3 Things Organisations Got Wrong During The Pandemic

Because of the changes brought about by the pandemic, everyone has had to adapt—and employees everywhere looked to management to see how they would respond. 

While most executives and business leaders focused on business continuity, some did it better than others. In this post, we’ll explore where things went wrong for some so that you don’t make the same mistakes.

The De-Prioritisation of Innovation

Many businesses simply can’t operate as they have in the past; what made a company successful pre-pandemic may no longer be possible during or after it. That’s why it’s important that organisations continue to innovate—now more than ever.

According to McKinsey’s report, Innovation in a crisis: Why it is more critical than ever, “prioritising innovation today is the key to post-crisis growth.” However, McKinsey found that many business leaders were deprioritising innovation to concentrate on:

  • Shoring up their core business,
  • Pursuing known opportunity spaces,
  • Conserving cash, and
  • Minimising risk

Many planned to return to innovation-related initiatives only once the world had stabilised, the core business was secure, and the path forward was clearer—but this may be short-sighted.

That’s because McKinsey’s findings proved just the opposite: Meeting shifting customer needs, identifying and quickly addressing new opportunities, reevaluating the innovation initiative portfolio to ensure resources are allocated appropriately, and building the foundation for postcrisis growth in order to remain competitive in the recovery period were all things the report found beneficial to organisations, particularly during times of crisis. All such initiatives can bolster companies’ ability to grow in the years to come.

2. Unpleasant Company Culture and/or Toxic Workplaces

Companies that already had an unpleasant, unstable, or even toxic work culture before the pandemic and didn’t take a step back and try to improve it in 2020 are now paying the price because many of those issues were only exacerbated by remote working arrangements.

That’s because toxic workplaces don’t simply stay in the office; they follow workers home when they work remotely. And additional factors like isolation can aggravate the challenges of working with bosses or colleagues that are unsupportive, controlling, or downright rude.


Many workers are now finding it imperative to put their foot down when it comes to the environment in which they work, leading to mass resignations. As John Goulding, CEO and founder of employee communication platform Workvivo put it, “Above a certain point, people want to feel part of something bigger, a company with a great culture of emotional connection, recognition and communication. If a CEO isn’t deliberately creating that culture, they’re bound to fail.”

3. Profit Over People and Failure to Adequately Support Employees

This mistake kind of piggybacks on the former. When organisations prioritise profit over people and fail to adequately support their employees, they’re bound to lose them.

During the COVID crisis, many employees saw their compensation reduced or benefits cut as a response to the slowing of business. Others were met with silence when they voiced their concerns and worries during the pandemic. And still more weren’t provided with the adequate resources they needed in order to cope with remote working.

In order to ensure employees not only stay, but are happy with their workplace, leaders must show they care about and are committed to their team members’ well-being. “For almost everyone,” said Ross Seychell, chief people officer at Personio, “the pandemic put an acute focus on: How has this company I’ve given a lot to handled me, my health, or happiness during this time?”

Greg Keller, CTO at cloud-based IT platform JumpCloud echoed this sentiment, adding that retention is the new fight for business leaders, and it’s one that’s being waged digitally. “You have to support your staff and make them feel valued. If you don’t, you’re not just competing with every company in commuting distance to retain that employee, you have to compete with potentially every company in the world.”

What You Can Do Now

If your organisation has made some of these mistakes, it’s not too late to address them. A mentoring program can be a tool to address employees’ concerns about their own place and development in the organisation while increasing your chances of retaining talent.

See how mentoring can help address these issues by checking out some of the resources below:

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Grace is our Content Marketing Manager at Mentorloop. She's also a keen cook, a dog mom, and lover of all things tropical.

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