Mismatched Culture Perception Between Management and Employees Amidst the Global Pandemic

The Society for Human Resources conducted a survey, which Forbes reported on, that concluded “nearly 100% of Human Resources and 72% of Execs agreed that corporate culture was great during the pandemic, while employees adamantly disagreed. Only 21% of HR and 14% of Americans agreed with the executives’ assessment.” With the clear inconsistency in perception, how can human resource executives and managers get a better pulse on culture satisfaction amidst an ongoing pandemic? And how can we combat that mismatch to ensure a better environment for our employees?

1. Re-evaluating Management Best Practices

It was evident from the SRHS survey, that one of the main disparities included how employees feel about management. “Over 25% did not believe that managers encourage transparency [, and] over half of working Americans that left a job in the past five years, due to workplace culture, indicated that the main reason for the departure was because of their relationship with their manager. Only 22% stayed at a job because of their manager.”

In order to bridge the gap of this discrepancy, it is important to re-evaluate management best practices. First and foremost, since a quarter does not believe that managers encourage transparency, there should be an established cadence of anonymous surveys, which are reviewed by the leadership teams. It should also be clear to the employees that there is a deliberate action taken from these anonymous surveys. Otherwise, the surveys themselves will lose their purpose, and employees will not be as transparent when filling them out. Says Evan Violette, CSS PSG Managing Sales Director. 

Additionally, it is beneficial for companies to implement a mentorship program within the workplace so that all employees feel they have someone else they can reach out to aside from their manager in regard to any issues. Lastly, there is opportunity for companies to re-highlight the human resources department and the parameters for reaching out, filing a complaint, or seeking information. Often times, human resource trainings can feel outdated. Managers should dedicate some time to refreshing those trainings so that they better resonate with the team, and they come out with a better understanding of how human resources can be an asset for conveying issues.

2. Optimizing the Remote Environment & Removing Competitive Barriers

The survey indicated that “Nearly half (44%) who worked remotely at least some of the time reported feeling isolated or disconnected; 43% indicated that they worry other people don’t think they are working hard enough while being remote.” These statistics are indicative of the negative effects a remote environment can have on employees. Because the remote environment has been established as the new normal, and is not going anywhere, managers and leaders need to adjust accordingly.

First and foremost, there is the obvious issue of isolation. Though we cannot change the location component, we can work on the associated emotions. People have been vocal about their fatigue when it comes to Zoom happy hours and game nights. Rather than try to recreate the physical components from the office such as those happy hours, it is more impactful to optimize the current environment. One example is over communicating. As managers, it is critical to over communicate with your employees for both positive and negative feedback. So much can get lost in translation in a remote based environment, so it is important to incorporate over communication into your workflow. Although it can take additional time, by repeating what you are hearing from your employee, articulating what you need from them, and putting it in writing, there is much less risk of a disconnect.

Another skill to incorporate amidst a remote environment is understanding your employee’s nonverbal cues. During the workday, everyone is very much focused on themselves: their calendar, their to do list, and their deliverables. However, to be a good leader, it is paramount to pick up on non-verbal cues. Pay attention in meetings and check ins to the person’s body language, their eye contact, and their overall demeanor. Much of that is indicative to how they are truly feeling. By being in tune to these cues, you are better equipped to have an honest conversation with someone. It can make an employee not only feel heard but seen.

Lastly, because employees worry that others do not think they are working hard enough in a remote environment, managers should remove any visible competitive boundaries. Mainly, there should be a focus on clear, delineated work hours. Staff should utilize features such as the scheduling send option, this way people do not see others’ working well into the night, which reinforces the competitive nature. Additionally, managers should be proactive about their conversations with employees. For example, if they see that an employee has been active on work platforms past work hours every night for a week, the manager should reach out and see how they can reprioritize their work.

As we all adjust to this new remote environment, transparency is key. Management should have a clear pulse on the company’s overall perception of culture. By equipping them with the tools to initiate those conversations, employees will have numerous, accessible vehicles, to convey their honest thoughts and feelings. This in turn, will build the foundation for a more harmonious and reciprocal work place.


CSS PSG (Professional Staffing Group) has been a leading provider of contract, temporary, and direct hire solutions. Nationally supporting staffing solutions with a focus in Accounting & Finance, Human Resources, Sales & Marketing, and Call Center & Office. Everyone at CSS operates with pro-active pipelines, the highest business ethics, a winning spirit in our approach, and a team-oriented workflow with real cross-training. The CSS team coaches you with current business intelligence so that we can timely deliver solutions to meet your expectations.

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