Your Company’s Culture Sucks. Now what?
Ok, so realistically your company’s culture is probably not all that bad. Its more likely that your company is average. The culture is sufficient to keep you working there, but not so amazing that people are flocking to get in the doors.
If I were to ask you outright “How’s your company’s culture?” you probably think for the slightest of moments and then reply something along the lines of “It’s alright” with a light shrug of the shoulders.
The truth about most companies is that they approach their cultures haphazardly. While there may be some thought that goes into it, the vast majority of organizations do not intentionally build or manage their culture. They allow flavor of the week managers to add their own nuances, they let HR policies govern aspects of employee conduct, and spend almost no time truly focused on creating the right company culture.
Lets dispel some myths.
Company culture is NOT: a compilation of HR policies, executive directives, open door policies, collaborative workspaces, a Keurig coffee maker, stand-up desks, unlimited PTO, a gym membership, snacks in the break room, free beer Fridays, company sponsored philanthropy days, a pet friendly environment, generous compensation, or any other superficial nuance.
Many organizations use these things to manage employees and give the appearance of company culture. And for many people in the workforce this is enough. Its enough policy enforcement to ensure employees do the work they are supposed to. Its enough freedom to ensure the employees aren’t constantly updating their resume and looking to move.
The HUGE problem is that it breeds mediocrity. This sort of half-baked idea about company culture is only inspiration to make make employees work just hard enough to not get fired.
When the bare minimum becomes the status quo, you company has already started to die. Its a slow and painful death as the life is slowly sucked from the organization and the employees. The halls become scattered with the walking dead that slink between the coffee maker and their cubical just hoping for more vacation.
DO NOT turn into this sort of company! For the sake of your employees, for the sake of your shareholders, for the sake of the principles that your company was founded on please become intentional about the company culture you want to build.
So what IS company culture?
Company culture is all based in emotion. I know what you are thinking: “This is too touchy-feeling, too abstract, and way too subjective.” In reality its not. Organizations thrive when employees are committed to their work and have a common definition for what it means to work for their company. As much as you may not want to believe it, your company’s culture is entirely based on emotions. The culture is defined by what your organization means to it’s employees, customers, and shareholders. Its an amalgamation of attitude and pursuit of a common vision.
And to achieve a great company culture you must be intentional.
The TRUTH about Company Culture-
It matters to Productivity: Employees in well defined organizational cultures have been shown to be 31% more productive than their counterparts in negative/convoluted environments.
It matters to your Profits: Organizations with cultures where the employees are engaged in their work are 22% more profitable!
It matters to Employees: Employees that have meaning within their roles have 1.7 times more satisfaction at work.
It matters to Customers/Clients: Companies with cultures of engagement have 10% higher customer ratings.
So you want to fix it… how?
The journey towards a phenomenal company culture starts with intentionality. You need to build it on purpose and with a vision for what you want your organization to become. Another crucial aspect os to obtain input and buy-in from team members at all levels. People need to feel like their voice is heard and that they had a hand in the creation of this new culture. In makes them invested and committed to the aspirations that are are produced. This commitment is necessity in the longevity of your efforts to build a great company culture. It will not happen over night. Cultivating something that is amazing takes time and you will need to avoid distractions that will take the organizational focus away from the vision.
Everyone wants to be part of something great and it is up to you to decide to take those initial steps into the unknown and build an awesome company culture within your organization.