The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of the workplace, including company culture, defined as the “personality” and unique approach to work of an organization. From a new focus on employee recognition to a greater reliance on technology, these are some of the most relevant trends in company culture to watch in 2021.
A New Focus on Recognition
Reports from employee recognition platforms indicate that workers feel that their efforts during the pandemic are not being sufficiently recognized. The levels of stress that employees are facing is unprecedented and can have a negative impact on engagement, retention, and performance.
Next year will see companies adopt a more structured approach to employee recognition. Some actions you can take right now to improve employee recognition in your company include:
- Greater attention to employee concerns.
- Remote one-on-one meetings.
- Giving sincere praise.
- Symbolic prizes (such as gift cards or buying them lunch).
- Recognition on company-wide channels.
Greater Reliance on Technology
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how technology can help companies become more resilient, competitive, and adaptable.
According to management consulting firm McKinsey, the pandemic has accelerated the creation of “digitally enhanced offerings” by seven years, if one compares it to the rate at which companies were adopting these technologies pre-pandemic. The experience accrued during the last several months may fuel technological changes such as:
- More remote work
- Adoption of digital platforms
- Emphasis on digital processes
- Digital retail
- Increased spending on data security
- Building redundancies into supply chains
More Deliberate Culture-Building
The culture of a company is the glue that holds it together even during difficult times.
Far from being a buzzword, the culture of your company is an asset that must be protected and built actively. Companies have learned this lesson in 2020 and will apply it extensively next year.
The benefits may not be immediately obvious, but they will become apparent when it matters. For example, a study published in the MIT Sloan Management Review showed that employees of Fortune 500 companies gave the culture of their respective organizations the highest marks in five years during the months of April through August 2020, precisely when the effects of the pandemic were harsher.
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