There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic is changing the way companies operate on a fundamental level. During this time, your company’s culture will be exposed – both the good and bad parts.
In the coming years, future employees might decide whether they want to be part of your company based on how you treat current employees during this time. After this crisis passes, and you’re trying to recruit top talent, how will you answer when they ask how you handled the 2020 pandemic?
Company culture and positive employee experience have always been an important part of business operations. However, I would argue that now they are even more important than before.
And, while it may feel like culture should be the last thing on our minds when we’re just trying to keep our business afloat — and keep up with regulations and economic conditions that change daily, evidence shows that having a strong company culture that’s adaptable and supports employees can actually be a huge factor in maintaining business continuity and stability.
Here are 4 reasons why positive employee experience is important for your company culture, and can actually help you come out stronger once the current crisis passes:
Fear and anxiety are common reactions to the global pandemic. Employees are feeling the stress from their personal lives as schools are canceled, and cities and states issue quarantine orders, and from their professional lives as they fear for their job and navigate new remote work environments.
Organizations that can be empathetic, compassionate, and accommodating during these times will likely see that their employees are maintaining, or even increasing, their levels of productivity.
Evidence shows that positive work culture boosts employee engagement, which leads to 40% less absenteeism and up to a 20% increase in productivity.
According to a study done by Glassdoor, companies with a positive work culture outperformed significantly compared to companies where employee experience and satisfaction was low. Employers who are able to adapt to this unprecedented event, and support their employees along the way, will keep the company functioning more optimally in a time of such anxiety.
Now more than ever, managers will be putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to either reinforcing or abandoning their company values. How many companies have “integrity” or “teamwork” as part of their values? Many of the most recognizable names have full sentence statements about how they care for their team members’ wellbeing as part of their core value statements.
During this time of crisis, it will become clear which companies stick to their values and maintain their culture, and which ones do not.
Sticking to your core values in leadership decisions will maintain a culture of trust for employees, building mutual loyalty and a sense of accountability. Protecting your human resources is an investment in the future health of your business, and is important for long-term crisis planning. McKinsey’s COVID-19: Implications for business report highlights that “companies have an imperative to act immediately to protect their employees.”
Statistics about negative effects from bad customer experiences are common, but new research is finding that the extent of an employees’ bad company experience can be more impactful. During a time when emotions are running strong, negative messages are likely to become even more magnified as employees give customers a behind the scenes view.
Stories are already emerging about how big brands are treating their employees (both positive and negative) as team members publically release internal memos spelling out policies and procedures during this time, and customers are taking note. Customers care about how companies treat their employees, so how they manage this crisis now will determine their fate later. As Harvard Business Review puts it – talent management practices shape a company’s reputation and performance.
There is no shortage right now of tips for moving workforces remote, communicating policies and procedures, and providing support for employees during this time (watch our own webinar about it here). I encourage you to use resources and show your employees their experience matters to you.
At GoCo, we documented the steps we’ve taken to keep our employees happy, healthy, safe, and productive by creating an emergency remote work policy. The policy was created with our company’s core values in mind and with the goal of preserving and improving company culture. By putting our employee’s wellbeing at the core of decision making during this time, we’ve been able to maintain business continuity and productivity amidst the chaos and uncertainty.