In times of change and uncertainty, the ability to quickly align, execute, and renew can be the difference between struggling and thriving, say experts from Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).

Organisation culture plays a critical role in times of change and uncertainty, when the ability to quickly align, execute, and renew can be the difference between the organisation struggling and thriving.

Here are three areas to cultivate when shaping your organisational culture to enable your organisation to thrive beyond COVID-19.

Agility and adaptability

Rapid changes in competition, demand, consumer and employee expectations, and technology make it imperative for organisations to adapt to changing environments and conditions quickly. In volatile situations such as today's reality, having an agile and adaptable workplace culture gives organisations a competitive edge in managing current uncertainties and future challenges. To encourage such a culture, you should:

  • Actively cultivate a learning environment by recognising employees who have a passion to grow with your company, e.g. linking performance rewards with training and development goals.
  • Emphasise development within your team, e.g. through traineeships, workshops, coaching and stretch assignments. As a leader, seek opportunities to delegate tasks that empower your team to learn and develop their leadership skills.
  • Encourage diversity of thought, as during times of uncertainty and constant change, varied and diverse opinions are key to staying adaptable. For example, managers should foster an environment that promotes and encourages open discussions where employees feel comfortable sharing or voicing opinions different from those of management.

Trust

A culture of trust is foundational, regardless of whether your employees are working face-to-face or remotely. To embed a culture of trust, you should:

  • Care for your employees. This can be done in a variety of ways, from having meaningful one-on-one conversations with staff to understand how they are doing, to ensuring that all programmes and policies are developed with employees’ wellbeing in mind.
  • Communicate clearly and consistently so that employees understand what is happening in their company and how any changes will impact them.
  • Empower your employees, especially if they are working remotely by emphasising efficient communication, setting clear goals and expectations, and providing them the flexibility to achieve these goals.

Collaboration

Having a culture of collaboration helps organisations maximise employee knowledge and capabilities. Ideas and information spread more easily in a safe and inclusive work environment when employees communicate and collaborate across functional and departmental lines. This can help the business withstand the impact of COVID-19. To create a culture that thrives on collaboration, you should:

  • Focus the team’s effort on a common goal. Diverse perspectives are crucial to coming up with creative solutions and silos form when individuals do not see the value of involving others in their work.
  • Create opportunities for cross-functional collaboration. Assemble teams that bring employees from across the organisation together to brainstorm on issues that leverage their diverse perspectives to come up with new ideas that will benefit the business during this period.
  • Invest in the right remote tools and platforms that suit your culture and needs to encourage effective communication and collaborative learning, especially if majority of your employees are working remotely.

Is there a disconnect between what you are saying and your actions?

Nothing speaks more loudly about the culture of an organisation than the employer’s behaviours, which influence employees’ actions. Through role modelling, leaders and managers shape the culture in their words and everyday actions, which eventually gain momentum through structures and policies to shape how employees operate.

Culture has always been one of the most powerful differentiators for organisations, but the need to manage culture intentionally is especially critical now, in light of the pandemic. By focusing on being purposeful with culture, you can then seize the opportunity of the moment and be well-positioned to adapt to future changes ahead while thriving in the new normal.

TAFEP provides information and resources to help employers and HR professionals keep abreast of HR best practices. Visit tafep.sg to find out more.


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