COVID’s Impact to Organizational Culture
COVID-19 has forced companies to change and adapt in unexpected ways. Communication has become more important and more difficult, technology has taken on unexpected roles, and remote work has become the norm. Our work-lives have changed, and with that our organizational cultures have shifted. While it can be intimidating to imagine a post-COVID workplace, we remain optimistic about the impacts it will have on organizational cultures across the nation.
HR professionals and leaders should view the challenges they have faced as an opportunity to adapt and grow. While changes were perhaps not anticipated, COVID-19 has offered an opportunity for organizations to assess their company culture and adapt it to fit a modern world. Without a doubt, COVID-19 has and will continue to, change organizational culture. but with the right approach you may just come out on top. Here are some anticipated changes that we believe could be here to stay: stronger community, strengthened employee assistance programs (EAPs), improved communication, and use of remote work to inspire creativity and innovation.
Remote workforces have forced organizations to use new means of communication and to assess their current methods. It’s no longer possible to pop in on a colleague down the hall or to vent to a coworker at lunch. Today’s communication has become more intentional, and with this, many organizations are taking into account their culture and what they want it to be. This can mean providing additional check-ins, allowing more freedom and flexibility in communication, or providing a more formal place for employees to vent and virtually come together. These seemingly small changes have created a shift, allowing organizations to maintain and encourage positive morale and company culture while being more meaningful in their communication.
With the shifts in communication, organizations are seeing what it means to have a remote workforce – and many like it. Remote work may be here to stay. This new normal allows flexibility for employees and inspires creativity and innovation. As organizations become more comfortable with the idea of remote work, they also will begin to implement new technologies to support that. In the long run, this can mean increased employee satisfaction, decreased costs, and if done well, building a culture of trust among your team.
Work-life balance has shifted in the face of COVID-19; employees working from home are now balancing their lives in new ways. With that can come stress and frustration. Many employees report feeling a disconnect from their organization. EAPs are important to help ensure the mental health of your employees, and COVID-19 has highlighted that need. As the need for EAPs makes itself increasingly clear, it’s likely that more companies will implement them, bringing employees additional resources to handle trauma and stress.
Lastly, HR professionals and leaders should see this time not only as an opportunity to strengthen culture, but also to strengthen your organization’s reputation. For a small business, reputation means everything; while the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 may be anything but positive, this opportunity could allow your organization to show how much you care. Through implementing new aspects of EAPs or working with employees that are working from home, your organization can show you’re there for your employees and the community. And, you should anticipate questions about how you’ve supported your employees from job candidates and the community. Having a truthful and positive response may make all the difference in creating a positive outcome from this experience.