Five tips for transforming company cultures after lockdown

16 September 2020 3 min. read

For organisations to remain competitive in the post-Covid-19 era, adopting a longer-term approach to cultural transformation is essential, according to Matthew Garrett and Eman Al-Hillawi from Entec Si. They share five tips for how companies can align their company cultures with the demands of the new normal.

Never stop improving

Rather than reverting to how they operated before the Covid-19 outbreak, business leaders should aim to build on existing changes. By putting the lessons learned during the pandemic to good use, improvements can be made and company cultures can be rebuilt stronger than ever before. 

Ensure employees are on board

The rise of remote working during the pandemic has had a positive impact on many employees, leading to improved flexibility and a better work-life balance. However, it is important to remember that many workers have also been faced with new challenges, such as the need to juggle childcare commitments with worries about being furloughed. 

Seeking feedback from employees at various stages of transformation projects will ensure that they are on board with potential changes, in turn increasing the likelihood of a successful project. 

Matthew Garrett and Eman Al-HillawI, Entec Si

Keep communication open

The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the benefits of a more flexible and empathetic management style. However, this approach may require business leaders to rethink their existing management approaches, for example, focusing on employee outputs rather than requiring staff visibility in a physical office environment.

It’s also essential to keep communication with employees open, making use of a range of methods and platforms. For example, some people may prefer face-to-face interaction via video calls, as opposed to traditional audio calls. Regardless of the method used, business leaders should ensure that they check in with employees regularly, without bombarding them with constant messages over several platforms.

Keep individual employee needs in mind

In order for cultural change to be a success, it is important to remember that people respond to change in very different ways. Business leaders should keep this in mind throughout the change process and ensure that employees know who to talk to, should they have any queries or concerns. Managing expectations is also key; if unrealistic benefits are promised, this may have a negative impact on company culture in the long run.

A top priority when planning messaging around changes in working practices should be to keep communication honest, respectful and consistent. Employees should all have a sound knowledge of why changes are happening and exactly what the benefits are for them, if they are going to trust in the process. 

Maintain the team dynamic

Remote working is likely to form an important part of many businesses’ strategies moving forward. As such, it is vital that organisations give thought to how to keep teams connected, even if they are far apart. For example, one solution could be to replace some face-to-face social events with virtual catch-ups. Managers should also check in with their teams regularly to ensure they are always aware of any company updates. 

The “new normal” in working practices has brought many benefits for the UK workforce, so it is important that businesses do not simply revert to past ways of working. By keeping people in mind at every stage of the change journey and finding new ways to keep the workforce connected, companies can create cultural changes that support wellbeing and commercial performance long into the future. 

Matthew Garrett is a programme manager and Eman Al-Hillawi is a principal consultant and co-founder at Entec Si, a Birmingham-based business change consultancy.