Businesses, colleagues and customers have all had to adapt, change and find new ways to get things done since the start of the pandemic. Many have had to adjust services or products and develop new ways of working. The health and wellbeing of colleagues has come into focus, as has connecting teams where people’s homes have become places of work.
It’s now time for leaders to think about what culture is right for their business as they move out of lockdown and firm up views on the business strategy.
Here’s a checklist of things to consider:
1) Business direction – Have the ambitions of the business changed? If so, redefine them. Is it about growth? Diversification? Modernisation and automation? Make this clear for your people; they need to know what they are coming to work to do. They need shared goals and to understand how they contribute to this new direction. If the direction hasn’t changed, restate the aims clearly, with no room for ambiguity.
2) Vision and values – What services do your colleagues provide to your customers, both now and in the future? Confirm/document what the customer journey is and the part each colleague plays in it. If your current vision and values still hold true, reiterate how they do. If they don’t, change them to reflect what is now, but do it collaboratively. In both cases, share with all colleagues, embed them and give recognition to colleagues who bring these values to life.
3) Employee proposition – What is it like to work for your business? As the balance of work and home life changes, are you offering new ways of working? What do your people want from work now? What do other businesses do that might attract them? It’s time to define your proposition. Do it by talking to your people, benchmark against other organisations and be clear about the culture you want to create.
Consider what you offer in terms of personal/career development, corporate social responsibility (CSR) opportunities, rewards, encouraging ideas and innovation, greater autonomy/decision making or supporting health and wellbeing. All of these are possible but you cannot be all things to all people – choose what’s right for your business culture, focus and be great at them.
4) Leadership – It is important that the leaders in your business understand the influence their behaviour has on the culture and the part they play in bringing it to life. Make sure they have guidance to lead in a way that is in tune with your culture. If new ways of working are part of your culture, make sure your leaders are equipped to support, communicate and motivate.
5) Collaboration, work tools and technology – Does your work environment and technology facilitate successful collaboration between colleagues, both when they are working from home and in the office? Do your communication channels successfully deliver your messages? This is vital to ongoing commitment and engagement in your company culture.
‘Clarity’ and ‘definition’ are the important words here. Whether your culture has evolved or not, make sure colleagues know what it is and why. Be clear about what the deal is, what they can expect and what they need to give.
Lastly, be authentic. Do not define your culture and then behave differently. Your company culture is embedded in the way your people interact with customers and colleagues. Be clear, live it in your actions, conversations and decisions and your people will do that, too.
If you’d like to chat with a People Puzzles HR Director about building your business a culture that is strong, inclusive and engaging, call us on 0203 6336 830 to find out more.