How to create a dynamic employee culture post-COVID?

How to create a dynamic employee culture post-COVID?

Jordan Rodney, President MaxPeople, Founder, Rodney Employment Law and Julie Ruden Rodney, Founder and CEO, MaxPeople, recently chatted with CanadianSME about the new hybrid work culture in this post-pandemic era. They also talked about the ways of creating a dynamic work environment for employees. 

Jordan Rodney, President, MaxPeople, Founder, Rodney Employment Law

Jordan Rodney is the President of MaxPeople and Founder of Rodney Employment Law. A lawyer who brings a unique HR perspective to every issue and case he takes on, Jordan’s true passion has, and always will be helping people. A risk-taker at heart, he left the corporate world nearly 11 years ago to team up with his wife to provide in-house employment law services as part of the MaxPeople service offering. His combined passion for HR and law gives him a unique perspective and he is grateful for the opportunity to continue sharing that with everyone that works with the Rodney Employment Law and MaxPeople teams.

Julie Ruben Rodney, Founder & CEO, MaxPeople

Julie Ruben Rodney M.Ed., CHRL is the Founder and CEO of MaxPeople, a consulting firm specializing in HR Services, Training, and Employment Law. A proud Maritimer to the core, Julie truly values people and relationships which led to her start in organizational behavior early in her career. She has always been a trailblazer and her company inception, and its structure is no exception. Julie’s passion for HR is apparent from the first time you meet her. She lives and breathes her company’s purpose of helping people be focused, happier, and more productive and is grateful for the opportunity to assist other organizations to achieve the same.

Many employers have made the decision to continue to monitor trends with returning to the workplace and allow employees to adopt a hybrid solution for a physical return to work. What the new workplace might look like & the best practices being implemented? (Julie)

A hybrid environment that combines in-office and work from home time will likely be the new normal for many organizations. What exactly that entails for each company really should be carefully considered and customized for best results.

The key to success is ensuring that you really know your people and do what it takes to keep them focused, happier, and more productive, at work and in life. That is MaxPeople’s core purpose because we know first-hand that if you build your culture on these tenets, you’ll set yourself up for growth and success.

Key things to keep in mind when implementing a hybrid model:

  • Listen first and really get to know your team
  • Make sure in-person time is very purposeful
  • Be clear on what is mandatory vs. voluntary for in-person meetings and events
  • Update policy documents on a regular basis to clearly reflect your new workplace realities
  • Be transparent and ensure policy changes are communicated to all staff proactively

How to create a dynamic employee culture post-COVID? (Jordan)

What we noticed is that companies with strong employee cultures pre-COVID were better able to pivot quickly when the pandemic hit. Whether your organization fits that description or you’re working toward it, now is the perfect time to focus on doing the work to build or enhance your workplace culture.

As a company we live by the advice we share with our clients and therefore were able to act quickly during COVID and ensure we not only maintained but strengthened the MaxPeople culture.

Some suggestions to help build the foundation within your organization:

  • Define or update your Value and Purpose Statements and communicate them to all staff
  • Focus on employee engagement – having employees fill out an engagement survey can be a good first step along with focus groups and quarterly pulse checks
  • Take the time to evaluate whether your communication and collaboration processes and tools are still working for your team and adjust as required

Identifying solutions to meet employer needs recognizing that one size does not fit all? (Julie)

The first step in ensuring that you are taking a customized approach is to empower your frontline managers to have one-on-one conversations with all of their employees. This will help you gather a pulse on what your people are looking for and how you can better meet their individual needs. It’s also important that those direct managers are properly trained to lead those conversations and help implement changes so investing in their growth and development is critical as well.

From there it is up to you and your company leaders to actively listen to your employees and make meaningful changes in order to best set them up for success – which will ultimately lead to strong talent attraction, retention, organizational growth, and overall success.

How to approach new legal realities including and not limited to vaccination policies, occupational health and safety, and employment standards for employees? (Jordan)

This has been a very uncertain time in the legal realm as we are facing truly unprecedented situations and challenges. This will continue for many years as new cases are heard and decisions are handed down by the courts and/or arbitrators.

In the meantime, our focus has been to work with our clients to ensure they have the proper legal agreements and policies in place to mitigate risk. We cannot stress enough the importance of being proactive when it comes to these documents as they can help you avoid costly and time-consuming legal battles down the road.

Having updated policies (e.g., working remotely, vaccinations, health, and safety, pandemic policy, IT use, etc.) related to the pandemic has been invaluable to both employees and employers. For employees, it provides them with peace of mind and confirms their rights. For employers, it sets out expectations to staff in the new workplace environment.

What is your key advice to employers? (Julie) + (Jordan)

Throughout the pandemic, we have been incredibly fortunate to retain our client base and maintain high engagement levels despite the loss of in-person time. We owe that to the passion and commitment of our team. We realized very early that as leaders, we had to continue to be agile to support them as their needs changed with the evolving situation. It will be important for employers to retain this mindset in the coming year and beyond.

Some other key takeaways for leaders:

  • Invest in your managers as they are key to engagement and retention across your organization
  • Take the time to get to know your employees and make sure they feel valued – high performers are more likely than ever to be approached by competitors or recruiters
  • Pay close attention to mental health in the workplace – it’s more important than ever to ensure support is available for those who may be struggling
  • Be comfortable being uncomfortable as this is our new reality
  • Don’t be afraid to invest in external expert advice and support
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