The processes, policies and procedures that organizations follow are designed to create a workplace that functions in a safe, secure, productive and profitable manner during typical operating conditions. But, the urgency and impact of the COVID-19 measures that have been put in place, has created a situation that is far from normal and well beyond the scope of what most organizations could have reasonably prepared for.
Businesses, small and large, and in every sector have had to rely on the fabric of their work culture to forge a pathway forward. Work culture, which is part strategy, part process, part friendship, part guts, part technology is an abstract concept that has never been easy to measure. In good times it lurks below the surface interacting with rules of operation. But in challenging times like these, when the rules do not necessarily apply, it is the organization’s work culture that comes to the forefront.
Currently, most businesses are reeling under the abrupt changes and uncertainties that have been foisted upon them. And as such, there is a tendency to focus entirely upon managing these operational changes. However, it is also helpful to reflect upon what aspects of the organization are adapting seamlessly and which are not. In other words, during these turbulent times and beyond, there is also value in observing the strengths and weaknesses of the fabric that comprise organizational work culture.
Insights into an organization’s work culture begins by understanding workers’ experiences and perceptions. During these extraordinary times, how is work getting done? To what extent are people pulling together, sharing best practices and learning from each other. How much emphasis is being placed on safety, security, mitigation of errors and accountability? Is leadership perceived as providing a balanced amount of guidance and support? And is the right level of importance being placed on staff’s mental and physical well-being?
These types of insights are helpful to understand during typical operating conditions, but they take on even more importance during unchartered times. Not only does it provide management with an indication of issues that need to be immediately addressed, it provides an organization with a truly organic baseline measure. Seeking this input from employees reinforces that the organization places a high priority on an inclusive team approach. It sends a strong message to stakeholders that the company is proactive, seeking empirical evidence to ensure that the quality of product and service are being maintained. And as a truly resilient company, steps are already being taken to move ahead in a proactive manner.