As businesses continue to navigate an era marked by rapid technological advancements, new business models, and evolving employee expectations, cultivating a positive and purposeful workplace culture has never been more significant — or such a strategic imperative for organizational success.
We recently released our guide to the future of work — 2024’s most requested topic — where we dive deep into key areas influencing the future of work and how our speakers expertly guide audiences through this next chapter of working.
Competing Trends of Accountability and Psychological Safety
I’m watching the convergence of two seemingly opposing trends: the return to accountability and the push for psychological safety.
During the pandemic, many leaders struggled with how hard to drive people. They wanted to be seen as empathetic and worried about adding to the droves of people fleeing in the great resignation. In 2023, with fears of a looming recession, organizations became less forgiving with many demanding a return to office.
In 2024, I think we’ll see a renewed push for performance and accountability. But managers will struggle with this because of the second trend: employees are increasingly intolerant of behaviours that erode psychological safety.
So that’s where you’ll find me… standing at the point where the competing trends of accountability and psychological safety are making things exceedingly difficult for leaders. Great leaders will optimize the tension between the two; others will get stuck in unhealthy and unproductive friction.
Liane Davey is the “teamwork doctor,” whose educational and entertaining keynote presentations transform the way people communicate, connect, and contribute to make an immediate impact on their organizations.
Increased Focus on “Out-Caring the Competition”
In our hybrid world of work, I believe there will be a bigger focus on how organizations can “out-care their competition” in 2024. Simple shifts in how leaders care for their people will fuel future success. For example, transitioning from transactional curiosity such as “how are you?” to consistent deeper transformational check-ins that prioritize well-being like “how are you taking care of yourself?” will be key.
Building meaningful relationships in remote work setups bring a new set of challenges. Leaders went from managing roles and responsibilities to managing energy and emotion, and it is exhausting.
While there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to authentic human connection, I believe robust wellness programs and prioritizing putting people first in order to understand their changing needs, will be some of the biggest trends for companies to increase productivity, retain their top talent, and build unified workplace cultures.
Bestselling author of Every Conversation Counts: The 5 Habits of Human Connection That Build Extraordinary Relationships, Riaz Meghji helps leaders create engaged and connected workplace cultures through the art of candid conversation.
The Need to Co-Create Company Culture
Culture is a dynamic constantly co-created by everyone through every action and interaction every day in emergent and unpredictable ways. In 2024, a leader’s goal for culture work should be this: to move forward the best of who we are, while developing into the best of who we need to be. Here’s how:
- Get clear on “you at your best.” What are we doing and saying when we are at our best? One year from now, what will we be most proud that we did and didn’t do? What three words describe who we need to be?
- Align action with your “you at your best” intentions. What three words describe how we are being now? How close are we to being our best (1-10)? What is one small action to better align us with our intention?
- Rinse and repeat #2 again and again. Alignment is an outcome and a practice. When you neglect the practice of alignment, the outcome of misalignment will follow.
Lead culture by design not default. Pam August, former Director of Culture Activation at WestJet, helps leaders and their teams unlock untapped potential in their organizations for greater performance and impact.
Flexibility Over Compensation
Flexibility is now an expectation. A recent survey by Microsoft Work Trend Index of 30,000 people in 31 countries indicated that 73% of workers expect virtual work options. Workers are experimenting with AI to work smarter and more efficiently for their routine tasks. Leaders in 2024 will need to leverage that innovation to make time for getting out of the office to build connections if they want to impact retention of talent and inspire an engaged and high-performing workplace culture.
Building on this is the continued trend of employees prioritizing their well-being. Folks aren’t choosing compensation over flexibility and autonomy. The racial reckoning in the United States is still permeating the workplace, and I see more people speaking to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion by using the words mattering, belonging, and engagement. People want to feel connected to each other and do work that is purpose-driven.
Amplify your team’s performance with Dr. Ivan Joseph, an award-winning coach, educator, and leader experienced in leading cultural transformation and creating cohesive teams.
Denormalizing Bad Behaviour
It’s helpful to think of the workplace and the workforce as an evolving ecosystem made up of several interconnected factors and complementarities, with people at the centre. How the ecosystem is cultivated, nourished, and understood plays a significant role in positive work culture.
Shadow culture has taken a strong hold in many workplaces. This is when the rules and expectations may be out of alignment with what is communicated. For example, “Be sure to take breaks”, yet the person who works through their lunch hour is considered more dedicated. Bad behaviour left unaddressed destroys workplace culture and demotivates your strongest teammates.
Protect your workplace ecosystem in 2024 by NOT asking your team to do the following:
- Go above and beyond.
- Go the extra mile.
- Go all in.
The collective exhaustion is real and asking people who are depleted to give more than they have erodes great work. Be realistic with your “asks” while holding space for people to have a life outside of work.
A multi-award-winning expert in resiliency and workplace wellness, Dr. Robyne Hanley Dafoe helps organizations build cultures of authentic inclusion through her practical and research-informed inclusive leadership framework.
Companies with an engaged and productive team environments prioritize the most important part of their business — their people. The best leaders in 2024 are cultivating a culture that allows people to feel that they are valued, appreciated, and make an important impact.
In today’s hybrid workplace, it can be challenging to feel as connected when you don’t have the naturally occurring “water cooler conversations” that happen when everyone is in the same location. One way you can help facilitate this connection is by purposely adding it to your meetings. At the beginning of your weekly meeting, make the first part just about your employees. It’s as simple as asking “how are you doing?” and “What is going on in your and your family’s lives this week?”
Encourage a different person each week to lead the “water cooler conversations” in their own way. This helps leaders take the temperature of their team and effectively evaluate everyone’s different needs in order to unleash the best in their teams.
Leading performance consultant Dr. Kimberley Amirault-Ryan draws on real life examples from coaching and training some of the world’s top athletes and teams to share the habits, behaviours, and environments required for sustainable high performance and team excellence.
Contact us to learn more about our renowned workplace culture, teambuilding, and performance experts and discover how they can help your organization cultivate a productive, innovative, and engaged workplace.