Three in five employees think pandemic had positive impact on company culture, research finds

But employers urged to keep listening to staff as survey highlights that workers value managers who communicate

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Three in five (62 per cent) employees think the pandemic had a positive impact on company culture, research by Qualtrics has found.

The survey of 1,170 employees in the UK, carried out in April this year, also found almost three in five (59 per cent) said receiving increased communication from their company in the wake of the pandemic had been important to culture.

Those who experienced positive changes to company culture in the last two years said this was a result of an increase in open and honest communication from the business and feeling heard by the organisation.

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The findings come as a result of changes to communication strategies during the pandemic, when companies could not get employees together to share information and had to move communications over to digital and virtual channels.

The survey demonstrated that increased communication as a result, alongside the empathy shown by employers and managers, resonated well with employees.

In fact, three in five surveyed workers said having managers who are effective listeners was important, while slightly fewer (56 per cent) said managers who care for them personally was important. 

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However, while responses relating to company culture were positive, further findings from the survey highlighted that there was still work to be done: just one in five (19 per cent) of the employees surveyed said they had gained a better work-life balance in the last two years, while 17 per cent felt there was no more concern for employee wellbeing than pre-pandemic.

The top concerns for those employees surveyed were division among colleagues (11 per cent) and low employee morale (19 per cent). With this in mind, the survey report suggested leaders explore how to keep employees engaged, for example with flexible work options or by trialling others, and it said the key was to open discussion with employees and act on feedback.

More positively, almost three in five (58 per cent) employees said work gave them a feeling of accomplishment.

Commenting on the findings, Phil Pringle, employee experience strategist at Qualtrics, said improved communication had been key for improving culture at many companies, but added that leaders must continue to listen. “The mission for leaders now is to have the right listening in place, at the right time, and act on that information to ensure they are keeping their employees engaged,” he said.

Liz Sebag-Montefiore, career coach and director of HR consultancy 10Eighty, said employers should listen to employees’ ideas, and empower them to take ownership of their roles. “A culture that values independence, accountability, autonomy and creativity makes a big difference,” she said. 

“Employees want trust, and a culture that reflects continued flexible working arrangements is best.”