By Barb Ward

“My father taught me that you can read a hundred books on wisdom and write a hundred books on wisdom, but unless you apply what you learned then it’s only words on a page. Life is not lived with intentions, but action.”                                                                                    ~Shannon Alder

 

Since the Covid pandemic hit in March of 2020, organizations have had to shift their cultures at warp speed to keep up with the changing workforce landscape. People were laid off or furloughed, companies had to close entirely, schools shut down, and people were ordered to stay at home, while front-line workers had to endure regardless of the risks to themselves and their families day in and day out.

Having never experienced a crisis of this magnitude, organizations and their workforces were shaken to their core. Now, as we move forward, vaccines are distributed, and daily life attempts to move into a more regular pattern, many organizations are struggling to refine or redefine their cultures. 

For some, the ability to move to a remote workforce model has been a good fit and they have plans to continue utilizing virtual office options. Others have missed the collaboration and creativity of in-person office environments and want to transition back to the office as soon as possible. 

Regardless of how you decide to transition your business operations, you now have an opportunity to inspire your employees and move your company forward for success.

Three elements to focus on to refine or redefine your future: 

Re-establish trust. Transparency and communication are paramount in rebuilding trust among your workforce as the aftereffects of prolonged job security concerns have converted previously strong cultures into a delicate tapestry of uncertainty. 

Increase engagement. Whether in person, or through virtual methods, when you pay close attention to how you treat your employees, you create an environment that offers connection, collaboration, and support even in the face of adversity. This reinforces and re-establishes your employees’ commitment to you, your leaders and your organization.

Embrace uncomfortable. The Covid pandemic has caused us all to give up so much and the future remains uncertain. While we try to move on with resilience and positivity, somewhere in our minds, we may still long to return to pre-covid life. You can help staff grieve the loss of pre-Covid life, and then help them look forward to what the future holds. Ask yourself and your staff to reflect on what things have emerged as most important and what advancements have been made during this time that they want to keep. This can help you and your staff re-focus on what is and what can be.

Reflect:

As the pandemic hit, organizations scrambled to keep pace. High-tech companies created newer and better technologies to enable businesses to work virtually, healthcare organizations acquired or utilized the technology to provide telemedicine care for patients, and a vaccine was developed in record time. These are all advancements that would usually have taken much longer if not given a critical impetus to move the process along.

In our personal lives, we were forced to slow down, stay home, spend time with our families, and learn how to manage our personal lives, professional lives, and schoolwork for our children all from home.

Given all these rapid changes:

What things did you identify as good outcomes from this pandemic? Personally? Professionally?

What things do you want to keep? 

What could you do to help your organization’s culture heal and emerge stronger from this point forward?