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A Positive Product of the Pandemic: Culture

This article was originally published on Human Resource Executive’s website.

“Our engagement results are so much higher … than they were just day to day,” said one of the members of our Employee Experience Exchange group via Zoom recently, echoing the sentiments other participants had written in the chat section. “I feel like we have always really cared about our employees a lot, but we just say it more, we’re so much more demonstrative about it now. We really care about our employees and … we’re showing it more.”

That may be one of the ultimate silver linings of the COVID-19 crisis—and hopefully also in the events following George Floyd’s death—true leaders have stepped up, and companies have exhibited a level of empathy the workforce has never seen before. Examples are everywhere, from heartfelt and frequent communication to additional pay, relaxation of working hours, additional benefits and more vacation. Many companies have gone the extra mile to help their employees cope with levels of crisis most have never experienced in their lifetimes.

And for those companies, while that reaction is heartwarming, it’s also strategic. As Mark Cuban said in relation to the pandemic a few weeks ago, “How companies respond … is going to define their brand for decades. How you treat your employees today will have more impact on your brand in future years than any amount of advertising, any amount of anything you literally could do.” 

Actions during trying times are amplified. With the confluence of crises, an organization’s consumer brand and employer brand are, for good or bad, being determined now. As we’ve outlined in the New Corporate Currency, the interconnectedness of Purpose, Culture and Brand has always existed but is much more pronounced during this pandemic than it ever was in the past. 

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Kevin Oakes
Kevin is the CEO and co-founder of i4cp. He is a world-recognized thought leader on the topics of corporate culture, the future of work, and learning, and is the author of the bestselling book Culture Renovation: 18 Leadership Actions to Build an Unshakeable Company.