What people are looking for in a post-pandemic work environment and company culture?

With the great resignation in full swing and many companies opening offices for in-person work, employees are reevaluating what work means to them. The pandemic has created a giant disruption in everyday life and work on a global level. It has changed so many cultural and work-life rules that savvy executives are crafting their own way forward. This is a challenging time for businesses looking to retain and attract talent. In my experience coaching executives throughout the pandemic and helping people pivot during the great resignation, I have learned a few valuable insights that I would like to share with you.

Once compensation needs are met, people are motivated to stay in a role when they feel a sense of belonging, shared values and a pathway for growth.

As a huge fan of the mid-2000’s drama series Mad Men, I often quote my favorite character Don Draper.  Draper was an advertising executive who often used ideas from his direct reports without giving them credit. In one episode, Draper wins a prestigious award for a print ad campaign that featured copy written by his junior colleague Peggy.  Peggy is astonished that Draper gives no mention of her work at the award ceremony and storms into his office, upset by the lack of recognition. Draper utters these words, “that’s what the money’s for.” In essence, he is saying shut up and do your job! I believe that these days are hopefully behind us and that as managers we have a responsibility to honor and give credit to rising stars. Companies can help by encouraging managers to practice empathy and active listening skills to move beyond the suggestion boxes and endless surveys from the past. Appreciating the good work of junior colleagues is a valuable tool to enroll employees in the company culture, enticing them to stay and grow with the company.

Cultivate a Sense of Belonging:

Two ways to encourage a sense of belonging are to create shared values and pathways for growth. Most companies share their values publicly and with employees and savvy job seekers know to look for values in a company that they also share. The best way to make values connect with employees is for a company to live their values.  Showcase actions that are values-based and encourage employees to participate in values centered activities. 

Creating pathways for growth is another way to help employees feel that they belong in your organization. Get curious about where your direct reports aim to go with their career, where is their north star? This is an important and often overlooked factor for emerging leaders looking to stay in a role or search for a greener pasture. Take some one on one time to help your direct reports map their career journey. Then make sure that the actions they are taking now will support them to get where they wish to go!

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