It is no secret that COVID-19 has brought significant challenges and changes to the economy. An article published by Tempo.co reports a prediction about how the pandemic will bring Indonesia negative economic growth, with a range between -1.1 and 2.0 percent, while unemployment is expected to reach 9.2 percent. This condition will undeniably affect companies and their culture, from recruitment to decision making.
From a more optimistic point of view, it is true that the pandemic also has many silver linings for company culture. Meetings, for instance, are now much shorter and more effective compared to pre-pandemic, conventional, face-to-face meeting. Remote working is also interestingly reported to have caused better communication between staff members. It has even created opportunities for minority and under-represented groups to make contributions.
However, it is more obvious to see that the pandemic has brought considerable threats. As an “environmental jolt”, COVID-19 makes it difficult for companies to predict and foresee outcome. André Spicer, an organizational behavior expert from the University of London, also finds that the pandemic can make employees feel unsettled and organizations overreact. In such troublesome time, business leaders can wisely help companies stay afloat by transforming company cultures to meet necessary qualities.
A Culture of Assurance
During uncertain situations such as the pandemic, leaders must create a culture where staff members can feel assured and safe. While critical and unpredictable situations make companies more prone to recklessness, it is important that employees stay calm and poised. When leaders give reassurance decisions, even to the most particular actions, can be taken more reasonably. In other words, a culture of assurance can help companies avoid unnecessary risks.
A Culture of Resilience
Spicer’s analysis reveals that company culture during the pandemic generally shifts “from exploration and creativity to safety and resilience”. It is true that companies need to be creative, especially in these moments. However, it is equally true that companies have to stay strong to survive. Therefore, business leaders can recruit potential employees with resilient qualities while appreciating existing ones. After all, a company is just as resilient as its members.
A Culture of Reflexivity
The pandemic is a good time for companies to reflect on their pre-existing culture and business conducts. At this moment, leaders can reinforce a culture of reflexivity to examine the company’s relations with customers. In other words, reflexive culture can trigger identifications of problems related to the way companies present themselves in front of customers. By staying reflexively self-conscious, a company can build a better reputation and a more trustworthy image.
A Culture of Empathy
Last but not least, companies need a culture of empathy now more than ever as workers are facing difficult moments as much as companies do. NVIDIA has given a great example by holding webinars about mental health management for its employees, as the pandemic affects workers’ mental state. By prioritizing their workers’ well-being, NVIDIA leaders have set an example of how creating a culture of empathy allows both companies and employees to survive.
To sum up, company culture needs to be adjusted to specific characteristics that allow the company to deal with the ongoing pandemic situation. Some of these qualities are assurance, resilience, reflexivity, and empathy. By inserting these qualities into a company’s culture, leaders like you can save a company during these critical moments while making improvements at the same time. The question is, are you willing to?
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