This past year has been tremendously challenging for all organizations. However, some have responded great and adapted to the new reality, while others are still struggling to find their way. Why is this so? What are the elements in organizational culture that can help a company be prepared for swift environment changes?
It is often said that organizational culture takes a long time to change and, in the past, many employees used to complain about the lack of flexibility seen in their organizations. But suddenly, the COVID-19 pandemic forced all companies to change their style overnight in order to survive. There are a number of things that we can learn looking back at the past year, also keeping in mind that the future will most certainly be full of new challenges: potential new pandemics, the fast development of technology, the fight for equality, and many more are issues that will coexist with us, and we need to be prepared for.
So, let’s take a look at some areas in which companies’ organizational culture has changed, and what are the prospects for the future:
- Flexibility: The quick outbreak of the pandemic forced many organizations to change their culture almost overnight. What was there in their structure that allowed them to do it successfully? It is important to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of such changes and think of ways in which those elements can prevail over time.
- Teamwork: a strong and productive relationship with the other members of the team could be the make-it-or-break-it element for many employees. A good team that can work together efficiently, is also a great source of emotional support during hard times. A company that encourages strong teamwork will definitely see benefits in the short and the long term.
- Productivity: Many people are realizing that they can work faster and better now than before. But, will these changes live over time? Or will people just get used to it and “go back to normal”? This may be a great opportunity to track down what employees need in order to be more productive (even if that is more free time) and try to keep it going.
- Caring: Feeling that the company “cared” about them was something that most employees were happy about. The little details, the perks, the flexibility to let them adapt to a new way of working in a completely different world were greatly welcomed by the staff. It is, however, necessary to think about how this can remain true as the world scenarios continue to change.
Some situations are out of our control. But, after we have overcome adversity, there are only two possible paths: learning from that difficult experience, or quickly forgetting everything and trying to recover “the good old days”. As organizations, if we want to succeed in the post-COVID-19 world, we have to be ready to profit from all we have learned and find ways to sustain the positive changes in our culture over time.