might not be ready to spearhead change yourself. If that’s the case, PROPEL is ready to help with the change part – if you need us. We have developed a Growth Mindset Bootcamp that teaches leaders to foster boldness and innovation both in themselves and in their organizations. The shift in employee perceptions revealed in this survey might give you an incredible opportunity for change.
We’d love to talk about it with you. Contact us to learn more.
Photo by Duy Pham