This is a time when a company’s core values are more important than ever before. During these times of hardship and uncertainty, there is a reference point for the company’s employees, strengthening teamwork and cooperation, as well as consolidating and uniting them. It is specifically the core values of a company that determine the development of business, as focusing on the company’s goals and values helps to make the right decisions during a crisis.
In today’s work environment, company culture affects all aspects of business. Companies with a strong cultural identity have greater employee involvement, higher productivity and higher profits. On the other hand, companies without a strong culture face lower productivity and slower growth. A company’s culture and core values are an internal compass that informs about actions to be taken during a crisis.
Do not underestimate the significance of company culture
It is important not to underestimate the significance of company culture in such an unstable time as this, when competitive advantages must be exploited as much as possible – and company culture plays a key role. As companies recover from the economic impact of Covid-19 in the long run, this will become even more important. Those companies that want to be winners and succeed after the Covid era, must now take care of employee well-being and productivity, which are ensured and promoted by the company’s culture and values. For example, the transition to working remotely reduces face-to-face interaction between employees, which strengthens the organisation’s culture accordingly. The employee search resource Glassdoor * conducted a study in the United States, surveying 1.4 million employees to determine how the pandemic affected employees’ perceptions of company culture. The study showed that, compared to the previous five years, the highest rating of a company’s culture and values is during the pandemic. In contrast, a Gallup ** survey in the United States showed that only 41% of employees completely agree that they know what their company represents, and only 27% fully agree that they believe in the values of their organization.
Changing the understanding of company culture
The pandemic has created a new understanding of company culture, which can make employees reevaluate whether they want to stay with their company in the long run. Today, the rules of the game between the employer and the employee have changed, namely, the employee has now gained an opportunity to confirm whether the values identified by the company are as real and true, as they are reflected in its work. It is well known that a company’s manager plays an important role as a leader in maintaining the company’s culture. Perhaps this is a time when the manager of a company has become even more important for their company and employees than before. In a pandemic, it is specifically the leader who is the “single source of truth” for a company’s employees who are looking for a leader to help them understand what is happening in the world in the context of their company.
Recommendations for effective management of company culture during a pandemic:
- Formulate, validate and strengthen your culture, talk about your company’s culture and its core values;
- Stay true to your company’s culture and don’t let the pandemic destroy your values, that is, if your company’s values are participation and involvement, make sure that these core values work, even now;
- Evaluate those employees who act in accordance with the core values of your company;
- Listen to your employees and adapt to their actions, focus on their needs and proactively address their concerns by maintaining constant feedback.
- Build and develop leaders by providing education and opportunities to acquire self-development skills; as well as make sure that the newly created leaders are empathetic and act in accordance with the company’s core values;
- Promote close cooperation between employees by involving and motivating teamwork;
- Be open to communication and regularly contact employees about management decisions and actions;
- Share your company culture both inside and outside the company; the way you treat and interact with your employees is a strong symbol that characterizes your company.
This time provides a unique opportunity to build, strengthen and use your company’s culture, taking advantage of the conditions provided by the pandemic for the benefit of your company. Pandemic times require conscious management of the company’s culture – if the company’s core values and culture are already established, they must be strengthened and kept “alive” on the daily, and if the company does not have its own culture or values, this is the right time to review and create them.