Developing good governance practices can help you shift your culture into the new way of working.
Building a workplace culture that motivates people to produce their best work and supports open communication and transparency – as well as providing your workforce with stability – requires diligence and deftness to achieve in the best of times.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many organisations have had to rapidly rethink their strategies to build a great culture that worked outside of the office, and in peoples’ homes.
Now, as Australian states emerge from the peak of COVID-19 organisations should be looking to the future of workplace arrangements for their teams. How much flexibility should you offer? How do you manage a staggered return to the office? How should you respond if we return to lockdown?
The answers to these questions should be grounded in your organisation’s culture and governance.
Based on responses to the Governance Institute of Australia COVID 19 Member Impact Survey, we have taken three of the most pressing challenges for organisational culture and offered HR professionals some tips for tackling them.
- WFH vs working in the office
The pandemic forced organisations to fast-track working from home arrangements. Adaptability and resilience was demanded across business – from boards and management teams to employees. But, ultimately, a culture that embraces flexibility around work location is here to stay. Every organisation should have a plan that sets out what this might look like for its teams.
The plan should be developed in collaboration between HR, team leaders and employees. It should address areas such as technological support, learning and development, team engagement, risk management and employee performance.
The development should be in line with your organisation’s strategic plan and endorsed and modelled at a senior level.
- Transparency and open communication
COVID-19 has highlighted just how important transparency is. Employees want open communication about how the business is performing, such as its success and challenges and the future outlook. A culture of transparency is often a sign of both good governance and great culture.
Transparency and communication can elevate the positivity your employees feel towards the workplace and their work. Having a regular schedule and varied strategies for sharing corporate information such as formal, informal, face-to-face or online – enables this transparency culture.
Accessibility of management and colleagues is also critical. Ensure that there are ways your people can access the human support they need, in a way that encourages open and honest discussion.
- Mental health and wellbeing
Peoples’ mental health and wellbeing has been severely impacted due to the stay at home restrictions and home quarantine. A recent Australian Bureau of Statistics ‘Household Impacts of COVID-19’ survey asked Australians about feelings that impact their emotional and mental wellbeing.
This survey found that almost half of respondents (46 per cent) felt nervous at least some of the time, 41 per cent felt restless at least some of the time and another 41 per cent felt everything was an effort at least some of the time.
With the office now a part of the home, the separation between work and home life has become blurred.
By developing strategies that support employees to optimise their health and wellbeing, you are mitigating risks. Some of the examples our Member Impact Survey included organisations reimbursing staff for gym memberships and fitness apps; daily video conferences that act as welfare checks and foster sharing/collaboration; and implementing wellness programs for staff working from home. Initiatives such as these are a great investment in a healthy workforce and reflect positively on how employees perceive their employers.
Good governance is at the heart of good culture. The Governance Institute of Australia’s short courses provides the foundations of good governance and emphasises the importance of creating a strong culture. You’ll be taught by industry-leading practitioners and you can complete a six-course certificate or individual courses to top-up your essential skills.
Are you involved in a not-for-profit? Governance Institute of Australia has released an exclusive NFP Certificate discount. Pay for three short courses before 31 October and get the fourth free – save up to $595. Find out more here.