Opinion article by Ângela Santos, Board Member and responsible for talent management at Ábaco Consulting, for Dinheiro Vivo: [PT only] https://www.dinheirovivo.pt/opiniao/como-sera-a-cultura-organizacional-pos-covid-19/
It seems that, one month after the first State of Emergency decree, in Portugal, we can begin to draw a near future. With most companies already adapted to this new reality of tele-work and home offices, it is time to start thinking more about the future and a return to the new normal.
Although this is an optimistic thought, it is still uncertain. Obviously, we all want to get back to normal, but still no one knows what this new “normal” will be. However, it is essential that, when this return is possible, we take with us what we learned during this global pandemic.
During this, until now, a month of confinement and social isolation, we learned a lot about each Employee and even about ourselves. We learn to deal with unexpected, urgent situations, overnight, but also to find within us the positive force that guides us.
And we learned that it was essential to hold on to our principles and to give tranquility and confidence to our People. We are not sure about the future, but we know that we have the spirit and heart of our employees with us. Many contributed ideas, work, solidarity (and even old laptops to offer to those in need). I can say that the leaders of the various teams made a great effort in proximity and communication, to keep people motivated and aligned with what is the company’s culture. But I also wanted to say that people have often taken on this role, motivating their leaders. Through moments of social interaction online, suggestions for better dealing with remote work, praise for the decisions taken, suggestions for better articulation of the teams, I was extremely happy to see that, in this stress test, Abaco has shown a strong culture, based on values of mutual help and pragmatism in what has to be done. Flexibility, agility, but above all, solidarity.
Although we believe that many ways of acting will be different, we must not forget our history and who we are, to guarantee the alignment and commitment of each one of us. To this end, in the Human Resources strategies, we must consider some measures:
Reinforcing Confidence: If this point was already very important before the pandemic, now, more than ever, it is fundamental. Confidence will be, in the times to come and the future, the most essential asset (for the economy to take off, too). We want employees to be motivated and aligned with the company’s values and there is no better way to do it than to create a sense of belonging and trust. When we feel they trust us, we are proud of the team we have built, but it also shows us the responsibility we have. According to a study by Microsoft and Forbes, 88% of workers have control over where and how they do their work, as long as they feel highly committed and satisfied. It is also necessary to invest in actions to reinforce customers’ confidence in our work. More communication, more visibility and transparency, more proximity.
Human Capital: People are the company’s most essential asset. And that is how it should be, because a company is made from people to people, this is the reality. After a difficult period, it is important to place a safe bet on the talents we want to return to normal. Obviously, very connected to trust. We have to listen to our Employees, understand what their fears are, the challenges they are going through and how we can help them.
Internal Communication: Inherent in the organizational culture, internal communication is a great ally in strengthening it. In other words, it is important that we send regular, weekly communications with relevant information, as this is a way of ensuring that everyone is following the evolution of the company and the situation. Equally important are the moments of open communication, for questions and answers and those of socializing. For example, the existence of an intranet remains a safe option for disseminating products and services, information, messages. On the other hand, internal newsletters can be used for leisure moments, with spaces dedicated to the Employee, recommended books, challenging moments, photos. Creating a space where each employee can tell their story, their most memorable moments at Abaco, also helps us to keep our history in mind and foster a sense of belonging. And you learn a lot about People.
Adopt Tools: While it is certain that we will not all return at the same time, this initial phase will be, above all, more complicated for those who are parents and who will have to balance their work with accompanying their children. For those who have to remain at home (or for those who want to do so), it is important to continue to use the tools and adopt the company’s recommendations, so that those who are at a distance do not feel isolated from the rest of their colleagues. So far everyone has been in remote mode: now it will be important to coordinate the two modes.
Continue everything that has been done: If it was possible during this pandemic to continue working remotely, responding to customers with the same dedication, delivery and willingness, it is because there was strong and positive leadership. If this leadership existed, then the employees also felt guided and accompanied. Remote work is here to stay, and it is good that companies take advantage of this moment to structure it for the future.
We live one of the greatest challenges in our history, we had to completely change the reality of our companies from one day to the next, from a distance. After the pandemic, the path will be different from what we knew and there are new paradigms to consider, but we will continue together and united, as it is the best way to overcome it and come out stronger.