There’s more to life than work. However, if a third of our adult lives are going to be devoted to work, we need to consider this human effort as being meaningful. That means a career outlook as opposed to just seeing it as a job. Research indicates that when employees feel that they belong to a team or company, they not only perform better, but are more engaged and enjoy better wellbeing. Lack of belonging promotes alienation, under performance, and can trigger burnout.
Leaders are paying more attention to managing and maintaining an effective and healthy business culture since the Covid pandemic has forced workplace changes. Although there are some thoughts that normality is starting to return, in many cases, some of the adapting changes made could remain.
What leaders should know
- The formal and informal ways that employees interact is in flux. Culture needs continuous evaluation.
- Culture governs employee satisfaction. It does not exist within the four walls of an office. Work is something we do and not a place we come to.
- Leaders are the role-models and champions of culture. They need to make sure the company has the right structures and experiences to support productive employees.
- Communication is the backbone and should reach employees anywhere, whether they operate remotely or are always on the go.
- Work is not just a vehicle for productivity, but an opportunity to have meaningful connections with others as an enhanced experience of life.
What leaders should do
- Focus on, and communicate through words and deeds, the norms and values of the company. Harness an inclusive culture where people feel valued and respected, and perhaps even recruited for their differences.
- Ensure employees have the right tools to get the job done. This includes hardware, software, and learning aids. Workforce development also enhances the workplace experience, it applies to a fully or partial remote employee base.
- Use communication to boost morale and lift engagement.
- Enable a relevant sense of community while people are distributed during the pandemic. Individuals are probably living with fear, anger, and depression. Communication is vital for sharing the company direction, progress, and how employees very much still matter on the current journey. People, whether at work or in any area of life, gravitate towards simple, clear-cut propositions.
- Collect employee feedback on the experience areas that matter most, such as stress, outlook, and emotional wellbeing.
- Act on any concerns collected and give the correcting new initiatives visibility.
The future of work
Employers will now contemplate how to best “entice” their employees back to work. There may be a switch between outright orders and passive-aggressive hints. A good example is a Goldman Sachs memo, reminding staff that its “culture of collaboration, innovation and apprenticeship thrives when our people come together”. Others, such as Google, are experimenting with physical changes to their offices, which includes outdoor tented workstations and meeting spaces that incorporate screens for hybrid encounters.
You’ve probably heard the term that we should learn from failure. However, it’s a lot harder to learn from success. When achieved, we remain tempted to believe in our smarts and that improvements are always there. That often becomes the best way to do something dumb in the future.
However, as we emerge from the pandemic, there’s a vital need to create a sense of belonging and community within our companies where the fear, anger, and depression are being replaced by choice, flexibility, and inclusiveness.