Back in early March during the Before The Pandemic Era or BPE, we wrote a blog called Core Values Shape Your Organization. We highlighted the three stages: defining, developing, and refining. Looking back, one paragraph in particular grabs our attention:
“Businesses grow because they evolve. Adapting to changes in the marketplace, economy, and buyer-behavior is critical and can’t happen unless you refine your core values…While your original core values aren’t etched in stone, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel either. Refining isn’t necessarily restarting; rather it can be improving upon those that are already in place.”
I’d say quite a change has occurred since then, and you’d be hard pressed to find a business that hasn’t had to adapt. In the pursuit to pivot and keep up with all of this change, it’s more important than ever to reevaluate your culture and values.
Are You Putting Your Employees First?
There’s no pandemic playbook (though I’m sure many are now in development), but business owners don’t need one to recognize that employees are a company’s most important assets. To use the term loosely, they are “essential”, and they should feel valued. You’ve most likely transitioned your staff to remote work to accommodate those with families, those sheltering-in-place alone, and those with other needs. If this is working, by all means, don’t change a thing, even when the COVID curve flattens. If you’re struggling because operations feel too decentralized, seek feedback from your employees to improve the situation. Some companies that have the budget are going the extra mile by providing employees with extra financial support to address unexpected costs.
As Fast Company writes, “Treating employees well is its own reward, but the employee experience also impacts your company’s broader ecosystem: it influences how your employees treat your customers, how they’ll represent your brand externally, and if they’ve left your organization, their willingness to one day return.”
Are You Being Transparent?
If kids can sense when their parents are acting weird, you better believe employees know something’s up when they stop hearing from you or are receiving ambiguous messaging. We’re reminded everyday that these are uncertain and unprecedented times, and you can provide more clarity with weekly updates on the state of the business. Of course this is easier said than done, especially if tough decisions need to be made like planned reduction in force. Read our recent blog post, 5 Ways to Communicate With Your Employees for more guidance.
Do You Add Levity to the Situation?
If ever there were a time for fun and games, it’s now, and you can make it completely appropriate for your organization. I’ve heard of companies holding Zoom happy hours, scavenger hunts, and even dance parties. With kids stuck at home, it’s inevitable that they come into view during virtual meetings to ask their parents questions that young kids ask. A moment like that adds levity and serves as a reminder that we’re all human and in this together.
Any business decision comes with implications, and today they are more pronounced. I’ll leave you with another excerpt from the same Fast Company article: “What we do know is that the actions companies take today—and how businesses react to making tough decisions—will shape their corporate cultures and brand reputations, long after we emerge from this crisis.”