Right now, U.S. companies are struggling to find people they need for their open positions. Two main factors are driving the current talent crisis in America today:

  1. The age curve is creating a shortage of skilled workers.
  2. The gig economy is resulting in an increase in job hopping.

When talent has the upper hand, employers need to invest in optimizing their recruiting and retention efforts. Otherwise, they can expect their best employees to be stolen away, while finding equally good replacements harder to come by.

Corporate culture = the nuts and bolts of your employment brand.

During talent shortages, talk of "corporate culture" becomes popular. Companies that have strong employment brands (i.e., that are known as good employers with attractive corporate cultures) win big in the war for talent. Just think of how much easier it is for Google and Apple to recruit. Millions of job seekers aspire to work for them. Conversely, a poor employment brand can cost a company dearly. And, while these companies often fiercely defend their corporate cultures, they really should take it is a warning sign their corporate cultures need to evolve, or the business could suffer.

Biggest leadership mistake: Failing to let your culture evolve.

The primary reason companies experience a dying corporate culture is that company leaders don't allow it to evolve over time. They hold on too tightly to the initial culture they created, one that suits their needs, not the needs of the ever-shifting employee base that makes the business survive and thrive. Resting on the laurels of their early success, they become fiercely protective of the initial culture they created. But like anything, times change--and so should corporate cultures.

5 signs your corporate culture is dying.

If your company is finding it harder to recruit and keep good employees, continue reading to see if any of the following warning signs indicate your corporate culture needs a makeover.

1. More than a couple of people are publicly complaining about you as an employer. Throwing an employer under the bus takes guts. Yet, employer shaming is on the rise. When a person chooses to publicly let the world know the downsides to your corporate culture, they're pretty upset. If it happens once, it can be written off as a random disgruntled ex-employee, but when several start chiming in, like in the case of Yelp, you have a culture concern. 


2. Your corporate culture is the subject of TV comedies or journalistic exposés. A lot of attention has been given to the former HubSpot employee who has written several articles, including a scathing New York Times piece on the corporate culture of the company. He's now a screenwriter for the HBO hit show Silicon Valley, which makes fun of a lot of what HubSpot prides its culture on. And let's not forget The Office and its impact on the traditional (outdated) office setting. When people read or watch material that makes fun of the type of environment they work in, they become disenchanted. The thought is, "Am I a fool?"

3. Several of your "best and brightest" have jumped ship. When you start losing some of your key players unexpectedly, it's not just about the money. Even if they tell you it was an offer they couldn't refuse, something about your corporate culture made it easier for them to walk a way. "Been there, done that" is going through their minds, and they're ready for something better.

4. The attendance rate at your "fun" events is dropping. All those after-hour meet-ups, lunchtime get-togethers, and off-site celebrations don't seem so appealing when a company's culture is sinking. When participation dips, employees are letting you know they don't feel like drinking the team-building Kool-Aid.

5. Those crazy benefits and office perks aren't getting used as much. If the foosball table, espresso machine, and massage chairs aren't seeing the same kind of action they did before, it could be a sign your employees are too busy secretly looking for new jobs. Passing on the perks makes employees feel like they aren't held hostage by the golden handcuffs of free stuff, making it easier to walk away.

If your corporate culture is dying, do this.

In my experience, having a fresh set of eyes evaluate the disconnect between your current corporate culture and your business goals can help you see where changes need to be made. A good start is by completing a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey with your existing employees. Finding out where they feel out of sync with the company is the first step toward building a plan to revive and strengthen a weakening corporate culture.