Rebuilding Your Corporate Culture Post-Recession
To say that the most recent economic recession exacted a heavy toll on the business world may be the purest example of an understatement. Layoffs, budgetary restrictions, and corporate restructuring seemingly became an ever-present part of the everyday business vernacular. Now that the corporate world is entering the early stages of rebound, you as a business manager or executive are left to help pick up the pieces. Depending upon the extent to which your organization was affected, you could be faced with the monumental task of completely re-establishing your identity. The challenge of rebuilding a corporate culture post-recession is likely not something that you ever anticipated having to do, but now may be staring you right in the face.
Separating Insecurity from Fear
The greatest challenge in piecing together a strong corporate culture post-recession is overcoming the prevailing emotion that extreme economic difficulty brings: insecurity. Notice that the feeling cited here is not fear. Fear is an emotion often associated with the unknown or unanticipated, while insecurity is anxiety experienced due to a perceived lack of protection. Your employees know that economic difficulties are out of their control, and thus the fear of them is not extraordinary. However, they do have an expectation that you and your management team will protect them from such challenges. If you’ve been placed in a position where that protection has been compromised, then rebuilding that confidence becomes the much greater challenge. If that security isn’t once again felt amongst your workforce, many within it may choose to try and find it elsewhere.
It’s in these moments where the true power of company culture comes into play. In its simplest form, a corporate culture is the personality of your organization. It’s the vision that drives it forward, the values that it adheres to, and standards that it sets for employees. Yet perhaps the most critical component of a company’s culture is the expectations that employees have from it. That’s what’s damaged most during an economic downturn when you’re forced to make decisions that negatively impact your employees, and what needs to be re-established first when repairing corporate culture post-recession.
Rebuilding by Recognizing What Happened
How do you do it Start by recognizing what happened as opposed to ignoring it. The cold, clinical explanation of having to deal with the inevitable ebbs and flows of the economy isn’t one that’s likely to assuage anyone’s fears, or reassure them that your organization is any better equipped to handle them should they arise again. Instead, highlight exactly what aspects of the recession hit your company the hardest, and how you were forced to deal with them. This creates a level of mutual understanding between your management team and your workforce, as well as any new employees that you bring on to assist with your recovery.
Using Current and New Employees to Rebuild Your Identity
Once you’ve established an atmosphere of understanding, the time to address the corporate culture post-recession is at hand. In some cases, this will only be a reaffirmation of your long-standing goals and directives. However, in other situations, a recession presents the opportunity to reassess your vision and values and develop an amended or completely new culture based upon what you’ve learned. Your employees can be a tremendous resource in this task. Poll them to see if they believe your dealing with the challenges presented by the recession was in line with your organization’s stated values. If you believe it was, then simple clarification may be all that’s need in order to reaffirm your commitment to your core beliefs. If it wasn’t, then feedback may help in redefining the values that support your culture in order to better define expectations going forward.
As you move on the task of rebuilding your workforce, keep your updated or amended values at the front of your mind during the interview process. Your desired corporate culture post-recession should be one of the kay factors used in the hiring of new employees. You want people in place that will work make the res-establishment of your culture their top priority, even if it means growth is slowed as this identity starts to take hold. As your new direction becomes well-defined and employees begin to buy into your abilities to follow it, then you can start to expand your focus on to bringing in new staff to specifically support your operations.
While no one envies you in your task of re-establishing a corporate culture post-recession, you have the unique opportunity to help guide your organization into a new era by helping it rebound with a new workforce dedicated to its vision and values. While this begins with your current employees, it’s perpetuated in your new hires. The assistance that Mighty Recruiter can provide in aligning job candidates with your culture will help ensure your success in this endeavor.