Workplace Culture

We consistently face new opportunities and challenges in the professional world. The relationship between employer and employee is a significant influencer on workplace culture

“Shopify, like any other for-profit company, is not a family,” wrote Tobis Lütke, the CEO. “The very idea is preposterous. You are born into a family. You never choose it, and they can’t un-family you. It should be massively obvious that Shopify is not a family but I see people, even leaders, causally use terms like ‘Shopifam’ which will cause the members of our teams (especially junior ones that have never worked anywhere else) to get the wrong impression. The dangers of ‘family thinking’ are that it becomes incredibly hard to let poor performers go. Shopify is a team, not a family,” he added.

Business Insider recently ran a story, based on information from previous and current employees of Shopify, that the company had hit cultural stumbling blocks that had been the cause of significant tension between leadership and employees at the organisation. How employers approach business and team culture in a hybrid working environment could be a significant driver in recruitment strategy. Forbes recently reported that Prudential’s ‘Pulse of the American Worker’ survey returned results that 1 in 4 of the workforce intend to look for new employment post pandemic. Where career advancement is still top of the agenda, employee benefits and company culture are of primary importance. 

Employers must look to redefine their role with their employees. A situationally created sense of ‘family’ for some in recent months as roles changed rapidly means individuals created bonds that were not usual in a professional environment. Others we confronted with an entirely opposing experience and employers will need to look to repair professional bonds in order to retain talent. Defining new professional roles has left both employers and employees alike in a push and pull where each is pursuing different needs, having experienced different working practices. 

Talent supply is a key concern and growing in importance. Recent changes to working practices have exacerbated the growing digital, skills and educational divides around the globe, putting further strain on talent supply considerations and trends. Employers will need to develop strategies for nurturing new talent and how to provide access to established talent to help develop skills and dispense continuing learning. How an employer chooses to embed that culture within teams will define its ability to attract talent. Demand for skilled workers is growing and finding talent with the correct mix of technical skills and human capabilities is proving challenging. Retaining that talent relies on the culture of the business and how that is measured and delivered against competitors. 

As we look to the future, Government policymaking also remains of key importance to define company culture. Policy and regulation affecting workforce safety and protection as well as policy working towards social change will affect employer’s cultural impact. How different jurisdictions approach borderless working also remains to be seen as working across different geographies, while supporting talent growth, can have a significant impact on company culture. 2021 and beyond is an opportunity to redefine our working culture, but what the employer’s role might be is, for now, less well defined.

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