How to nurture a recession-proof organisational culture

How to overcome a crisis is a million-dollar question. But as answers also exist, we should focus on them and I'm ready to tell you about one that can be quite powerful.

Ready to learn how a resilient organisation culture can prepare your company to succeed through adversities? Tag along!

You should already know that culture matters

Since you’re here, you probably already know why a strong culture is important. Nevertheless, I’m going to point out a few reasons why:

  • Improve recruitment efforts, helping your company find and hire good professionals that are the right fit;
  • Make the onboarding process easier, allowing newcomers to adjust faster and produce better;
  • Decreases turnover, as it contributes to making professionals happier and more engaged in their work;
  • Enhances productivity, once workers that identify with their company culture tend to feel more compelled to do their best for great results;
  • Builds up a strong brand identity and employer branding, once the organisation finds ways to communicate and reinforce who they are.

Culture works in times of abundance, but does it work in times of cost cutting?

All this seems beautiful in theory and perfect for times of peace when everything ― if possible ― is going quite alright in business. But what happens when instability comes and no one feels like worrying about culture because they have a crisis to deal with? Does a sharpen culture narrative still work? The answer is yes.

Let’s bring that philosophical talk back for a bit. Have you ever noticed that knowing who you make it easier to decide what is the right choice to make in a challenging situation?

Self-knowledge works like a compass even when life turns into chaos. The same happens to companies with a resilient culture because they can guide their decisions based on their values and goals. And that is not all.

When immersed in a crisis, a company needs to be able to rely on its people. And do you know which people are more likely to stay by and give their best to see the company overcome a crisis? The ones that identify with the organisation, its values, and goals.

This identification comes from getting to know “who” the company is. When the bad times come, the most dedicated, productive and loyal people are the ones that, in the good times, felt they belonged. And organisational culture is responsible for that.

There is an intrinsic link between culture and employee engagement. And you do need a engaged work force to overcome a crisis.

According to Gallup’s 2022 Exceptional Workplace Award, companies that had 70% of employee engagement even during disruptive times used their organisational culture to guide the everyday journey and to guide business decisions.

You’d want that when facing any kind of adversity, right? So use culture to engage and prevail.

So, how to create a culture that will help your company prevail in a recession?

Now you know that organisational culture can work amongst the chaos and why to develop a resilient one. The question I’m going to answer now is how to do that by sharing with you five important tips:

1- Prioritise brand-culture alignment

Brand and culture need to be on the same page, and work by the same terms. This alignment combines how your company is perceived by customers and other external players with the culture that drives the internal public daily actions.

This is a must when building a resilient organisational culture because it helps to increase the company’s perceived value and helps decision-makers and leaders to achieve clarity to work under pressure whenever a crisis is installed.

When this alignment exists, you will know what to prioritise. The understanding of “who” the company is already guided your people’s everyday actions, and will do the same during a recession.

2- Make sure transparency is part of your organisational culture

Transparency is something that works in favour of honest, strong and long-lasting relationships. Being able to count on your workforce when a crisis arrives, depends on the way the relationship between them and the company is built.

The same transparency needs to be there when facing a big problem: your people need to know what is going on, what the predictions are and what the company might deal with.

This will allow every employee to know what kind of challenge they’ll be helping the company overcome. When you know what to expect, even in uncertain times, you get less stressed and focus more on doing your job the best way you can.

3- Set mental health as a priority

By the way, if you want your workforce to be able to deliver their best during a crisis, understand that a resilient organisation culture needs to consider the importance of emotional intelligence.

Take care of your people’s well-being. Always. Healthier people ― physically and emotionally ― can deal better with the stress and all the dedication a recession or any other kind of challenge requires.

4- Consider that learning and development make a high-performance culture

A resilient culture that allows a company to survive and grow is a high-performance culture. Delivering high levels of performance is only possible with good workflow and well-established processes, and well-prepared people.

This means your HR should invest in learning and development programs, considering how each individual and each team can evolve to become more decisive to the company’s success.

Waiting until the crisis comes only then trying to fill gaps will do nothing but make the crisis come harder and take longer to leave ― at most.

5- Develop customer intimacy

Last but not least, a resilient culture should be one that also cultivates customer intimacy. The proximity tends to make customers remain loyal even during a recession period.

Once again, relationships are not built over one night. So the company’s culture has to enforce that everyone’s actions need to focus on understanding the client’s needs, following their journeys and learning how to serve them well. Remember: the way costumes perceive your company impacts your brand. And brand and culture must be aligned.

Before you click on that “X”…

Is it more clear how a resilient organisational culture can help your company prevail in a recession or any other kind of crisis?

The pandemic brought this understanding to many HR leaders that now know a company should stop investing in its culture during hard times.

And the best way to make decision-makers support this is by building a strong culture to face other crises like the Great Resignation, relentless inflation hikes, and a cost-of-living crisis

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