How to Maintain Company Culture During Uncertain Times

2020 has been quite a wild year, not just in the Philippines, but across the world as well. It’s understandable that with all these upheavals, it may be a challenge to maintain your company culture. If your organization’s mission and values are truly important, here are several things you can try to maintain them during these difficult times:

1.) See if your culture is truly worth maintaining
Not all organizational cultures are worth emulating, having, or keeping. We can all probably think of past and current examples of unethical, arrogant, hubristic, uncaring, and overly optimistic organizational cultures ourselves. And there is no better way to expose the inadequacies of a culture than a real crisis. 

If your organization was slow to help its employees cope with major emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic or if it was unable to help customers and stakeholders because its culture was holding it back — maybe you shouldn’t maintain that culture. Think of every major crisis is a good opportunity to reevaluate your way of doing things, and decide if it is truly worth keeping in uncertain times.

2.) Communicate your intent
Whether or not you’ve deemed your culture worth saving, it’s up to you as a business owner or manager to communicate the direction the organization is taking as well as the steps deemed necessary to reach that goal. Without a clear direction and concise communication about what is demanded of them, your employees and management team will inevitably fall back to old habits and patterns, for better or for worse.

3.) Be smart about feedback
 If you give feedback to your team, make sure that it is useful and actionable, especially when it comes to ideas as vague as “maintaining company culture”. Help them arrive at the needed solutions so that they will be contributing to the maintenance — or change — in your organization’s culture.

 4.) Make sure you and your team all stay on the same page
You and your employees may work together and share some things in common. Yet, every individual is different, each with different sets of values. Without a specific direction from their leaders, you can never be sure what this mix of personalities and values will ultimately result in. This means it is up to you to be firm and communicative when it comes to maintaining goals related to culture.

Regular “state of the business” meetings held monthly or quarterly may be enough for most businesses to ensure everyone in the organization knows the organization’s direction. It’s important to emphasize and drive home the business’s core values during these meetings so that everyone understands what is expected of them. 

5.) Don’t hold onto your old culture if you can create something better
Even if your culture doesn’t seem to have anything wrong with it on the surface, it does not mean that it could not be improved. There is no perfect culture, and any organization that’s big enough will sometimes fail in its responsibilities to its employees and other stakeholders.

Even with this being the case, there should be an attitude that you will strive to make things right and improve the culture when you can. Given how fast-paced the world now is, it’s likely that “uncertain times” may happen much more often than they did in the past. Having the willingness to change and do better can thus make all the difference.

An organization’s culture doesn’t just make it unique. It is a reflection of its mission and its core values. It is what makes employees and customers loyal to your business. When it is not maintained or if hypocrisy and inconsistencies start to show, it can be a root cause for employees to be demotivated and ultimately become hostile to the organization. If anything, this tumultuous year is an excellent time for leaders to do some soul searching and find if the business gives a positive meaning to the lives of all its stakeholders.

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