Out of a need, a new term was born – Culture renovation.
The collapse of many organizational cultures is one of the aftermaths of the Covid global crisis. So many things got disintegrated during and after this crisis. Marriages did not all hold up. Belief systems got changed. Companies and businesses crashed. People found new directions for themselves.
The perception of work changed for many people.
Amongst it all, many organizations saw their internal culture disintegrate. Organizational culture is created by cafeteria talk. It is created by the meeting between the founders and their people and by the example set by the leaders. It is created by the folklore and shared beliefs and customs and the stories people tell each other in meetings and in the corridors. It is created by the heroes of the organization and by the narratives that are embedded in the daily practice of organizational life.
This disintegration of culture happened for many reasons. The first reason is because of remote working. People did not meet. There was no cafeteria or corridors for informal conversations. Working from your computer at home can deliver tasks but cannot not sustain a culture.
However, it could also be due to the fact that people paused and stopped their rushing by inertia for a while and had the chance to review the real nature of their work or their workplace. A lot of people did not like what they saw. Research shows that 26% of people who left their work recently had no idea where they are heading.
Another reason could be that leaders found it very challenging to care for their people in such extreme situations, which they themselves had never experienced before. People felt the leadership vacuum that was created in many workplaces. Studies show that aprox. 50% of employees are in psychological distress, in emotional states or burnt out. There are very few leaders out there that can assist them. Many people left their organizations and, with them a whole legacy of organizational culture disappeared.
One way or another more and more people found themselves disengaged, remote, and not part of the old organizational culture of pre- Covid times. The great resignation might be one of the effects of this disintegration of organizational cultures.
So, it is time to renovate the culture where needed, like you renovate an old house that needs to be refreshed.
Firstly, the leadership of the organization needs to face the reality that this is a job that has to be done. That is not easy. Culture renovation starts with deep commitment from the leadership to go through this process.
Then there needs to be an inclusive process of deciding what will be the actual real values for the next phase of the organization. In the post-Covid phase these values must include much more choice and flexibility for individuals to navigate their career and to decide how they want to work. They also need to include much more care and support for employees. Studies show that employees now value transparency, trust, meaning and flexibility.
The organization needs to redefine its actual purpose and its added value authentically and for real.
This renewed organizational DNA of values and purpose needs its change agents and heroes. They need to be selected carefully from those who already live this kind of values and purpose and want to bring about change. Those change agents need to be connected. They need to get projects that are cross-organizational and provide access to all employees, with round tables and impactful conversations.
All managers need to become coaches and mentors to their people in order to drive leadership conversations regarding the DNA of the organization. They need to be trained to support people with difficulties, appreciate them and reconnect them to the organization. This is not management work but leadership work. It might seem a long and arduous process. However, if it is real and with the right intention, people will pick it up quickly and join it.
We are doing this now all over the world. Would you like to join?