A company without walls: corporate culture during the pandemic

May 24, 2020

Many companies like to talk about their corporate culture — that set of beliefs and behaviors that guide how employees conduct business, interact with colleagues, and define the organization’s identity. When a culture is strong, you know it as soon as you walk in the door.

Corporate cultures don’t just happen, they are nurtured over time. So how can companies foster their own unique identities when employees have turned their kitchen counters into their new workstations?

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, it seemed that the “work from home” status would only be temporary. Now, virtual work seems to be catching on. Some businesses are even considering continuing it indefinitely.

Given this shift, organizations that prioritize corporate culture are starting to ask, “What about the connection that comes from working together in an office?”

At Abarca, our corporate culture is part of our DNA. We don’t call ourselves “employees” — we are Abarcans. We aspire to deliver an awesome healthcare experience and PBM Happiness to our clients, partners, and members. We live by a set of core values that were created internally based upon admirable traits our team members saw within one another. Ask any Abarcan, and they’ll tell you that these values are central to everything we do.

As the leader of our Talent Strategy team, I feel it is imperative that focus on our culture now more than ever. Not just to maintain it, but to strengthen it.

When a set of values is set by those who must live by it, they will find ways to protect and nurture it. This has helped Abarcans adapt to the new normal. They are supporting each other. They are giving back to their communities. They are devising solutions to newly emerging challenges. Above all else, Abarcans are, as we like to say, All In as we continue to carry out our mission under these extraordinary circumstances.

The lesson here has two parts: If a corporation had a strong culture before the pandemic, employees should feel empowered to build upon it during these more difficult times. And, for companies that might have needed a cultural refresh, now is the time to do it.

So, what does it mean to nurture a corporate culture, especially while employees are working apart? Use the tools you have to bring your team together in unexpected ways. Find inspiration in the good that has emerged from this dramatic change in our lives. See where it takes you when you invite employees to lead the way.

Challenging times and unforeseen events can bring out the best in a business — why not turn that into an opportunity to have your workers define the culture they want to embody. The result can not only improve how your company operates today; it can have an exponential impact going forward–no matter what the future may hold.


*This blog was written by Mercibel Gonzalez, VP, Talent Strategy at Abarca.


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