Is Your 'New Normal' Company an All Wheel Drive Company?

There is a great deal of business chatter about employee engagement in the New Normal workplace. And for good reason: in a recent study, lack of worker engagement in Canada was measured at a staggering 60% —similarly in a U.S. study, roughly 60% of disengaged employees said they would leave their company for a better culture. This suggests that employee engagement is a strong motivating factor behind retention.

Are your workers, managers and leaders reading the job ads and seeking out recruiters? Are they thinking the grass greener in their next role and the next company?  With employee engagement and loyalty at an all-time low, chances are, they are.

So if your company has been cruising along in front wheel drive, you might find your tires spinning now as you try to navigate the slippery road ahead. It’s time to engage the All Wheel Drive!    

While a top-down leadership style may have served your organization well in the past, it is evident that the times have changed. It’s time to re-evaluate, regroup and adapt to employees’ changing needs rather than get stuck in a rut of what existed before. 

There’s nothing like a good analogy to make a point. And ‘All Wheel Drive’ is as good as any to describe the shift that’s needed in hierarchy, decision-making processes and employee engagement.  An All Wheel Drive vehicle not only dynamically adapts to a changing environment, but each wheel takes on a different role with each new change. 

This adaptive system also requires better two-way communication, dynamic exchange of information and collaboration. Engage. Engage. Engage.

In a recent article for, David Antoline identifies three processes for re-establishing employee engagement:

  1. Review and reconfigure your organization structure. An outdated organizational design can’t bend to meet the new needs of the people you have and want to keep, as well as identifying the gaps you need to fill.
  2. Find the opportunities to streamline your workflow. Eliminate painful bottlenecks. Enlist the employees to create a process so they can work more effectively.
  3. Take a deep dive into your data. Your processes and employees need to adapt – because your customer needs have changed – and so has your costs, time to market, distribution channels, etc. The list of what hasn’t changed is shorter!  Engage your employees to dive into the data and identify new opportunities that deliver a better customer experience.   

A culture shift happens when leaders take action. Employee engagement happens when your team is empowered and their contributions are valued. When you create an adaptable, collaborative and more empathetic environment where ideas are encouraged, you become an all wheel drive company! That’s how adapting becomes part of the culture rather than a culture that resists change.

An all wheel drive company has all wheels working independently AND collectively to successfully get to the destination, hugging the bumps and curves on the road to a better tomorrow.

This adaptability initiative is extensively explored in the ‘New Normal’ Workplace module from the Nickerson Institute’s Corporate Integrative Health Coach training program

To learn more about how you can become an integrative mental health coach or bring this training into your organization, request our CIHC brochure (below) or email us at:


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Article written by:

Laura's marketing leadership career has spanned several industries in Canada and the USA. She earned her DBA while working full-time. She's a lifelong learner whose business passions include emotional intelligence, leadership and consumer behaviour.