How would Gordon Geko or Jordan Belfort fair in the current 2020 era of corporate culture? Two characters motivated by greed with silver-tongued acronyms who epitomised the company culture of their time, but they would have to drastically transform their approach to be successful in the current corporate environment.
The pandemic has created a seismic mind shift across all organisations globally. Covid-19 has made sure office life as we knew it will never be the same again. Teams interviews, Zoom meetings, and remote working have moved from the virtual to the real world. In years to come, we will reminisce of the good old days when we worked together from the office, but for now, we must accept the new conditions that we face and evolve.
The imposed lockdown forced us to work from kitchen islands, dining tables, and parents’ box room’s just to reach Q3. We showed our resilience in adapting to the new conditions of a world inaccessible without a facemask or QR scanner. By October 2020 our new habits formed as Phillippa Lally’s study (in the European Journal of Social Psychology) asserts.
The pandemic kickstarted the time machine and Doc Brown has accelerated us into the future in a matter of months. We have now bought new monitors that sit on freshly assembled desks in a permanent home office set-up. For many, seeing the kids off to school and being at home when they return is part of the new corporate environment. Asking a family member to leave a room or quieten the noise while they’re on a call is working life as we now know it.
Organisations have begun recuperating losses, slashing costs of prime location offices that once housed their entire flock. The regions of the UK benefit, as recruitment processes are no longer focused on a talent pool living within commutable distance. It is increasingly likely that organisations will move to a working week of two to three days from the office with part of the team, and the remainder of the week working from home.
How does this remote working hybrid environment affect the company culture? Organisational culture is like the motherboard connecting all the components of a company. Composed of the beliefs, goals, attitudes, and behaviours that characterise the organisation. These, power the entire company influencing all its actions and interactions between its management, employees, and clients.
The benefits of a corporate culture embraced by all are well understood. Encompassing diversity, equality and inclusion, it improves brand identity, employee retention and productivity, positively influencing the way people feel about the work they do.
Progressive companies like Netflix, Google, Twitter, Zappos and Shopify have been operating successfully this way for years. Employees buy into shared company values and are given the freedom, and company benefits to match. They become empowered and feel an integral part of the company blueprint. Others must now follow suit.
Engaging remote staff is far deeper than a daily Teams call and a shining company logo beaming from their laptop. An effective office-based team can become quickly disengaged and disenchanted when working in isolation. Loyalty becomes the prime loser and the once happy herd can bolt for greener pastures.
HR Directors and their teams are now at the precipice of this uncharted corporate landscape. They must quickly find their bearings to lead employees through this unfamiliar environment. The key challenge is how to transition organisational culture into the new remote working environment. Time is of the essence to ensure staff re-engage and rediscover their purpose. It is crucial that remote teams feel supported, trusted and understand the vital role they play in achieving company objectives.
An obvious solution is to create a culture with clearly identified values at its core.
First principle thinking adopted by Elon Musk highlights why the most successful organisations set their foundations in carefully selected guiding principles. These values weave a common thread between all employees and embrace the entire business community, shaping their beliefs and affecting every decision they make. Like holding firm on company principles over quick profit-based decisions that can jeopardise reputation.
Now is the time for great leadership to inspire others to learn, do and become more. A clear unambiguous message from the very top that champions values as the road map to achieving the company vision seems a timely solution.
A process where employees should be encouraged to identify their own core values. Values alignment reinforced with values-based performance targets can reignite their purpose. This cultural approach encourages open communication, clear feedback and promotes the use of company values in all decision-making processes. The result is a connected business community with greater passion, purpose and loyalty.
The wolves of Wall Street are following the new scent of success. The greedy Alpha is evolving its leadership style. Connecting with their pack through a culture based on shared values, is the new formula for success.