Tag: culture

While a large number of employees in the nation returned to their offices this week, it seems many were keen to adopt different dress codes to the pre-pandemic world.

According to a poll of more than 500 job seekers carried out by Randstad in June, 28% of Brits wanted to do away with smart casual or formal office dress codes once they returned to work.

Of those, 20% were keen on ‘relaxed’ clothing, while 8% wanted dress codes thrown out completely, replacing suits and dresses with shorts and flip flops.

A separate study undertaken by Randstad in the US had similar findings, with a third (33%) of respondents saying they would turn down a job offer or quit their existing job if they were required to wear formal business clothing. Those preferring more casual attire even said they’d be willing to forgo a $5,000 (£3,600) increase in salary to work for a company with an informal dress code.

Laurel Dines, HR Operations Director at Randstad, said: “While there are proven benefits to more smart or formal office dress codes such as enhancing credibility, boosting confidence and visual uniformity, we’ve found that employees tend to associate how they dress with a certain mindset that allows them to work more productively.

“For example, some of our teams hold dress themed sales days – something we’ve found really boosts productivity, when an element of fun and a central theme is injected into the working day.”

Mixed views

However, not everyone wants to hold on to the loungewear adopted by so many since the pandemic began that John Lewis reported that it last year saw a 1,303% rise in sales of loungewear and leggings.

Of the respondents to Randstad’s UK survey, almost a quarter (24%) couldn’t wait to abandon loungewear to suit up and get back to the office, while 48% said they wanted to keep the pre-pandemic smart casual dress code.

Marcus Beaver, UKI Country Leader at business process outsourcing firm Alight Solutions, predicted last week that many workers would welcome the opportunity to dress up for work again.

“Many employees will be trading in the sweatpants, leggings and t-shirts for trousers, skirts, jackets and cufflinks, as they anticipate a return to smarter attire.

“Businesses around the country are beginning to open doors for employees to re-enter offices, and next Monday could give the Met Gala a run for its money. Retailers experienced a surge in demand for athleisure and loungewear at the start of lockdown, but some workers are now looking to dust off the smart shoes, best suits, ties and jewellery to wear again.

“A chance to reinvigorate style will be a welcome change. Forget Dress Down Friday; next week heralds Dress Up Monday.”

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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Winning the war for talent is less about money, titles and job security and more about employee experience in the post-pandemic era, according to a major study commissioned by Microsoft.

And according to the resulting six-part report entitled The Definitive Guide: Employee Experience, produced by the Josh Bersin Company, organisational culture is the top driver for creating an excellent employee experience (EX).

Researchers conducted in-depth interviews with HR and business leaders from companies such as Deutsche Telekom, IBM, Kraft Heinz, Microsoft and Unilever, taking in views from more than 950 organisations for the report.

They said EX had emerged as one of the key factors to adapting to the business and workforce challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the area having evolved from niche engineering projects to strategic, enterprise-wide initiatives.

The researchers said there were six key findings that emerged from studying organisations with superior EX. These were: a focus on trust, transparency, inclusion and care; that a supportive culture plays a big role; that innovation and sustainable growth depend on equitable rewards and building communities at work; that consistent, mission-first people investments in any business climate improve business performance; that EX excellence directly leads to business outcomes; and that HR capabilities and the right technologies are vital.

The researchers devised an EX Maturity Model to help assess where organisations currently stood in terms of their EX. Organisations were given a ranking between one and four, with the former being least impactful and the latter most impactful. Overall, 55% of the companies represented were found to be at the lower two levels of the model.

The report said that technology played a vital role in feeding into employee experience and also in determining a company’s level of maturity.

Kathi Enderes, vice president of research at the Josh Bersin Company, said: “EX is multi-faceted, complex and multi-layered. No single project or technology solution will create EX excellence. Our research delves into the many different factors and dimensions involved in EX, as well as various strategies and programmes. While technologies and services alone don’t drive great EX, they absolutely are correlated to EX maturity.”

Strong leadership vital

However, Josh Bersin, CEO and global industry analyst, added: “Without the right leadership, capabilities and behaviours, any progress in EX will be short-lived and unsustainable. It’s a choice to make: are you prioritising business-centred leadership in which the business is first and people are second or emphasising human-centred leadership that prioritises your people? Above all, remember that the journey to a world-class employee experience is an ongoing process enabled by close listening to your people.”

A big part of what the most successful leaders do is drive company culture, according to a separate study from Heidrick and Struggles released last week.

It surveyed 500 CEOs across nine countries – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the US – and found that globally, 11% of CEOs were ‘culture accelerators’, leaders who were “significantly more intentional in the way that they focused on culture than others”.

It reported that companies led by such individuals showed double the compound annual growth rate of others surveyed for the same study.

Ian Johnston, co-author of the report and partner in Heidrick and Struggles’ London office, said: “The global pandemic caused turmoil within many organisations and it seems those who have maintained a focus on culture during the uncertainty will be better positioned for future success.”

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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