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Topic: Culture

4 Culture Trends That Tech Companies Can’t Ignore in 2021

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Technology companies have often been regarded as leaders when it comes to forward-thinking and innovative workplace cultures. But that doesn’t mean that these companies are immune to the challenges that accompany a rapidly changing industry. If organisations want to retain their best talent and encourage productivity without losing employee satisfaction, they will need to keep the following trends top of mind.

Update: The way we work shifted dramatically overnight. In Q1 of 2020, the global COVID-19 pandemic hit. Businesses and their employees are being forced to change how they work in some unprecedented ways. While most employees transitioned to remote work, many are left working on the front lines with new social distancing requirements. Confusion, anxiety, and fear are palpable. How will employees adapt to this change in work environment, process, and roles? How can companies help employees be calm, productive, and healthy?

O.C. Tanner pulse surveys show 40% of employees globally are worried about losing their job, while 60% worry about lost income. 65% of employees report feeling a “tense” work environment, and 46% of employees say they are less productive at work. There’s a 221% increase in fearfulness among employees, and a 135% increase in feeling isolated.

During a time of great uncertainty and change, many companies are struggling with how to take care of their people and keep their businesses operating.

What companies can do: In times of crisis, it is a company’s responsibility to help employees thrive. This includes many things: ensuring employees are safe at work, giving them access to the tools and resources they need to do their jobs, prioritizing employee wellbeing, and communicating honestly, accurately, and frequently. Organizations are taking the necessary steps: 92% of companies took appropriate actions to make sure their employees were safe at work. Video communication from senior leaders nearly doubled. The number of flexible leave policies increased 95%. Now is the time to make employees your most important asset. Take care of their needs, help them stay connected in a time of physical disconnection, and show appreciation for their work and efforts, especially those on the front line. If you take care of your people, they will take care of your business.

This means we need to understand how employees are feeling and what they want from work.  Here the 4 culture trends for 2020 (as they existed before the pandemic):

Culture Trend #1: Employees in the tech industry are burning out.


All industries experience burnout in one area or another, but people working in tech are feeling these effects more often. The 2020 O.C. Tanner Global Culture Report shows that 43 percent of people working in tech feel their situation at work is hurting their ability to be happy in other aspects of their life, more than any other industry. Additionally, 44 percent of employees in tech believe their job has a negative effect on their physical health. Why are tech employees feeling these effects more than their peers in other industries?

This partly has to do with tech industry itself. Keeping up with rapidly changing advancements in technology puts a huge amount of pressure on companies trying to stay ahead of the curve. Workers are often drawn to tech because they are passionate and appreciate a workplace that thrives on innovation; however, if companies don’t provide a supportive workplace culture, employees may burn out before they reach their full potential.

What tech companies can do: While tech employees often feel tapped out, 73 percent of people working in tech still feel a sense of belonging at their organisation. The best tech companies will provide employee experiences that harness their employee’s passions. Beware of trends that have driven workplace culture in the past but are now outdated. For example, in the tech and manufacturing industries, job rotation was adopted to address employees' feelings of monotony, boredom, and fatigue. These practices are no longer in sync with new technology and work needs and may actually increase dissatisfaction. A study of employees in Taiwan found that returning to job specialisation actually “raises professional efficacy and reduces employees' feeling of job burnout.” Consider providing more opportunities for your employees to specialise in a particular skill. Their growth and mastery of the skill will help alleviate symptoms of burnout by giving them the opportunity to become an expert.

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