Creating a company culture that attracts and retains talent during and post-global pandemic

By 15th June 2020 January 27th, 2021 No Comments

As we have moved from being surprised, sometimes in denial of what happened, to finally slowly accepting and adapting to this new reality of a global pandemic and what comes after, how can we build an organisational culture that proves most effective in attracting and retaining leadership teams, while making the best use of their capabilities?

In an ever-changing status quo, we must adapt and adjust to new conditions. We are on a verge of a situation when people are realising the old ways were not always working. More than before, in the conversations I’ve been having with my network, I hear how they question how things were done before, pay close attention to how they’re changing and, with their actions, actively want to influence what they will look like going forward. This is when the decisions are made on who decides to stay, and where they go. Will your company gain or lose your most precious resource?

Patrick Lencioni in his international best-seller The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, highlights The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team®: Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability and Results.

These have always been a staple of a healthy team culture and dynamic. However, I’d argue they are even more important in times like these.


When people don’t know what tomorrow will look like, it is important to lay this foundation to create a culture based on mutual trust, honesty and willingness to be vulnerable – recognising strengths and weaknesses.


A creative and constructive conflict. Allow for a debate, creating a multi-medium platform, where your team can express their ideas, hopes and fears, where they feel safe to speak out and challenge each other.

When working remotely and in these uncertain times, communication is more important than ever before. In times of crisis, there is no such thing as over-communicating.

Have weekly plans – discuss what needs to be achieved. Start the week with a good kick off. Communicate clearly – everything (your goals and mission) needs to be crystal clear to everyone. Enable the team to ask questions. Establish processes that facilitate collaborations – e.g. designate somebody to keep the focus and attention in a meeting.

Working from home, with your kids, partner and pets, isn’t always the easiest – be accommodating to people’s schedules. Focus on building trust rather than. control. Co-create guidelines and commit to them. Agree to core times, when everyone is available. Have tools to keep everyone connected; align and agree upfront on the tech you’re going to use and commit to using it.

Especially when working remotely, make time for social chat – keep relationships strong across the company.

From a leadership perspective, make your team feel valued and heard. Provide individual support – have 1:1 check-ins and speak about their circumstances. Everybody is different and how they react to change.


By doing so, you build the commitment and buy-in from your teams.


A team that isn’t afraid to share, ask and risk being wrong is a team that has more confidence in each other’s capabilities. This leads to a healthy accountability (inner and outer).


With such approach, being productive and getting results seems like a natural consequence.


As everybody can see and experience, things are changing and most likely they will not return to the way they were. Even prior to the pandemic, as corresponding with our basic human needs, many people wanted more flexibility, freedom, recognition, sense of connection, belonging and contributing to something that matters. This has not changed; being at home, either working or on furlough, only made people realise what matters to them most. Will you be the company that takes a notice in what it is?

Listen to your team. Building a culture of trust rather than control, keep things in the open with top down and bottom up transparency, and communicate work and strategy across levels.

People work best when they are treated as adults and know the reason behind what they’re doing.

Embrace different people and different ways of thinking and doing things. The real value is in the diversity of thought.

Decentralise decision making and empower your teams to act.

With such approach, you will certainly stand out, and attract and keep the best.

At Virdis, where I work, our focus is to identify, engage and help hire top talent for Life Science companies, globally – from Executive to Board levels, covering a broad range of roles, from R&D to Commercial.

Whilst building in-depth knowledge of the industry and the companies, we have naturally become our clients and contacts’ advisers on organisational growth and structure design.

At executive level, we promote conversations around your strategy and challenge your thinking. At senior operational level, we lead open yet confidential discussions with your teams, to help you make your organisation more efficient and sustainable.

To that intent, we carry out workshops, team or one-to-one structured brainstorming sessions to generate ideas and lead implementable changes which will improve your organisation’s stability, attractiveness and competitiveness.

Do you need help understanding what you see when you look in the mirror? Can we help you understand who you want to be and how to attract those that will fit in your organisation? Please get in touch.