Talent & HR Organizational culture

Reimagining work: The post-crisis trends that are shifting corporate culture

Watch the full recorded broadcast above.

Organizational culture is defined as the collective norms of behaviour exhibited by employees within an organization. Culture is guided by purpose and values and can be thought of as an organization's internal compass. A healthy corporate culture is essential for an organization to attract talent and deliver value to the market.

Today, new norms and habits are being formed as a result of the pandemic. COVID-19 has had an extraordinary and swift impact on workplace culture. As the virus lingers, the changes we are making now may affect corporate culture for years to come. Culture has always been one of the most powerful differentiators for organizations, but the need to manage culture intentionally is especially critical now.

On Thursday, November 5, we were joined by a panel of HR experts in Val Duffey, former CHRO, Greater Toronto Airports Authority; Mark Edgar, Former CHRO, RSA, and founder of Goat Rodeo Project; and Linda Speedy, Vice President, Human Resources, J.D. Irving Limited. Val and Mark shared their Reimagine Work framework: five key paradigm shifts that impact organizational culture and the HR function. We then looked at how J.D. Irving Limited – a privately owned Canadian conglomerate with 17,000 employees – is shaping its own culture in response to the pandemic.  The session concluded with the panel fielding audience questions related to cultivating a healthy and thriving culture during this time of crisis.  

Key webinar content

Core topics

  • Val Duffey and Mark Edgar’s approach to their Reimagine Work framework
  • The shared societal experience as a catalyst for a fundamental reset of the world of work
  • An emerging paradigm of purpose-driven organizations that deliver value to all stakeholders, including customers and employees – not just shareholders
  • Current statistics
  • Lessons learned at J.D. Irving Limited in the months that have passed since the pandemic initially caused them to shift two thirds of their workforce to remote work
  • Onboarding remotely
  • The advantages purpose-driven organizations with established cultures have in adapting to change and making decisions quickly
  • Advice for organizations that are moving toward more of a distributed workforce when they are concerned about losing their culture
  • Recruitment strategy shifts and the skills that are becoming more valuable
  • How the profile of a “leader” is changing
  • Building or re-building a culture during crisis
  • The importance of deliberate reflection
  • When organizations are so focused on quarterly results, how do you try to change the paradigm?

Memorable quotes

“The impact of the pandemic is much bigger than remote work and we have to be careful not to take that as being the big story here.” – Mark Edgar

“We’ve moved away from the golden rule to the platinum rule, which is treating people the way they would like to be treated.” – Val Duffey

“When the pandemic hit, it became readily apparent that organizations were just going to fall apart without their people … (So I do think) the employee stakeholder has definitely come up the food chain in organizations, and there will be a lot more bespoke and focus on the employee experience.” – Val Duffey

“What COVID did for us around flexibility and work-from-home probably would have taken us 10 years to accomplish. It’s advancing a conversation for those jobs that can be done virtually that we may not have had.” – Linda Speedy

“I think we do want to change. It strikes me that work was broken in so many ways. How many people loved commuting? How many people loved being in an organization where there was a huge amount of hierarchy and bosses that weren't treating people properly and working in an unhealthy environment? I think there's so many things that we can change and should change. And we've got this great opportunity to do it.” – Mark Edgar

Additional reading

How Companies Are Winning on Culture During COVID-19, MIT Sloan Management Review
Leaders, Leverage This Moment To Unify Employees By Eliminating Toxic Culture
, Forbes
Equity and Inclusion: The Roots of Organizational Well-Being, Stanford Social Innovation Review
Coronavirus: How the world of work may change forever, BBC News
Don’t Let the Pandemic Sink Your Company Culture, Harvard Business Review


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About The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School
The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School is the home for executive Learning and Development (L&D) in Canada. It is Canada’s only full-service L&D house, blending Financial Times top-ranked university-based executive education with talent assessment, instructional design and strategy, and behaviour change sustainment. 

Rooted in Ivey Business School’s real-world leadership approach, The Ivey Academy is a place where professionals come to get better, to break old habits and establish new ones, to practice, to change, to obtain coaching and support, and to join a powerful peer network. Follow The Ivey Academy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.