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According to a just-published global report on workplace culture, research has found that less than half (44%) of employees believe their companies D&I efforts are sincere, while just over a third (34%) thought they were effective.

The 2021 Global Culture Report – compiled annually – was drawn form more 40,000 employees and leader across 20 countries by employee recognition specialists O.C. Tanner.

The far-ranging research identified the need for companies to let go of the current ‘normal’ in favour of a more aspirational future – taking a no-nonsense approach to the superficiality of many D&I programmes, which “seek to mitigate legal risk, rather than uplift employees and leverage their unique perspectives”.

The trend of a more-democratised modern leadership style was also examined, with the report analysing how traditional leadership is losing favour to a more modern leadership style.

“Autocratic managers cling to dead philosophies that hurt culture and business outcomes. Ultimately, corporate lip service won’t cut it – to be successful, organisations must put the right action behind their words and implement modern technology that helps employees thrive,” the report states.

Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 had a significant impact on company culture. Key findings were that there was an 11% decrease in employee engagement, a 15% increase in the chance of burnout and a 5% drop in the intention of employees to leave their job.

On a positive note, organisations with a healthy work culture were 16 times more likely to retain their Generation Z talent. 

“2020 has brought a series of health, economic and social crises that have shined a light on organisational cultures in a way that has exposed both strengths and weaknesses,” said Gary Beckstrand, VP of the O.C. Tanner Institute.

“Organisations with thriving cultures have weathered the storm far better than others, but there’s an impetus right now for organisations everywhere to stay agile as the current era of uncertainty continues,” he added.

In other findings, Millennials are the most likely (53%) to believe in a sense of superiority and freely admitted that they approach things differently to other generations. But they also feel their approach is better (52%).

In addition, more than a third of Millennials (37%) accept that they have difficulty relating to colleagues of other generations, with almost half (47%) believing their stereotypes of other generations hold true. 

The report concluded that, despite the need to be agile and forward thinking, almost a third of respondents (29%) said their companies had stopped investing in new technologies – with significant repercussions.

“This past year, we continued to examine the effect of how outdated and disconnected technologies, programmes, strategies and leadership philosophies have – and will continue to ­­– hinder individual and organisational performance,” said Alexander Lovell, director of research at the O.C. Tanner Institute.

Image courtesy O.C. Tanner