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By Nico Strydom

To conduct business successfully amid the Covid-19 pandemic will not happen unless people are able to keep themselves and others accountable, regardless of their position or authority.

“The new normal for safe business interaction will not succeed unless organisations adopt a culture of psychological safety,” says Helene Vermaak, business director at The Human Edge.

Companies will require more than masks and hand sanitizers to be successful. “Business success will have less to do with safety equipment, screenings and social distancing protocols and more with employees complying with these protocols.”

According to Vermaak, it is not about when it will be the best time to get employees back in the office, but rather about creating a company culture that will encourage and allow employees on all levels to speak their minds.

“It is of cardinal importance to have proactive discussions with everyone about safety protocols and expectations regarding how they should conduct themselves. Employees must understand that not only do they have to comply with the safety protocols, but they also have to take responsibility to remind others politely to do the same.”

Vermaak is of the opinion that uncertainties regarding the “new normal” offer the ideal opportunity to put new expectations and new conduct in place.

It is expected that the Covid-19 pandemic will have a long and lasting impact on company culture. Due to the lockdown, millions of employees have had to work from their homes and companies had to adapt quickly to accommodate it. This drew attention anew to the possibility of working from any place and not be office-bound. This will of course lead to companies re-evaluating the ways in which they do business, and will naturally have a big influence on company culture.

Research has indicated that the large majority of employers and employees consider it important to fit in with a company’s culture. The recruiting agency Robert Walters has furthermore found that 70% of professionals resigned from their jobs because they weren’t happy with the company culture in their workplaces.

The research furthermore found that, should an employee fit in with a company culture, it leads to more work satisfaction and improved work performance. It also results in an employee being less inclined to leave the company and having more respect for the company.

 

Sources:

The Human Edge: https://www.humanedge.co.za/

Robert Walters: https://www.robertwalters.co.za/content/dam/robert-walters/country/south-africa/files/whitepapers/RW-CulturalFitWhitepaper-SA.pdf

 

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