‘Primed for a Revolution’:
CEOs talk culture, comms
in times of crisis

A one-two punch of crises–COVID-19 and mass protests for racial justice–has created an urgent need among companies to adjust to new culture realities and communicate their changes to employees, especially those most affected by the upheaval, CEOs gathered for a virtual panel on June 3 agreed.

“I think this space we’re in now is primed for a revolution,” said CultureIQ CEO Tony Jaros. “What we do is not only critical, and companies understand that, but they also understand the level of change and speed of change they have to deal with. What culture is going to mean for organizations is going to change dramatically: this is more important than it has ever been.”

CEOs (clockwise, from top left): Jaros, Brown, Kitani and moderator Livadariu
Panelists (clockwise, from top left): Jaros, Brown, moderator Livadariu and Kitani

Jaros was joined by two employee-communications firm CEOs: Eric Brown, of Dynamic Signal,  and Keith Kitani, of GuideSpark. The panel was hosted by Andy Livadariu, Managing Director at financial services firm Oppenheimer.

Front-line workers in the dark

Both Brown and Kitani stressed the importance of using communications to drive connectedness in a business world that is “apart together” – especially among front-line workers who often don’t have the ability or time to teleconference.  “Half the workers in the world are not in their homes. They are in grocery stores, in factories, quartering chickens … driving Amazon trucks,” Brown said. “If you’re really going to be apart together you have to reach out and connect with everybody.”

Those sentiments echo findings in CultureIQ’s 2020 Global Workplace Culture Survey report, which Jaros said found “a significant gap–a 19 percentage point gap” in employees feeling safe to challenge the status quo, between the less educated workforce more likely to be on the front lines and their more educated counterparts.

The need to be nimble

Such changes in perceptions may be missed in annual surveys that many organizations have relied on in the past, according to Jaros, who said these crises have given companies a desire to be more focused in their data gathering. “Culture has to be done with purpose. We’re starting to see organizations wanting to be more nimble, more purposeful, more nuanced with how they are going to study data – if you’re looking at indexes in homogenous way, it obscures specific problems of your business that may be apparent in certain populations but not others.”

For a whole lot more on how organizations can master culture and communications during tumultuous times, view the virtual discussion in its entirety. (password: 0w@QR!3H)

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