A lot has changed in the world of work since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and organizations have needed to adapt. Whereas talent used to be drawn to fun workplace perks, like free meals, events, and ping pong tables, many people are now more interested in flexibility, meaningful work, better pay, and career progression.

As we continue making plans to get back into the swing of things, it may be time to refresh your company culture to align with your organization’s offerings and the needs and desires of the talent pool. This will help you attract, retain, and engage the talent you need to meet your business goals.

Consider how your organizational values have changed

Your organizational values are the backbone of your company culture. Consider how your values may have changed along with your organization’s updated priorities and your team members’ needs.

For example, many companies are placing a bigger emphasis in a few key areas:

  1. Health and wellness. As the novel coronavirus made its way around the world, many organizations realized the importance of team member health and wellness beyond the standard healthcare insurance offering. This often includes COVID-19 risk mitigation strategies, as well as an added focus on mental health. Showing your team members that you truly care about their health and wellbeing above all else can relieve many stressors and lead to a happier, more engaged workforce.
  2. Diversity, equity, and inclusion. Many social injustices have been brought to light during the pandemic, and more companies are stepping up to do their parts. Including diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as one of your organization's core values is a signal of its importance. As a core value, DEI should be woven into everything your organization does—from who you hire, how you treat team members, and how you serve your customers and community.
  3. Development. With talent shortages already becoming problematic, more companies are focusing on upskilling and reskilling their workforces this year. This can help attract top performers that want to continue growing in their careers. Internal promotions can also help retain talent and fill more skilled positions in the future.

Revisit your company values to see if they still align with your organization's priorities and needs. Adjust as needed—clarifying, adding, or removing values to ensure they properly represent your company.

Reexamine how to best support your values

Values and culture are more than words. They need to be intertwined into your actions and decisions, no matter how small. Take a close look at how you will support your values, particularly in light of changes to your organization. 

If you’re transitioning to a hybrid workforce model, for example, consider what you might need to adjust in order to support remote and in-office team members alike. An organization that values development and growth should take steps to ensure remote team members are sponsored and promoted at the same rates as in-office team members. An organization that values both wellness and inclusion should ensure benefit plans have inclusive health and wellness benefits, such as coverage for same-sex partners.

The ways in which you support your values may need to change over time, so it’s important to get regular feedback on where you could improve. Send team member surveys, read employer reviews, and discuss ideas with your team members.

Communicate changes

Once you’ve refreshed your company culture for the post-pandemic workplace, communicate it with team members and the external world. Discuss your company values and culture every chance you get, including:

  • All-hands meetings. Be transparent when you decide to refresh your company culture so your team members can chime in during the process, and communicate changes during your regular all-hands meetings. If company leaders channel values to make business decisions, share those details. For instance, if a new office location is chosen due to the area’s diversity, or when an employee development plan results in an internal promotion. 
  • Website. Update your company website to share information about your values and culture. This may include listing your company values on your “About” page, and sharing a little about your culture on your career site. You might even create blog posts to highlight team members who embody your values.
  • Social media. Update your social profiles, including Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and anywhere else you have a presence. For instance, you might update your benefit offerings on Glassdoor, or add photos on LinkedIn that showcase your diverse workforce.
  • Employee reviews. Incorporate your core values into employee reviews, so team members know they’re expected to act in accordance with them. And, as with all feedback, make sure your reviews aren’t the only time values are discussed with your team members. Each person should know where they’re excelling or falling short well before performance review time.
  • Recognition. Call out team members who exemplify your values, so others can see the behaviors you reward. This can be done during all-hands meetings, in a dedicated Slack channel, or in a public “Praise Wall” that’s available both digitally and displayed in the office.

Final thoughts

Your company culture should help you attract and retain the right talent for your organization and team. But shifting priorities during the pandemic and beyond may mean that your culture could use a refresh. This level of change can be difficult to accomplish, so your updated culture and values must be authentic if you want them to stick. Live them out, exemplify them, and call out those who exemplify them as well. Over time, they will become second-nature.

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