Organizational Culture Matters
Why companies come together or come apart during a crisis
In good times, some might think the importance of organizational culture is overstated. But during a crisis like COVID-19, the strength of an organization’s culture can determine its very survival.
Organizational culture may seem invisible during prosperous times, but in moments of crisis, its presence can be seen clearly in the collective behaviors that either help a company pull together and get things done or lead to inertia, confusion and even mistrust.
Prior to COVID-19, about 30% of the workforce was working remotely, at least on occasion. After the pandemic hit, that number doubled overnight, as enterprise organizations around the world allowed their employees to work from home. “This unintended experiment in mass-scale remote work shattered one of the most durable myths about the workforce: You can’t trust employees to do their jobs if you can’t see them.”
As many organizations evaluate how to apply this deeper understanding of remote work, some executives worry that maintaining a remote or hybrid work structure will dilute their organization’s culture in a post-pandemic world.
Yet, recent data indicates that remote work, itself, is not a culture deterrent. According to a recent Gartner survey of 5,000 employees, “about one-third of newly remote or hybrid employees report their organization’s culture has changed since starting to work remotely — and most of them say it’s a change for the better.” Satisfaction with culture is critical to key talent outcomes, as these same employees are:
• 2.4 times more likely to report high employee engagement
• 2.7 times more likely to report high discretionary effort and intent to stay
• 3.5 times more likely to report high inclusion than employees who report their organization’s culture has deteriorated.
These trends include management as well. In the same study, senior leaders are almost two times more likely than individual contributors to report that their organization’s culture has improved since starting to work remotely.
While there are universal best practices for team effectiveness, there is not a one-size-fits-all culture that will enable remote or hybrid model success. Rather, the key to ensuring that culture thrives in any model is intentionally designing, implementing and continuously improving a culture that supports the organizational strategy and is modeled and reinforced by the leadership across the organization.Return to all posts