To say that the last year and a half has been difficult would be an understatement. The coronavirus pandemic turned the world on its head and forced everyone to make huge adjustments to their personal and professional lives. But now that we have vaccines and a better understanding of how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the business world is finally starting a return to normalcy. And unlike spring 2020, when a rapidly emerging crisis forced businesses to pivot suddenly -- and in many cases inexpertly -- today companies have time to make their changes more deliberately and thoughtfully.
Whatever get-back-to-"normal" strategies organizations choose to implement, though, they must all be designed to support the same goal: creating a company culture that can help the organization succeed in a postpandemic future. Now, more than ever, it's critical that companies foster a culture that supports these four key elements of organizational health.
- Engagement. With their lives and work incredibly disrupted over the past year, many employees may struggle to return to their prepandemic levels of productivity and creativity. Explore new strategies for increasing engagement by asking employees what they want and need to connect better with their work.
- Teams. Video conferencing helped everyone keep in touch over the past year or so while offices were empty, but many people still felt isolated nonetheless. Whether or not their employees are back together in shared offices, companies need to spend time on team building to restore -- and strengthen -- collaboration and camaraderie among team members.
- Flexibility. As we've learned all too well during the pandemic, everything can change in an instant. The organizations and individuals who were able to adapt quickly and most easily to such changes were often the ones who weathered the pandemic best. Just because some people are heading back to the office doesn't mean the pandemic has stopped affecting the world. Companies should be prepared to adapt to a constantly changing (and somewhat unpredictable) situation.
- Empathy. Everyone has endured a year of heightened stress, anxiety, and fear. Even though a company may be moving closer to "normal" each day, those feelings are likely to linger for a long time (perhaps even indefinitely). So let's remember to be kind to each other. We are all in this together.
In the postpandemic world companies have an opportunity to rebuild, restructure, and even reimagine themselves. Considering how tough it is to find and retain top talent in today's hypercompetitive hiring market, organizations should prioritize building a solid company culture that appeals to prospective employees and helps engage and retain current workers.