Strengthening Corporate Culture During Challenging Times

As the United States enters the ninth month of the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses and their employees have settled into a functional, although sometimes not entirely comfortable, routine for operating within the ongoing safety guidelines dictated by the current situation. But while businesses have adapted and are operating efficiently during this challenging time, what has been the effect on corporate culture?

Research indicates that effective corporate cultures are relevant to the strategic goals of the company, prioritize behaviors that lead to successful outcomes, and instill a sense of trust and value among employees. During the most challenging times, however, effective corporate cultures also require flexibility and adaptability.

Business owners can take the lead in strengthening corporate culture, and 2020 continues to provide ample opportunity to practice building cultural flexibility and adaptability within the organization. Here are some ideas to help build and maintain corporate culture.

Nurture Adaptable People

When hiring new employees, look for candidates who demonstrate flexibility and a willingness to ask questions, share new ideas, motivate their teammates, and roll up their sleeves. These types of individuals tend to identify challenges, collaborate to develop appropriate responses, and motivate others to adapt to new tasks and goals. In addition to the face-to-face interview, there are a variety of online assessment tools that can assist in recognizing these characteristics. Once they are on your team, nurture their growth and promote them accordingly.

Model Company Values

Now more than ever, it is important to identify examples of your company values in action and highlight them when communicating with your staff. Check in with your managers regularly to find out how each location is faring with modified operational guidelines – what is working, what is still a challenge, what needs to be addressed? If your company values community engagement, promote that value by encouraging your staff to brainstorm ideas for local charitable giving, lifting community morale, or addressing a specific need such as donations of nonperishable food items or school supplies.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Communication among staff members was important before the pandemic, and it is even more critical today. Social distancing or working from home should not translate into radio silence. Staff members may not be meeting in person as often as they did at the beginning of the year, but staying in touch is vital to maintaining corporate culture. Email and interactive video meetings are good, but don’t let technology blind you or your managers to the benefits of maintaining a personal connection with your employees. Encourage teams to meet via conference call at least once a week, if not daily. Keep in mind that a daily check-in doesn’t have to entail a long time commitment. A 15-minute call every morning can do wonders for boosting morale while staying on top of operational issues that may arise.

Over the past year, your business has probably changed and adapted in ways that you may never have thought possible back in January. Maintain that momentum by focusing on strengthening and reinforcing your corporate culture, and lead by example when it comes to your company’s values. It’s an investment that will pay off when the next set of challenges comes your way.

Mike Schofield
President and CEO

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