The rapidly evolving nature of COVID-19 has changed the way we are doing business for the foreseeable future. Entire workforces have been moved to remote locations, meetings are being conducted virtually and leaders are having to manage teams in a completely different way. These changes may be ongoing even after the risk of the virus has passed.
As well as challenges, the pandemic has presented leaders with the opportunity to re-define the old ways of working and look at new ways to improve the employee experience and workplace culture. The latest OC Tanner Global Culture report has highlighted the organisational culture trends to look out for in 2021 and identifies ways to keep employees connected in a remote work set-up.
The key trends include:
- Technology infrastructure is falling behind. The perceived fear of using advanced technology prevents organisations from using technology to improve their employee experience and better connect their people, and often organisations don’t successfully integrate it into the employee experience, risking harm to their culture.
- Stale recognition programs weaken positive impact. Recognition programs have become commonplace, but most have not evolved beyond their original implementation, becoming a transactional experience that does not focus on the individual.
- Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) disparities continue to damage the employee experience. Too often, ineffective D&I programs focus on legal compliance and risk mitigation, rather than actively understanding and promoting the rich diversity of employees.
- Generation Z experiences setbacks. Prior to COVID-19, Generation Z was poised to inherit a promising work landscape with a strong economy and record low unemployment. Now, instead of looking ahead to unlimited opportunities, Gen Z is staring into an uncertain future.
- Leadership development still grooms gatekeepers. Too many organisations continue to perpetuate traditional leadership development programs that select only a few “high-potentials” candidates for training and advancement. Consequently, leaders still learn how to gatekeep, rather than mentor and advocate.
The report referenced the term synthesis, which was used in the context of having an unexpected opportunity during times of crisis. By definition, synthesis is ‘the combining of often diverse concepts into a coherent whole’. It was highlighted that times of crisis either tear people apart or bring them together. The five trends listed above can either be seen as a limitation or an opportunity. Addressing them as an opportunity will ensure a stronger culture that enables organisations to succeed during uncertain times, as well as overcome the challenges of the next decade.
Organisations would be prudent to see the opportunity in these trends, and start implementation now.
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