Scott is the co-founder of Fuse box, a utility management technology solutions company.
Cultural strength within an organization plays an important role in the success of the organization, especially in times of chaos.
Organizational structure refers to the values and beliefs shared by leaders and employees and woven into the framework of a company. As co-founder of a software company specializing in energy planning, I have found that having and maintaining a strong and unified culture will bring an increase in productivity and inspire employees to do their job – and do it well.
Many companies have business continuity plans ready to go, but not all do. Now, perhaps more than ever with the coronavirus, organizations need ways to improve and maintain their cultures that enable unity, respect and transparency.
In times of chaos, it is easy for infrastructure to collapse. When an organization’s culture declines, employee satisfaction drops dramatically. Studies have shown that approximately 71% of global employees would seek other employment opportunities if their current work culture were to decline. Employees lose their comfort and the feeling of being aligned with the company through common values. The current keystones of your company culture could become lifelines for employees in times of difficulty. Turnover rates and costs for new hires could increase, which would mean that production and collaboration would see a sharp drop. Fortunately, all of this is preventable, regardless of your business size and budget.
Leaders must model the culture of the organization daily in times of uncertainty. Keeping a positive attitude and open communication is the first step. Make sure employees are kept up to date with all information, including available resources inside or outside the company, so they can feel safe.
Also, understand how difficult this transition is for many of your employees and that they too have lives on the outside. Be lenient with their workload and deadlines and, where possible, continue to support your hourly workers, as they will most likely experience a drop in income. The psychological safety of your employees will make all the difference in their well-being and productivity.
By making employee well-being an essential part of your company culture, you will create an environment of trust. This is largely done through open communication at all levels of the organization. Sixty-one percent of people say that trust between themselves and senior management is essential to their job satisfaction.
To foster these relationships, you need to talk and listen carefully to your employees. Make them feel valued. What they feel and any obstacles they face are valid and need to be heard and addressed, especially during times of uncertainty and emotion.
Try to hold regular group wellness meetings through video calls and ask employees about their health, family and stressors. A Wellness Buddy system made up of small groups keeps everyone connected on a more personal level. Unity and support will be extremely important in getting your organization through chaotic times.
Maintain any sense of normalcy in the workplace, even if the physical location has changed, to help reduce feelings of overwhelm during this transition. Instead, weekly and monthly meetings can be held via videoconference. Use humor, success stories, parenting/career stories, and consistent updates to keep everyone in good spirits and unified.
Show employees gratitude and congratulations even more than you did before, and make sure they know how crucial they are to your organization. The more your employees feel valued and secure in the company, the more drive and motivation they will have to help your business succeed.
The current times are certainly unprecedented, but this need not be the end of the road. With continued teamwork, friendliness, and communication in your organizational culture, there is a great possibility of coming out the other side stronger than before. Appreciate the people who have helped you get this far and continue to foster a work environment that people enjoy being a part of. The benefits will provide you with a solid organizational foundation and culture that will pave the way for a successful future.