There isn’t a single company or industry that hasn’t been affected by the challenges of the last year. The changes will have a lasting impact on companies, consumers and professionals alike.
In many ways, the global pandemic has played the role of the great equalizer.
Some of the largest companies have struggled to adapt quickly enough and 2020 saw an increase of startups. The Peterson Institute for International Economics reported that the number of startups in the first three quarters of 2020 was 23 percent higher than those in 2019.
The pandemic has also given everyone a shared experience. “We’ve all been forced to watch in-person interactions switch from being a constant to nonexistent in the blink of an eye,” says Rich Berens, CEO at Root Inc. “So where do we go from here? How can you ensure your business can respond to change ahead of the pace of the marketplace?”
Company culture has been one of the most defining characteristics of organizations over the past 30 years—shaping the actions, values and behaviors leaders want to see within its walls, and equally as important, supporting the execution of your business strategy in the marketplace. But company cultures must continually change to reflect societal trends, shifts in the marketplace including customers, competition and innovation and more. The pandemic has forced organizations to step back and look at their culture and if it will help their organization stay ahead of the competition.
Root says there are four key elements for culture success.
- Purpose – this is an organization’s guiding light and culture should directly support your purpose
- Strategy – ensure that your strategy and brand isn’t in direct conflict with your culture because culture eats strategy for lunch.
- Employee Experience – how your employees are managed, benefits/compensation, policies, training/development, all impact how your people think and feel.
- Customer Experience – your customer experience can never exceed your employee experience – if you focus there, you’re more than halfway
Culture isn’t static and it’s probably time to revisit your culture and see what changes you need to make if you want to be successful in 2022 and beyond.
Expect Change Fatigue
Keep in mind, it’s exhausting to constantly make the shifts needed to meet changing demands. Root says companies need to be cognizant of how exhaustion and disengagement is impacting their team.
COVID simply accelerated the changes that were already starting to take place—like digital migration. Disruptors are able to see this as an opportunity and be realistic about the demanding nature of constant change.
Root says this includes:
Knowing the why first and foremost (Why are certain policies in place? Why is a change necessary?)
Engaging employees—making them a part of decisions by incorporating their ideas and perspective.
Adapt as needed and avoid remaining stuck to old methods, because expectations are changing.
Get Everyone on Board
One thing Root firmly believes in is people-centric solutions. A lot of organizational problems stem from deeper issues within the organization. Starting with how teams work together, Root looks for the culture issues, engagement problems and leadership struggles common in companies of all sizes.
While it may seem unrelated, the deeply rooted people issues are often the ones impacting processes, output and customer service the most. Creating a culture that encourages buy-in from the team is how successful companies are able to ensure their mission stays consistent.
Companies that can see the shifting landscape are the ones that will be the quickest to act and the best at intuitive change. And, while this starts with leadership, the vision for change needs to flow all the way through the organization. The best teams are going to be the ones that are fully committed to being disruptors on every level.