How to build a new workplace culture that sets your business up for any future

Uncategorized May 13, 2020

We’ve been talking about the future of work for years, and just like that, within weeks, this future of work has now become reality. Businesses have been forced into a pressure cooker and the whole foundations of how they have traditionally been operating is being tested.

It’s not just the ability to produce work that has been put in the spotlight, the true culture of our organisations is coming through in how our teams are coming together to adapt to the change and stay connected. No one knows what the new operating norm will look like, but what we do know is that there is no “going back to normal”, there has been a fundamental shift in how work happens. Businesses have been given a great opportunity to really evaluate the workplace cultures and see how it has truly “stood up” with a different way of operating.

So what should businesses be reviewing in to set their workplace up for the future in regards to culture? To be honest, it’s nothing new, and nothing revolutionary. It all comes down to setting up solid foundations in your purpose, values, leadership and reconsidering your workplace design.

We’ve provided more detail around what you should be asking yourself about each of this four areas.

CONSIDER THE TRUE PURPOSE OF YOUR ORGANISATION

Working with (and for) a purpose is one of the most underrated desires for modern-day employees. Purpose is the new currency of business. Beyond employees, you will create deeper connections and stronger loyalty with your customers, communities and industries.

We’ve all watched Simon Sinek’s clip on “Start with Why” (if you haven’t, it’s a must watch it here), yet there are so many businesses out there that still haven’t quite hit the mark with their true purpose – they are still stuck in the “what we do” or “how we do it”, not the why.

If you’re still not sure why this is important – consider this. If your organisation’s purpose is more about the why, your team is more likely to be truly connected to it and you are more likely to adapt and innovate in times of disruption

Does your current purpose incite an emotive response? If you truly live up to your purpose, what impact are you having on the lives of those around you; your employees, your customers, the communities. Is it “future” proofed, does it shine a light on how you intend to evolve and transform?

TAKE STOCK OF YOUR VALUES

This is one of the easier exercises to do, particularly in times of uncertainly and disruption. When human beings are faced with ambiguity or disruption, the uncertainty will typically reveal reality.

Consider what behaviours your your team and leaders have exhibited in more recent times? Do they align with the values you have set in place? Have you been using your values to guide your decisions? If the answer is no – don’t dismay. First, dig a little deeper to diagnose this further. Are our values actually “right” for what we want to create?

If it’s been highlighted that they aren’t inciting the right behaviours, then your next step is to evolve what should be in order to continue to transform your business.

If you genuinely believe they are right but they’re not alive in the organisation, then it’s time to consider; how enabled and empowered are your teams to live by the values? What resources and structures have we got in place to bring these to life.

CONSIDER WHICH HUMAN-CENTRED SKILLS YOUR LEADERS MIGHT NEED TO DEVELOP

You’ve heard it for years – how  important emotional intelligence is, and the difference between managers and leaders. But no doubt, all of your leaders have been on a very steep learning curve and perhaps it’s exemplified that there are many outdated practices of leadership that need to rapidly evolve.

The leadership landscape of now is vastly different. The requirement for human-centred leadership has amplified including our ability to create psychological safety, to demonstrate empathy and compassion, our skills to “coach” over lead or manage, what are our levels of emotional and social intelligence.

Your leaders have been very quickly put in a situation where they need to adapt and evolve beyond day to day management. Now is a great opportunity to upskill your leaders on these essential requirements of leadership.

REVALUATE WHAT THE TRUE PURPOSE OF YOUR “WORKPLACE”

Your purpose and values have always and will always set the foundation of your culture and employee value proposition. The next piece of the puzzle is your physical workplace. It’s now been proven that most employees can perform work from anywhere, so it begs the question – if employees don’t need to come to a physical office to “work”, then what purpose does it play?

Workplaces are the spaces that connect us to our organisations and should be environments that allow us to connect socially and support the need for human interaction and connection. With this in mind (and this remember that your new “workplace” could also now be a combination of physical office virtual space), how is your workplace set up to facilitate this social need for connection?

This process can be either a reflective exercise (How did we “score” when our environment had to rapidly change?) but even more importantly, undertaking with a focus on the future (what do we need now that we didn’t have before? What do we need to continue to evolve?).

The way we work may have changed, but the fundamentals of success have not. Organisations that have the right foundations in place, will be (and always have been) the best placed to continuing to succeed, regardless of what environmental factors come their way.

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