Our latest weekly pulse survey of over 1,679 employees throughout the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. reveals how employees envision the future. The headlines:
1. Three out of four believe the response to COVID-19 will change workplace culture in permanent ways. Not necessarily negative ways, but “normal” is gone and won’t be coming back.
2. Leaders are more convinced of this change than individual contributors.
3. Coronavirus-related disruption has caused nearly half of all workers to consider changing careers.
A full 77% of all employees surveyed say their workplace culture will never return to what it was before COVID-19. Contrast this number with our findings just three weeks ago when 65% of remote workers reported their company culture had not changed in any meaningful way. (All we can figure is time at home feels like dog years compared to the office.)
So what sort of new culture and employee experiences do they expect? In general, it’s a hybrid based on how the company reacted or adapted to COVID-19. One characteristic response:
Breaking this data down further, we see 83% of leaders plan on a new reality, compared to 66% of individual contributors.
Challenges often give their survivors a new perspective. But many employees are drawing heavy conclusions. According to the survey, 48% are considering a career change as soon as coronavirus loses its grip. And not just in new companies; new industries. Look closer, though, and problems apart from the pandemic emerge:
Only 28% of these contemplators received recognition within the past month
63% worry about losing income, their job, or both
55% are classified as “essential” workers
As the stats and quotes suggest, the pandemic may have triggered issues, but many appear treatable with recognition, appreciation, transparency, and a little leader empathy.
It may be tempting to try to resurrect the workplace culture you had in February. But even if that were possible, it wouldn’t be productive. According to the data, new ways of working have taken hold. So instead, focus on quickly defining your desired culture and deliberately move toward it.
Begin by listening to employees and their perspectives to identify the experiences they value, and don’t value. Embrace positive changes and let go of old philosophies and processes.
COVID-19 will continue to upend every company’s culture in ways large and small. As discussed in a previous pulse report, organizations have an excellent, if temporary, opportunity to improve their cultures now. We’ll discuss how and provide more insight in our upcoming annual culture report.
Stay tuned to our COVID-19 weekly culture pulse surveys for insights that will help your organization to weather the storm.
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