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With 2020 behind us but the uncertainty of the pandemic still looming ahead of us, it’s hard to know where the world of work is headed. Many teams are still operating as a distributed workforce, reeling from the disruption of adjusting to remote work, and don’t know when (or even if) things will return to “normal.” Some of the practices we adopted in response to the pandemic will continue to evolve, and some of them are here to stay. 

While we’re collectively facing these enormous questions, the Culture Amp community is working to help teams as we all continue to find our footing and pave the way for the future employee experience. We’ve spoken with people leaders across industries to learn how they’re thinking about the future of work. 

DEI is a must-have

Tara Turk-Haynes is the Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Talent Management at Leaf Group, the parent company to lifestyle brands such as Society6 and Livestrong. According to Turk-Haynes, we need to invest much more into diversity, equity, and inclusion  throughout the entire employee journey. If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that the status quo isn’t going to cut it anymore. 

She explains, “talent management and D&I starts with the first interaction. We want to create an environment where individuals can prosper within our company, no matter their background. Talent acquisition and D&I extends throughout the employee lifecycle, so we’re training our people to be more cognizant at every stage.”

Most importantly, companies need to follow through on commitments they make around diversity and inclusion. It’s impossible to see change if there is no action behind the promises. She says, “I often think about this quote from James Baldwin that says ‘I can’t believe what you say because I see what you do.’ Many people and organizations took to social media to share their views on racial injustice, but there needs to be action behind that.”

Break the mold

Marrick McDonald, President of the 700 member Toronto chapter of the Associated Students Supply Chain Management, says that he is focusing on how to do things differently. In his search for opportunities to improve the organization’s employee experience, he focuses on the small rather than the big. 

McDonald shares, “We’re all looking for stability in these unstable times. When I talk to my leaders and the facilities that I manage, I don’t focus on large problems. Instead of looking at it as a mountain, I try to see a million small stones instead. And that’s what we have in front of us looking into the next year. I’m focused on building stability, and that starts with the individual.” 

McDonald also believes that when a leader is willing to admit what they don’t know, it can build trust and resilience among your team. That will encourage them to be honest about their own uncertainties and allow you to face tough challenges together. He says, “Regardless of title or position, we need to forget hierarchy and just be honest. If you try to play the same old game, then you’ll get the same results. I always tell my team that’s not going to get us through 2021.”

For more tips download our ebook

Preparing the workplace for 2021: 5 tips from people leaders


Just hang in there

Shannon Ferguson, Head of People at Blueboard and a trained social worker, understands the importance of a safe work environment for employees to navigate these uncertain times. 

“My background in social work influences how I do HR. As we look into 2021, it’s going to be a bit more of the same for a while. We still face a lot of the same challenges, and there’s a level of uncertainty that we have to acknowledge. Everything going on in the world is influencing and impacting employees, so resilience is critical as we enter the new year.”

Ferguson acknowledges that while it’s been difficult, this uncertainty has allowed many of us to explore what motivates, inspires, and engages us. “This year, we’ll be asking a lot of bigger questions about who we are and what matters to us, and then looking at how to incorporate that into the new world order.”

Let Culture Amp help you prepare

This is just the beginning. We know that your company and teams are continuing to evolve, adapt, and grow as we all adjust to the new world of work. Culture Amp has resources to help you work through it. For more tips from thought leaders, download our comprehensive guide to preparing the workplace for 2021.

For more tips download our ebook

Preparing the workplace for 2021: 5 tips from people leaders


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