Access the full webinar recording here.
“Fifty years ago, Alvin Toffler suggested that there would be too much change in too short a period of time that would create an emotional response, a stress factor in all of us. It was essentially a disease called “future shock.”
“He was not predicting a pandemic. But he was predicting an acceleration of change and it would be driven by technology,” explained Ira S. Wolfe to begin the Staffing Helps webinar sponsored by Greene Resources last week.
There is no denying that a lot has indeed changed in just a few short months. Companies have reduced their workforce and changed how they offer their services. Employees have changed where and how they work. This all has had a profound and lasting effect on company culture.
As a celebrated thought leader in the future of work and HR, and the founder and president of Success Performance Solutions, Ira shared his insights on how we can adapt to these changes and create a positive company culture in a post-pandemic world.
“We can’t talk about culture without talking about technology,” stated Wolfe. Even before coronavirus was prevalent, the world was seeing the effects of technology in every aspect of business. The current pandemic has simply accelerated those effects. From meetings to service offerings to distribution, we have adopted new technologies and capabilities thanks to COVID-19 and they are likely here to stay.
This shouldn’t be viewed as negative, though. Technology will likely play a large part in helping us overcome this pandemic through testing, monitoring capabilities, even 3D printing of needed supplies. The key will be ensuring your organization and your team can keep up. The National Skills Coalition estimates that 1/3 of all manufacturing and healthcare workers are digitally illiterate, a statistic that poses a problem in a post-pandemic digital world. Invest in training or upskilling your existing workforce if you are able. Successful companies and employees will embrace new technological advances and the potential they offer.
Trust in an organization is a strong foundation for success, now, more so than ever. Customers and employees alike need to trust that your company can provide quality, valuable service while prioritizing safety and well-being. Start at the top with your organization’s mission and values. Are these clearly articulated and widely known? Be intentional about communicating and living these.
Next, create value not only for your customers, but your team members. Are you fostering engagement in a way that adds value to their lives beyond just a paycheck? Recognize that this is a difficult time for everyone, and your employees may be coping in different ways at different paces. Enable managers to be authentic and supportive. Reach out on a regular basis for a “pulse check” now and as you transition back to the office. Software tools can help you measure the sentiment of your team and give you the opportunity to course correct as needed to foster a positive environment. These actions together build the trust needed to create a positive, healthy company culture.
Prepare for the “New Normal”
Much of the talk surrounding reopening and returning to the workplace has focused on a “new normal” and how to prepare. Wolfe shared the following checklist of things that are likely to accompany this new normal, some of which are already happening.
We are already experiencing a new definition and organization of work. From an increase in freelance work to flexible schedules accommodating a lack of school, the pandemic has accelerated a “rebranding” of work as we know it. Organizational communication is quickly following suit. Zoom usage increased from 10 million participants in December 2019 to 300 million by April 2020. Does your company have the ability to communicate and connect virtually?
This has put a spotlight on training, upskilling, and reskilling the current workforce. No, Wolfe says, we will not all be replaced by machines. But we will all need to become more adept at using them. Finally, is your company staying ahead of ethics and privacy concerns with a virtual and transitioning workforce?