A strong company culture is key to maintaining a successful business in which employees enjoy what they do and work hard to ensure they are contributing to the company's future. Morale is being tested at companies all over the world, including here in the U.S where the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge and leave the future uncertain. Consider these five things when you think about how you can improve your own company's culture.

1. Be honest and upfront with your employees

Everyone knows that the pandemic has had a tremendous impact on businesses, with small businesses being especially vulnerable to the economic fallout of social distancing and community restrictions. There's no reason to hide the reality from your employees. Be upfront and honest about how your own business is weathering the storm. Let them know about both the positives and negatives so that they have an idea of where their own professional future stands.

If your outlook is positive, this will come as a relief to employees, who will want to work to ensure it stays that way. Many will look at this as a form of job security. If things aren't looking as good, dedicated employees will work hard to turn things around to the best of their ability. Either way, the business stands to benefit from this kind of honesty, and employees deserve to know the truth.

2. Treat your staff with respect

Honesty is one form of respect, but it goes beyond that. As a business owner, you are probably dealing with more than your fair share of stress, but chances are your employees are as well. The pandemic is impacting everyone in one way or another, and you don't necessarily know the things your employees are dealing with outside of work. Don't talk down to them or treat them as cogs in the machine. Remember to treat them like you would want to be treated, and they will appreciate it. When they see that you respect them, they will most likely return that respect and want the company to succeed.

3. Empathize with employees

Put yourself in your employees' shoes. Understand that they may have bad days like anybody else. Sometimes, this may lead to performance or productivity issues. Rather than reacting too negatively when this happens, talk to them and try to understand what is causing the problems. This is a stressful time for everyone, and especially bad days happen to all of us. Of course, if there is a recurring problem, it will need to be addressed.

4. Maintain accountability

That's where maintaining accountability comes in. You do have to hold people accountable for their responsibilities, and that includes mistakes and performance issues. Doing so is a matter of fairness and respect for your other employees who are doing their jobs well. In addition, it’s your responsibility to ensure that work is getting done properly. Be empathetic, but communicate the concerns you have and make sure issues are resolved if they are ongoing. This type of feedback and mentoring should help strengthen your team. Celebrate victories, such as a big sale or a new account, and share them together.  Develop coworker relationships with team-building events. Set up an Employee Reward Program. 

5. Be Flexible

Finally, flexibility has become an extremely important part of a positive company culture in the era of COVID-19. Things were already headed in this direction even before the pandemic. Employees were seeking employers who would allow them to work remotely and/or be flexible with work hours. When the pandemic began, some have had no choice but to work remotely for periods of time as a safety precaution, but many are also realizing that this can actually be a very efficient way to work, and it can also keep employees happy.

Good management is more important than ever now that we're in a time of crisis. It's time to make sure your company culture is as positive as you can make it…. through honesty, empathy, flexibility, respect and accountability.


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank. Nevada State Bank is a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC