Resilience and Inclusive Culture: O.C. Tanner Releases 2021 Global Culture Report


 O.C. Tanner has announced the release of its 2021 Global Culture Report which revealed that 87% of employees think their organization’s recognition program is stale and outdated, while only 44% feel that their organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts feel sincere. Even fewer (34%) feel they are effective.

What has kept companies afloat during this time of crisis? The employees who have given their best in work remotely despite no prior experience and remaining productive. It is this culture of the workers wanting to keep their companies operational despite the challenges, which has become the competitive advantage for organizations.

Outdated recognition and superficial diversity interventions are leading to more issues and challenges, than creating an advantage. There’s chance that with the steps companies are taking, efforts are being negated. With no proper plan to create recognition from a future perspective and inclusion programs that are not linked to culture, there is a high likelihood that companies can face a serious retention challenge.

Going Beyond Lip Service

As per the report, 35% shared that their organization is not doing enough to address discrimination internally and that millennials are most likely (53%) to project a sense of superiority. They also acknowledge that they have difficulty relating to co-workers of other generations (37%) and believe stereotypes of other generations are accurate (47%).

Gary Beckstrand, Vice President at the O.C. Tanner Institute said,  “Organizations with thriving cultures have weathered the storm far better than others, but there’s an impetus right now for organizations everywhere to stay agile as the current era of uncertainty continues. The 2021 Global Culture Report provides insights that will inform organizations as they make the necessary adjustments to successfully move forward as they create or maintain a great place to work for employees.”

Two major issues are emerging – the recognition programs that need upgradation, and the diversity programs that are not meeting the requirements of a multi-generational workforce. What companies do now to address it is going to determine their future as employers of choice and those that attract the best talent.

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The Way Forward

What are the steps that can create a more robust culture that addresses these two concerns?

Future-focused recognition

The pandemic has exposed the need for a comprehensive recognition program that does not just reward outdated concepts like years in service, physical presence in office, or direct performance goals that are number-based. There is a need to recognize potential, intangible goals like demonstration of inclusive behavior and actions that go beyond the regular numeric revenue-based goals. This has been the most stressful time for employees during their careers. The anxiety for their health along with the fear of job loss has made it tough for them. These are the areas that need to be addressed and the efforts that employees make towards supporting their colleagues during this time is what needs to be recognized. It might be time to also look at peer-to-peer recognition becoming more important. Finding heroes who have been working remotely not only to make the business remain operational but also handling the disruption in a better way, should also be covered through new programs. Also, as remote workers are becoming a bigger chunk of the workforce than they were before, new policies that also emphasize on potential and performance than physical presence are more appropriate.

Multi-Generational workforce

The motivators for performance, are different for every generation. Not only that, the respect or conversely, friction that exists between employees of different generations can make the business grow or decline. That is the extent of its impact. If millennials feel superior and bring that view to their workplace, there is going to be a huge issue for organizations to manage. The leadership might be younger today than it was some years ago, but the value added by the other generations which are older cannot be negated. Programs need to be able to work on the similarities between them and use those for better business performance.

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With these two areas affecting the workforce companies have a serious situation to deal with as they prepare for the post-pandemic world.

O.C. Tanner’s 2021 Global Culture ReportOpens a new window is in its third year now, for which data was gathered from over 40,000 employees and leaders across 20 countries around the world.