This blog is written with insights from Robert Murray. Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC-based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, International Keynote Speaker, and TEC Canada Chair.  

What is the “New Normal”

For a few months now, big parts of the world have been ‘locked’ down, with employees working remotely. We are slowly ‘re-opening’ for business, but… what does the new normal look like in the workplace? The answer is ‘no one knows.’ It is as much an HR issue as it is a health and safety, financial, customer service – and even a philosophical issue. This is why you need a strategy for dealing with all of the uncertainties.

What is the Right Strategy

The answer is to focus on your culture strategy. Team members are going to come back to the workplace in a state of anxiety and uncertainty. They have just had three months of social and mainstream media bombardment of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. In terms of “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” theory, your employees will have moved down in the triangle a number of steps – maybe even to the bottom – where safety and physiological needs are their focus.

Keeping this in mind, your strategy needs to be incredibly focused on:

  1. Patience. Your people will have new behaviors that are driven by fear.
  2. Values and Principles. Your employees need to understand what they are in order to guide their behavior in the organization.
  3. Purpose. Employees need to understand why you are in business (beyond making a profit).
  4. Direction. More than ever, employees need a clear direction of where the business is going and how you plan on getting there.
  5. Communications. Getting back to work means communications have to be regular and focused on acknowledging their anxiety, giving guidance, providing quality feedback, and recognition of team members’ efforts and achievements.

This article has been condensed from its original version