What's wrong with your culture?
Maintaining a healthy company culture is essential for any organization. Even the best cultures can become toxic or problematic over time. As a leader, it is important to be able to identify when something is wrong with your culture so you can take action to address the issue.
Here are the key signs to look out for:
High turnover rates are often an indication that employees are not happy with their work environment. This could be due to a lack of support, insufficient opportunities for growth, or poor leadership. For example, if employees feel undervalued and overworked, they may start to look for employment opportunities elsewhere. It can also indicate a problem with hiring practices, such as not effectively screening for cultural fit during the hiring process.
Low employee morale is often a symptom of a deeper problem within the company culture. This could be due to a lack of recognition, poor communication, or a lack of support for employee well-being. The outcomes can be very frustrating and consequential for organizations to run effectively. For example, if employees don't feel appreciated or recognized for their contributions, they may become disengaged and unmotivated. Additionally, if employees don't feel supported in their personal lives, such as through flexible work arrangements, they reflect being less invested in their work.
Lack of diversity in the workforce can lead to a lack of diverse perspectives and experiences within the company culture. This can lead to a homogenous culture that is resistant to change and innovation. For example, if a company only hires people from a particular demographic, they may not be aware of the unique challenges and perspectives of people from different backgrounds. This can limit the company's ability to effectively serve a diverse customer base. Closer to home, when people from diverse demographics are hired, they will likely experience implicit bias and feel limited.
Inconsistent behavior within the organization can lead to a lack of trust and confusion. For example, if management espouses a culture of transparency and open communication but then doesn't follow through on those promises, employees may become disillusioned and distrusting. Additionally, if certain employees are allowed to get away with behavior that goes against the company's stated values, it can lead to resentment and a feeling of unfairness among other employees.
Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings and a lack of trust within the organization. For example, if important information is not shared with all employees in a timely manner, it can lead to confusion and mistrust. Additionally, if employees don't feel comfortable speaking up about their concerns or ideas, it can lead to a lack of innovation and a stagnant culture.
Resistance to change can lead to missed opportunities for growth and innovation within the organization. For example, if management is resistant to new ideas or processes, it can prevent the company from adapting to changes in the industry. Additionally, if employees are resistant to change, it can lead to a culture of complacency and a lack of motivation.
Identifying when something is wrong with your company culture is essential for maintaining a healthy and productive work environment. By looking out for these signs, leaders can take action to address any issues and create a culture that is supportive, inclusive, and adaptable. If these challenges feel outside the wheelhouse of existing leadership, resources like Harvard Business Review or the right consultancy are great starting points to turn things around.