How to modify your company’s culture post COVID-19

As the lock down in the UK and globally starts to ease and some organisations start working on phased transitioning their employees back to the workplace the question of culture has been on the top of my mind. There is no doubt that many of our organisation’s culture will need to be modified especially as not all employees would be permitted or want to return to working from the offices at the meantime. Our ways of working, mentality towards work, and internal communication have forever changed and there is no looking back.

An organisation’s culture is unique, complicated, heavily guided by its purpose and reputation and can not be duplicated from another company.

According to Gallup The reason culture is important is due to several reasons including:

  1. It helps attracts the best talent
  2. It helps shape how your employees, stakeholders, and external audience talk about your organisation 
  3. It directly shapes how organisations perform
  4. Helps maximise the employee engagement level.

To drive and modify the new post covid-19 culture Gallup suggests that we should to focus on:

  1. Leadership
  2. Human capital
  3. Work teams and structures
  4. Values and rituals
  5. Performance

Wheras in my opinion we should work with Human Resources in targeting three audiences

Start with the leadership teams and ensure they:

  • Tell the truth as it is – good or bad
  • Include messages about the organisation’s purpose and employee value proposition in all their speeches and calls
  • Ensure all their messages link directly to the organisation’s values and clearly highlight this fact
  • Show how the role of the workplaces will change and how it’s OK to choose your preference. Some organisations will only use the workplaces as places to collaborate, innovate and socialise with zero screen time.

Then head to the line managers where they need to:

  • Simplify the leadership messages and make them relate to your team. For example, ask yourself what does the purpose/ mission for each of my team really mean?
  • Lead by example when it comes to the ways of working. For example, if you are asking your team to balance their work/life then you need to highlight this too.
  • This is an uncharted territory so the world is your oyster- create your own ways of how you and your team should work. You could ask yourself as a manager what should my team focus on this week and how should we change the way we deliver the tasks?

As for employees:

  • Remind them how important they are to your organisation and try to tailor these messages according to the various parts of your business or departments. This way employees will be able to relate to what you are reminding them of.
  • Make sure your leadership teams lead with care and sincerity 

Following the above steps set up listening sessions where you can gauge the mood, thoughts, and feelings of your employees and based on the outcome you can decide on what channels to use, what messages to cascade and what tone to use when communicating and cementing the new and adjusted culture.

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Gihan Hyde
Gihan Hyde is an award winning corporate communication expert with a deep passion for internal communication. Her roles spanned different organisations including HSBC, Barclays, M&S, and Department for International Trade, and the Riyadh Metro Project.
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