Culture must remain front and center.

by James Kerr

With Covid-19 continuing to wreak havoc across corporate America today, many major companies are choosing to remain remote for the foreseeable future, If that’s you, don't make the mistake of inadvertently putting company culture on the back burner. It is essential to stay diligent in maintaining and enhancing your culture so that staffers feel connected and remain committed to your mission.

Here is what you can do to put your company’s culture back on the agenda during these most tumultuous times:

1. Craft your “new normal” story

The game has changed. The pandemic has required us all to do things differently. Your business is no different. That said, you need to articulate what your business “is” and how it is to “operate” during these difficult times. Take care to describe how work is done in the new normal. Make the narrative as vivid as possible. Help your people understand their role and where they fit in the greater scheme of things. When that story is ready to be told, tell it. Be sure all personnel understand how you see the way forward as defined in your new normal vision.

On his February 6th earnings call, for example, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey described some of his vision for the social media giant, this way:

"As we look forward, we're reaching a talent pool that expects a lot more remote work…We should be building our company around that.

Clearly, Dorsey is signaling that Twitter’s new normal includes a distributed workforce piping in from all over the planet.

2. Reinforce the new culture on a pillar of resiliency

Your people need to understand that you have their back. Some staffers may be frozen with fear or suffering from the prolonged anxiety. Help them to develop the skills and practices that they need to manage the stress that comes from working remotely. Provide necessary resiliency training and coaching so that they can learn how to overcome the new challenges that the new normal has introduced.

Johnson & Johnson’s resilience program, for example, reported:

“Employees experienced sustained improvements in their vitality, general health, and purpose in life as compared to baseline. Sleep, mood, vigor, physical activity, and blood pressure also were improved (as a result of the program).”

Clearly, programs like Johnson & Johnson’s are needed to fortify an increasingly beleaguered workforce.