Why Organizational Culture Matters (Part 3)

Nov 8, 2022 | Culture

This blog is the third in our three-part series about organizational culture.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is hopefully tapering off, its impact on the work environment seems to be permanent. Research by McKinsey found that before the pandemic, pretty much all executives expected their employees to spend 80% of their time in the office; now this perspective is only shared by 10%. Moreover, 29% of employees mentioned they would seek other employment opportunities if their company shifted from remote work to a completely in-person model. It seems that, at least for now, hybrid culture is here to stay. So, here are some innovative strategies that managers can use to promote a healthy organizational culture in a hybrid work model:

Achieve optimal performance by empowering employees to own their results and impact. In a hybrid work environment, managers have shifted to think more about the results and impact of their deliverables. This has opened the opportunity for other team members to take ownership of the processes that can lead to these results. To achieve this, managers need to clearly set roles and tangible goals while creating regular check-ins to support and hold their team accountable. Employee accountability will drive the success of these results.

Build more trust and inclusiveness. Trust and inclusiveness are extremely important to support employee creativity and innovation. However, it is hard to create these environments in a hybrid model as there aren’t opportunities to meet colleagues in the lunchroom or go out for social events. Therefore, managers should establish trust by acting as role models and encouraging reliability, acceptance, openness, and authenticity. This can be achieved through innovative digital strategies such as creating online team building games or weekly online check-ins, or meeting in-person as needed (i.e., team celebrations or team ideation sessions). 

Proactively engage with the team. Team engagement may erode in a hybrid setting since individuals may not be physically or emotional present at meetings. Managers should utilize interactive tools like chat polls and screensharing to ensure team participation and engagement. Decision-making may also be delegated so employees can be empowered to help create and achieve a common goal.

Promote team problem solving. Managers often prioritize completing their own projects over supporting their team. In a hybrid environment, managers should encourage team problem-solving and a unified approach in tackling challenging questions. This helps create a team-oriented problem-solving mindset, which promotes employee buy-in and ownership of outcomes.

As the pandemic begins to subside, we must recognize both the upsides and challenges that organizational culture has faced over the past few years. Although working from home may increase productivity and reduce a micromanaging work environment, it also leads to employee isolation and prompts leadership to rely more on trust than oversight. These swift organizational changes prompt leadership to think of creative and innovative ways to improve organizational culture while maintaining their high-performance. Successful organizations can intentionally create a flexible – and effective – organizational culture by encouraging leaders to foster result-driven performance, trust and inclusiveness, and team participation and problem-solving.

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