Damaged Company Culture Has Warning Signs
The key is being able to spot and fix them.
Everyone has held the job that was miserable to work for and can’t wait to leave. Nine in 10 workers quit their jobs because of the relationship they have with their immediate supervisor. So, internal culture is king to building a reliable team.
Company culture is also king in promoting your brand. A team that feels like a group of outsiders won’t be of any use in spreading your key messages. With that in mind, here are some symptoms of damaged company culture and how to fix them.
Management makes a big deal about the pool table.
Ping pong tables, arcade video games, really any recreational activity shouldn’t be the focus of office culture. One piece of furniture doesn’t give your office a fun-loving nature. If your supervisor brags about their pool table, it’s likely they’re checking off boxes instead of focusing on their employees.
Instead, create bonding rituals for your staff. Implement a fun rite of passage each new team member must go through when they start. Have quarterly or annual retreats with input for ideas from staff. Focus on things that bring people together.
It’s too quiet.
A happy office should hum. People should feel free to walk around a bit and spend a minute or two catching up with coworkers between tasks. An overly quiet office can mean one of two things: Either your employees are bored, or they are under so much pressure that they don’t have the time or freedom to talk.
If your office is quiet as a mouse, talk to some of the workers you’ve built relationships with about how they interact with their coworkers. Create a space of trust and tell them that they should feel free to mill about a little. Once a few people are given the chance, others will feel more relaxed.
Management talks about the importance of excellence.
Every staff member should have something to strive for, but demanding excellence can often mean management is creating unattainable standards for everyone who walks in. This can leave employees worried about their jobs instead of focused and motivated on them.
Choose to zone in on everyone’s strengths instead of weaknesses. There are reasons they were hired, and it isn’t because they could get better at something new. Devote 80 percent of everyone’s time to what makes them great at their jobs and 20 percent on growth and opportunities. They will feel like a more valuable asset to the team as they achieve more.
The company’s values are posted on the wall.
If staff needs a constant reminder of the values of your company looming over their heads, then you don’t trust them to implement them properly.
Instead, create a dream map for your company with your employees. Talk about what you want for all of them and where the business is going. This is a great opportunity to practice communication. Ask how they feel and what they think everyone can improve upon honestly. Don’t guess.
The pronouns are wrong.
Employees say “they” or “them” instead of saying “we” or “us” when talking to outsiders. If they don’t include themselves in the company, the culture is missing altogether.
In the case of misplaced pronouns, focus on consensus in every decision you make as a higher-up. Sometimes it will be more important to make the right decision for the internal culture and health of your company than for the bottom line. When facing a tough decision, ask yourself “If I make a decision without my employees’ input, will this hurt culture more than help?”
Build your company’s culture from the inside out. Choosing to bring someone or something from beyond your office won’t create a genuine experience for anyone. Build relationships with your team instead of bringing in food or a new toy to give them. Then you can build a better brand around your team instead of pounding an ideal into place.