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Reshaping Your Corporate Culture Post-Recession

Reshaping Your Corporate Culture Post-Recession

By: Recruiting Training Corner

According to Entrepreneur magazine, “Whether written as a mission statement, spoken or merely understood, corporate culture describes and governs the ways a company’s owners and employees think, feel and act.” 

As we slowly inch our way out of the economic recession, more and more organizations are coming to realize that their own company culture has shifted significantly. More specifically, what has been built over years has been left, in many cases, in a significant state of disarray. Non-existent bonuses, mass layoffs, heavier workloads and constant uncertainty have drained employee motivationemployee loyalty and generated a fearful stance of the organization as a whole. 

Does this describe your organization, or parts of your organization today? If so, now is the time to act.  Here are five factors you should consider in order to reshape and reclaim your company culture and re-enchant employees.

Acknowledge Difficulties. The first thing you should do is gather your employees together and simply acknowledge the difficulties of the past few years. Tell them that management understands and appreciates the sacrifices that have been made, and that everything is being done to move the business forward. A good approach might be for every manager to have smaller group meetings with individual teams in order to have very open and honest discussions.

It should be clear that there will been no repercussions for anything that is said. How is everyone feeling? Are there things that they believe should have been handled differently? Do they feel the organization is going in the right direction? Make sure your employees feel heard and know that you do understand the difficulties of the last years and are committed to moving beyond these with their help.

Define and Implement Strategy with Employees. With the acknowledgement of difficulties and the encouragement to speak freely, the goal is that ideas and strategies will be brought forth. Most organizations have already been diligently working on defining a clear vision at very high levels. But this is the chance to truly involve employees in both the definition and implementation strategy of the organization.  If they feel like they are being heard and are empowered to make it happen, there will be considerably more buy-in; this should result in a more positive overall organizational outlook. Make sure to clearly articulate the strategies and to make this a continual process. 

Prioritize Learning and Professional Development. In the climate of trying to do more with less, education and professional development as a whole took a backseat in most organizations.  Nothing is more motivating than understanding that your employer values you enough to invest in your development. Think about certifications, or experts you could bring into your organization to speak to your team. Involve them fully in the in the process and ask them for ideas about what they would like to pursue from an educational standpoint. 

Reinstate Bonuses/Perks. For some organizations, this may not be possible to do. However if there is any room to maneuver, the organization may want to seriously consider moving in this direction. One could argue that by not reinstating some form of bonuses you could be worsening the current company culture. 

If employees believe that the economy is turning around, as many economists have been publically asserting for several months now, and the organization continues to hedge on reinstating bonuses, it may further the perception that the company simply does not value its employees. And remember, these are the same employees that have stood with the company through difficult times.  Essentially, the belief is that a form of bonus reinstatement should boost employee productivity /hr/hr-best-practices/workforce-management/employee-performance-management/employee-productivity.aspx and morale, which will be well-worth the financial cost in the long run. 

Keep Promises. If management openly states that they will do something, they must follow through. Now more than ever, employees will be following the promises that are made and there will be little forgiveness for broken ones along the way. The only way to rebuild that trust is to show that you are reliable and truly committed to following through on your word.

Regardless of where your organization stands at the moment, it is imperative that deliberate steps be taken to either enhance and foster an already positive corporate culture, or, in many cases, work towards rebuilding one that has been shattered by the last few years. Ignoring this could prove disastrous to your overall business strategy and ongoing success.