How to Fortify Your Culture During the Coronavirus Crisis

Aga Bajer
6 min readMar 17, 2020

Just a month ago, my home town was preparing for the Milan Fashion Week.

Hotels were fully booked, it was near impossible to find a table in many of Milan’s trendy restaurants, and Via Montenapoleone was brimming with shoppers hungry for the latest luxury fashion items.

Fast forward a few weeks later, and Milan (and the whole country) has ground to a halt. An unprecedented lockdown that was imposed to slow Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus is probably just a preview of what’s to follow in many places around the globe.

Looming recession, mounting uncertainty, and the already tangible impact of the COVID-19 related crisis raise many burning questions for entrepreneurs and leaders. The main one is:

“How can we mitigate the adverse effects of coronavirus on our people and our business and prepare for the new normal?”

Here are three areas to focus on right now to fortify your culture and emerge stronger on the other side of this crisis:

1. Put people first

Here is one of the questions I always ask my clients when gathering data about their culture:

“What’s valued more than profits in your company?”

The most successful and agile organizations I’ve worked with have always had one answer in common: “People.”

Having a people-first culture is especially important in times of crisis.

My guest on the CultureLab podcast and a renowned crisis expert, Melissa Agnes, writes in her book, Crisis Ready:

The right crisis-ready mindset prioritizes people over processes and bottom-line.

Health and safety

At the moment, the most important people-related issue is health and safety. Many organizations have rolled-out mandatory remote work or have taken extra measures to protect the employees who cannot work remotely. Tech giants, such as Facebook ( FB), Google ( GOOG), Twitter ( TWTR) and Amazon ( AMZN) have implemented remote working policies for many or all of their employees around the globe. Contact your local authorities for guidance.

Aga Bajer

I write about how to unlock the power of your company culture. Founder of CultureBrained™️+ The CultureLab Podcast Host —