“What’s your covid success story?”
I was taken aback by the question as I hadn’t really considered it. My instant response was, “helping people find themselves as we emerge; helping businesses step away from the starting line that the vaccination gave us and rebuilding corporate culture with forward thinking businesses.” It sounds like I had an answer planned, but this is really how I feel.
Businesses are emerging from the darkest days that we’ve seen in recent history. Corporations that are leading the way from the vax starting line are poised for a dominant success over the others that are lagging or perhaps choosing business as usual. The Great Resignation is moving the general population away from that status quo and towards companies that embrace a strong corporate culture where employees are shown greater appreciation. The pandemic rained down on everyone; we were all affected. How we chose to lead our teams is the basis of how we’re being judged by our staff. Some corporations were compassionate and concerned, while others were not. The facades of corporate culture crumbled under the weight of value exposure.
Keen management are seeing opportunities to harvest the finest minds and most enthusiastic personalities as employees depart corporations that lack the culture that they crave. To successfully do that, their culture has to be more than just leisurely start times and funky colours in the break room. In an Inc. article, founder and CEO of Thrive Global, Arianna Huffington said that “we need to incorporate well-being and recharging practices into our work and our lives. Well-being weeks and mental health days, as welcome as they are, aren't enough. We need to go beyond episodic, ad hoc well-being interventions. We need to stop thinking of recharging as a reward we get for working hard and burning out. As the science makes clear, being recharged actually allows us to show up as our best, most productive, most creative selves. It's the foundation of any strategy for both a broader definition of success at the personal level and a sustainable definition of business success.”
So, if you are looking to attract and retain great people and contribute to fantastic bottom-line performance, ask yourself, how can your business recharge its culture?
When it comes to recharging, we know that nature has its healing effects and it makes us feel more alive and vital. Being outdoors has been proven to make us happier, gives us energy, boosts memory, relieve stress, increase creativity, and makes us kinder to others. You could spend little as 20 minutes in a green space or woodland to receive these benefits. Sure, you could have your Monday morning meetings at the nearby park or incorporate a wellness plan into your benefits package that focuses on outdoor activities. But your team just went through a pandemic, I am confident that we can be a bit more creative than that! Your next team building activity or company retreat goes beyond the downtown core and into the Canadian Rockies. Your strategic planning meeting could be in a place where your executives have limited cell service so they can truly disconnect and focus at the tasks at hand. The best companies continue to distinguish themselves by supporting their employees’ well-being and trying to enhance their uniqueness to entice the right people to stay.
Most leaders think of culture as something that happens organically on its own. It doesn’t. It is intentional and is organized like the rest of the business with thought and purpose. Culture doesn’t have to cost money, but when it does, it should be seen to have a positive return on investment. So go beyond the status quo, and think about how you can change your corporate culture for the better and inspire people to invest in you, just as you invest in them. The stage for your vision is key to the impact made on the audience. The judge and jury of the message are the employees and they need to see that their part in the companies covid success story is well planned and demonstrates values that align with their own. Make no mistake, every company, no matter how big or small has a company culture. If during covid, it has taken a back seat or started to dissolve, now it’s time to break out the defibrillator and revive it. The race has begun, so make certain that your company has left the starting line and is charging toward the “success story” finish line.
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