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November 12, 2020

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Crisis culture – Are you ready for the second wave?

How has your COVID-19 workplace experience shifted since the first lockdown?

Back in June, Tribe Culture Change launched the first of its Crisis Culture Insight reports, exploring organisations’ coronavirus challenges and how they were dealing with them. With the crisis continuing and the entering of further phases of lockdown, it prepares to repeat the survey to see how workplace attitudes and behaviours have shifted.

Here, Mark Ormond, Managing Director at Tribe Culture Change, outlines some of the areas he’s particularly interested to explore in the next report.

Mark Ormond“For the report we launched back in June, we collected data from over 125 organisations. We noticed the biggest shift in working culture the world has ever seen. The report findings and recommendations helped organisations develop their own responses to the crisis and allowed them to better support their people.

“Alongside the personal psychological impact of the virus itself, individual attitudes, values and beliefs were already very different from the start of the crisis. This change is continuing through the different phases of the crisis.

“During the first wave, many of us, in different parts of the world faced total lockdown. It was a short period of time and people understood that there was some finality to it. But as the crisis continues, we are now facing so many unknowns. It’s an ongoing situation and we don’t know where we’ll be in even a month from now.”


“From speaking to our clients, they are dealing with a range of challenges. Resourcing is one of the biggest of these, both in practical and cultural terms when it comes to health, safety and wellbeing.

“Many employees are having to self-isolate and suddenly unable to work for weeks at a time. Ultimately, are there enough people to do the work, and how does this affect everyone’s focus?”

Resilience and mental health

“Of all the areas being discussed in relation to health, safety and wellbeing, our findings showed one of the most significant was mental health and resilience.

“In the next survey, it will be interesting to see how organisations are supporting and strengthening their employees’ resilience through the crisis.”

Risk mindset

“The degree to which individual attitudes, values and beliefs were affected by the crisis varied considerably. Some individuals continued behaving ‘as normal’ despite the changes around them. Others became very fearful and reticent to carry on working, and there was the ‘hero’ mentality with some adopting riskier behaviours.

“Now, we may not be in the same place. Companies are collapsing and commercially, many others face significant challenges. The ever-present danger of COVID means that this risk has become normalised, and for many, the commercial pressures may be outweighing the daily risks that individuals face (whether COVID-related or otherwise).

“I also want to learn more about the real impact health and safety is having on the ground. During the early part of the crisis, for many organisations the injury rate was lower due to a range of related factors. Is this still the case or has this ‘normalisation’ of risk affected individual mindset?”

Engagement and communications

Crisis Culture – Are you ready for the second wave?“On the whole, the crisis has heralded an explosion in communications across organisations and between individuals. Digital communications have replaced face-to-face communications where possible. We have, however, witnessed an increase in some communications challenges, especially where employee populations have been divided or restricted due to social distancing regulations.

“During the early part of the crisis, communication was focussed very heavily on COVID and related risks. Is this still the case or are we getting a better balance? Should we have a different balance and what other engagement opportunities are being missed as a result?”


“Daily communication, flexibility around work patterns and managers engaging their own teams are critical to building overall organisational trust. During the first wave, we found a mixed picture as to whether employees were trusting their organisations to protect them.

“Is that still the case? Are organisations losing the connection with their employees as the crisis continues?”

Take part in the Crisis Culture Survey

“We know that every organisation is unique, and the attitudes, values and beliefs of your people will shape how they respond during the crisis. Make sure that your experiences are heard by taking part in our next survey, and use the results to shape your culture & engagement programmes as we continue through the crisis.

Get involved by following the Crisis Culture Survey. You will be among the first to receive the insight document summarising our findings in early December.”

Diary date: 8 December 14.00 – 15.00
Panel discussion: Crisis culture – Are you ready for the second wave?
Hear the collective insight from health and safety thought leaders as they discuss the findings and share their experiences.

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