Companies with strong employee culture will emerge stronger post-Covid

Covid-19 has left companies around the world with unimaginably difficult decisions to make on finances, operations, and their employees. While costs have risen, many important investments have been paused and foreign direct investment is down by almost 40%. Those companies which have taken decisions that put their employees, rather than the bottom line first, are in the strongest position to recover now that multiple vaccines are starting to come online, writes Yerkin Tatishev.

At Kusto Group, our belief is that how companies treat their employees in tough times is the true measure of their culture and potential for long-term growth. What some companies may not have realised is that the pandemic has provided a rare, ‘review moment’ for millions of employees.

The dramatic disruptions have triggered a review of our priorities, with how we organise our work being front and centre. Going forward, employees will be rethinking what they want from their jobs and what they value in their work life. This will be of critical importance in the competition for talent and lasting competitive advantage.

Major global disruptions, such as the coronavirus pandemic are fault-line moments when corporate culture comes sharply into view. Reacting to a crisis can bring out both the best and worst, and companies with brittle cultures will see their skilled workers move elsewhere, lasting damage to their reputations and make attracting new business and workers will highly challenging.


The Kusto Group has always been defined by a long-term approach; and we believe the best way to have a high impact workforce is to give all our team members a sense of community, and the feeling that the company has their back.

Especially now, during the uncertainty of the pandemic, this approach has paid real dividends.

By not taking short cuts that result in temporary job losses, and maintaining constant communication, our team members around the world know that Kusto has made them the priority.

One of the ways in which we do this is to foster a sense of entrepreneurship within our workforce. This boosts our creative output, helps prevent stale and unimaginative thinking and provides employees with a sense of ownership over their areas of work. This has been essential to the establishment of a culture where employees feel a sense of belonging to not just a company that pays them a wage but develops their skills and values their input, especially in times of hardship and turmoil.

It is of course understandable that many businesses will seek to make savings, improve efficiency and scale back investment following a difficult year or market turndown. No business leader can be naïve enough to think their business is immune from such actions. However, sharing insights into the nature of the challenges, and therein treating your employees as stakeholders in the company, with their own concerns and anxieties, is what sets apart the good from the bad.

At Kusto Group, we believe business values will play an increasingly important role in the post-pandemic world. Those companies that made employees redundant and failed to focus on their wellbeing might survive in the short-term, but on a longer horizon they will not emerge as winners in the post-pandemic world.

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Yerkin Tatishev

Yerkin Tatishev

Yerkin Tatishev is the founder and chairman of Kusto Group. He started out as an entrepreneur in single industry towns in Kazakhstan, turning around ailing mining and manufacturing enterprises in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today, Kusto Group operates across five sectors, including agri-business and real estate, working in 10 countries across the globe, employing more than 8,000 staff. In addition to his business interests, Tatishev established the Yerzhan Tatishev Foundation in 2005, named after his later brother, which supports Kazakhstan’s youth to develop their skills in business, finance and industry.

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