4 Leaders Share Tips for Confronting the Workplace Culture Crisis

The pandemic has dramatically affected corporate culture. From a completely work-from-home workforce, to Zoom fatigue, to no informal conversations in the break room, everything has changed. How will leaders maintain culture as the pandemic turbulence subsides and the future brings more dramatic change?

Culturati, a community of C-suite and executive leaders, recently conducted its annual survey of top business leaders to uncover the most burning issues facing them today. We learned they are most concerned about three primary issues:

  • Mental health & well-being of their people.

  • The need to empower managers (especially frontline & middle management), and

  • How to achieve a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.

So how can we help business leaders as they grapple with these issues? I talked to 4 leaders who are speaking at the upcoming Culturati Summit, April 6-8, 2021 to get their recommendations. Here are their tips:

Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global, the founder of The Huffington Post, and the author of 15 books: Too many leaders still buy into the misguided notion that urgent or chaotic times require them to be in constant motion and always on, or that they somehow have to match the frenetic pace of the moment. In fact, the opposite is true. The best way to lead a company forward is by also looking inward. Because it is judgment that we need from leaders in moments of crisis, not just stamina. And only by looking inward can leaders tap into the innovative and creative ideas that the times demand.

Tristan Walker, Founder & CEO of Walker & Company Brands; Board member at: Foot Locker, Inc., Shake Shack, Inc., and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta: This past year has brought a lot of awareness and (hopefully) changes around diversity, equity and inclusion. For example, the pandemic has forced people to expand their capacity for empathy. You know the motto “the customer is always right?” Now it’s “the employee is always right.” There’s a pull of action on leadership now to see that employees are people first. And as people we have demands. It’s important that leaders listen.

Shellye Archambeau, Fortune 500 board member (Verizon, Nordstrom, Roper Technologies, Okta), Former CEO of MetricStream, Advisor and Author: Success begins with figuring out what you want, then making the choices that will get you there. I use that word a lot: choices. I see the challenges my ancestors faced. I also see their strength—the work ethic, pride, faith, and ambition that propelled them forward. That’s in my DNA. As for you? No matter where you are starting, no matter where you or your family have been, you too have the strength to propel yourself forward.

Mark McClain, CEO and founder of SailPoint and author of Joy and Success at Work: Your company values must extend beyond the words on the website and posters on the wall. The beliefs and behaviors that exist in your organization are what breathes life into your culture. Be sure that your values and the reality of the day-to-day working environment stay in alignment.

For more discussion and perspective around these critical issues, leaders can join the conversation at the Culturati Summit, the virtual event on corporate culture for people leaders and their teams, April 6-8, 2021.