The Corona Effect: Companies with Strong Cultures are Winning

Jennifer Prosek  Follow

The coronavirus crisis is once again putting the spotlight on the importance of a strong corporate culture. Like never before, companies have had to delicately balance their commercial interests with the physical and psychological needs of their employees. From what I’ve seen so far, firms with strong cultures are already winning. Malcolm Gladwell says first impressions are made in 15 seconds. Firms with great cultures have already made their impression – on employees, customers, investors and other stakeholders – about how they behave in difficult times.

Their employees are coming together to support one another and are working hard and creatively for clients and customers, and for the success of their business. Their leaders are receiving high marks for how they are managing and communicating under pressure.  Transparency is building trust and credibility. 

What will be the long-term impact of the coronavirus crisis on firms with strong cultures?  I believe there will be long-lasting positive effects:

  • Current employees will stay with these firms longer. They will respect their colleagues and employers in new ways and will feel a greater sense of mission.
  • Recent and prospective hires will have new criteria to assess employers and will seek out firms that handled the crisis well.
  • Virtual work will have been tested and accepted much more broadly. Companies will save money on meetings, conferences and air travel, which will also contribute to their ESG progress.
  • Employee communities will have a stronger bond from getting through the crisis together. They will know more about one another - their kids, their struggles, their resourcefulness, their hobbies, their humanity.  Great cultures will celebrate this.
  • The bottom line will benefit. It’s been proven that motivated, happy employees are more productive and effective. After proving themselves under stress, those employees will be even more confident and resilient.

Right now, companies are being tested every hour of every day. I believe that those that have worked hard to create differentiated, strong cultures have already set themselves apart and will continue to help themselves – and their clients and customers – win.

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