Workplace culture eroding amid pandemic, report says

Workplace culture eroding amid pandemic, report says

Dive Brief:

  • Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, key issues in workplace culture, such as understood norms of behavior, are being impacted, according to Emtrain. The HR compliance training and data analytics company released a report July 15 which noted changes in employee sentiments over just a few months, including an 11% drop in rating the workplace culture as “healthy” in the area of preventing workplace harassment.
  • The report compared the survey responses of more than 100,000 employees obtained before March 15 to data from surveys administered after March 15 of more than 20,000 employees, according to Emtrain. Since the shift to remote work, the report found a 10% decrease in employees saying “there are well-understood norms of behavior governing how people treat each other in their workplace.” One positive change, however, was an 8% increase in employees seeing their coworkers exhibit social awareness.
  • “Well-understood norms of behavior” is an indicator of overall workplace health, Emtrain founder and CEO Janine Yancey said in a statement.  “To see that drop is a red flag.” The report also noted a 7% increase in employees saying they feel a need to minimize their heritage or identity at work. This metric is an indicator of inclusion, according to a previous Emtrain report. 

Dive Insight:

By mid-March, many companies pivoted to telework and states began issuing shelter-in-place orders. Communication and transparency from leadership matter even more during the pandemic, according to experts.

“Transparency for building trust is so important right now,” Jeanne Schad, talent solutions and strategy practice leader at Randstad RiseSmart, said in a recent webinar. “Trust is how we’re going to get work done quickly. When we need people to be productive right now, it’s so important to build their trust.”

Highlighting company values remains an important part of transparency, according to Schad. Trust is also developed when employers show compassion or empathy, Francesca Campalani, Randstad Enterprise Group vice president of global talent marketing, said.

On LinkedIn, engagement with pandemic-related posts from companies was higher than the engagement for an average company post, according to a LinkedIn report published April 21. Posts using words such as “health” and “support” tended to have the highest engagement. “In short, it looks like messages that put people first perform best,” the report said.

Meanwhile, a June 22 report by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) found that a sense of belonging for all employees is crucial amid the pandemic and nationwide calls for racial and social justice. Employees who feel they can be their authentic selves are more likely to be engaged, according to CTI’s report. 


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