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Topic: Culture

4 Culture Trends for Food and Beverage Distribution Companies in 2021

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Building great workplace cultures in food and beverage distribution companies can be challenging, especially with the rapid pace of change facing the modern workplace. Here are four of the hottest culture trends that will impact these companies in 2020:

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 food and beverage distribution are burning out.


46% of employees working in food and beverage distribution say they feel burned out. It’s no surprise why: consumer demands are pushing the industry to have lower prices and offer more variety. At the same time, consumers want companies to make products available almost instantly which means keeping the right products in stock is crucial. These industry realities create a stressful environment that takes a toll on employees.

With high pressure coming from all sides—the marketplace, consumers, and automation—it’s no wonder that workers struggle to catch a break from workplace-induced stress. According to the 2020 O.C. Tanner Global Culture Report, 57% of food and beverage distribution employees say they used to feel more optimistic about their careers. 39% of these employees say even if they wanted to change something at their organization, it wouldn't matter. Because distributors are challenged to manage increasing SKU volumes and to adjust their planning based on consumer requirements, engaging the needs of their workforce gets overlooked.

What food and beverage distribution companies can do: You may not be able to help consumers slow down or reduce the demand for online order options, but you can help your people manage their stress. If possible, allow employees some flexibility about when and where they get their work done. Focus on improving employee wellbeing—create positive everyday experiences at work so employees feel connected to their manager, peers, and your organization. Provide employees with a meaningful purpose that inspires them. Show how their work makes a difference by recognizing their accomplishments. Creating a great workplace culture can help mitigate, and even prevent, employee burnout in even the most demanding environments.

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