Coronavirus (COVID-19), HR Management & Compliance

Evaluating Company Culture in the Era of COVID-19

2020 has been an extraordinary year for people globally. In the United States, we’re dealing with the aftermath of a divisive and historic election; there is widespread social unrest; and, of course, we’re dealing with a global pandemic that has forced millions of Americans to work from home.

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The political, social, economic, and health climate impacts all aspects of American life, including work. With so much going on, it can be difficult for business leaders to know what to expect in terms of impacts on company and office culture.

To answer this question, CHG Healthcare surveyed more than 800 U.S. workers to see how this has impacted employees’ experience at work and what companies can do to boost their culture.

Importance of Company Culture

First, let’s establish that company culture truly is important and not just some “touchy-feely” concept. The CHG survey found that, among those surveyed, 84% of women and 75% of men (79% overall) have left a job due to bad company culture.

What Constitutes Company Culture?

But, how do we define company culture while acknowledging its value and importance in the workplace? Here are some of the top factors that came to mind when survey respondents were asked to define what makes up company culture:

  • The work environment (41%)
  • How people are treated (27%)
  • Company values (15%)
  • Leadership (7%)

Company “perks”’ came in last at less than 1%.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Company Culture?

We might have expected to see a universal decline in company culture in the wake of COVID-19, but that isn’t the case, at least according to these respondents.

While 26% said company culture decreased, 54% felt it stayed the same, and 24% actually said it improved! “Of those who said culture improved, 40% attributed that to increased transparency and communication within the organization, followed by companies’ willingness to maintain benefits and salaries (15%), and better leadership support (13%),” according to CHG.

Improving Company Culture

There is a great deal of data in the CHG survey looking at respondent views on company culture, but two key factors come up again and again: leadership and communication.

The top two contributing factors to decreased company culture cited in the survey were “poor leadership and support” (31%) and “lack of transparency and communication” (24%). When asked who in the company is most responsible for the success of the corporate culture, respondents listed managers (33%) and the executive team (28%) at the top. Frontline employees and HR departments came in last at 13% and 3%, respectively.

According to this research, employees clearly care about company culture. It’s up to company leaders to ensure culture is strong to keep employees engaged and on the job.