7 Ways to maintain ‘high performance organisational culture’ even during a pandemic

Organisational culture has been a buzz-term for several years now. Not only is it a big differentiator, but it’s also the best way to retain and attract talent. Having a culture that attracts top talent can lead to 33% higher revenue, among other benefits.

Culture is the common set of behaviours and underlying beliefs that guide how  teams work and interact daily and strong culture is what separates high-performance organisations from the rest. 

And with the current pandemic creating so much disruption across the world, strong culture could be the thing that keeps your people productive and your business alive.

What is a high-performance culture?

In a high-performance culture the emphasis is on how and why things are done, not just what is done. And here, from McKinsey, are four reasons why culture matters:

  • Company culture correlates with performance. Research from McKinsey’s Organizational Health Profile has shown that companies rating in the top quartile for culture deliver 60% higher returns to shareholders than median companies and 200% higher than companies in the bottom quartile.


  • Culture is inherently challenging to copy. A healthy culture is the ultimate competitive advantage, because it’s uniquely yours.


  • Healthy cultures enable organisations to adapt. Organisations with high-performance cultures thrive on change (which is highly relevant for surviving a pandemic).


  • Unhealthy cultures lead to underperformance. Weak culture can destroy an organisation.

A strong culture leads to engaged employees. And engaged employees show up every day with passion, purpose, presence and energy. The outcome is strong business performance.

Culture interrupted

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and management sent employees to work from home, everything changed. Organisations across the board saw tremendous and swift effects on workplace culture and performance. 

For the most part, technology saved the day by allowing employees to keep up their productivity levels while at home. However, this technology came with a new way of working, resulting in a new culture of working.

7 ways to maintain a healthy high-performance culture

Building a high-performance culture in any organisation takes time, effort and commitment. Which is why, once you get there, it’s so important to maintain the spirit under any circumstances.

Here are 7 ways you can keep your organisational culture healthy and thriving.

1. Develop an effective communication strategy 

Culture is more effective when companies discuss it openly. While employees are working remotely, it’s even more important to communicate daily. With people isolated at home, it’s easy to forget about the key values of the organisation

Remind people how things get done in your company and reinforce your expectation that  those values and standards will be carried over to a remote work environment. Clarity on culture and expectations is more crucial now than ever.

2. Create online community forums 

Previously, work culture was significantly reliant on place  and having everyone physically present in the office made it easier to build a high-performing team. But, with physical interactions curtailed at this point, it’s up to managers to find other ways to foster a productive community. 

Many organisations have established online community forums, while training staff in how best to structure and communicate new ideas. Employees need to have a place where they can bounce ideas off of each other and still feel connected to their coworkers and leaders. An online forum provides that. 

3. Nurture your people and their skills 

The most effective company cultures share two major characteristics: people are valued and career growth is supported.  Don’t let the lockdown and changes to business structure stop that. Keep nurturing your staff through educational programs, workshops, self-development courses and upskilling opportunities. 

4. Reward and recognise employees

Reward and recognition programs are vital mechanisms that HR can use to motivate employees to act in line with the organisation’s culture and values. During a time when it’s easy for employees to feel underappreciated without the usual face-to-face acknowledgement, reward programs are essential to lift morale.

5. Maintain mentorship programs

About 70% of Fortune 500 companies have a mentorship program (while only a quarter of smaller companies do).

A mentorship program works by making employees feel like they are doing meaningful work that’s directly connected to their own personal and professional development. This, then, provides the support and encouragement they need to reach their full potential.

6. Hire and promote people who are resilient and adaptable 

You need employees who  can comfortably navigate the complex uncertainties presented by the pandemic. Employees on high-performing teams “show up with both curiosity and perspective, embrace novelty, leverage differences and keep their heads even when the world is turned upside down.”

These are the employees that will create positive change in your organisation. Promote them and hire people who share the same qualities.  

7. Stay true to your culture and values throughout the pandemic 

It’s important to constantly reiterate your company values, particularly during this unsettling time. It’s also essential to consider how your company values translate to the circumstances at hand and how to exercise them effectively. While certain aspects of how things are done will change, the core values behind them shouldn’t.

A high-performance culture will see you through the pandemic

A strong cultural foundation will go a long way to keeping your people productive and performing to high standards through this period of extreme disruption. 

And now, more than ever, is the time to demonstrate your appreciation for their efforts and contributions with sincere recognition and meaningful rewards. 

Do you need help with that? Get in touch and let’s talk about your requirements and the best solutions. 

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