Could a toxic company culture be sabotaging your business's success? Just as a positive culture can boost morale and a company's bottom line, a negative environment can lead to a company's downfall. Says Paul Mandell, founder and CEO of Consero, a company that hosts high-level events for senior executives, "A positive company culture must be instilled, maintained, and protected." As a leader, you can delegate most everything you do--except building your company's culture.
And doing so is critically important to the success of your organization. A survey commissioned by HR services and staffing company Randstad named corporate culture as a key to happy and productive employees. A Deloitte survey found that 91% of employees who believed their companies had a strong sense of purpose also reported their organizations were performing well financially.
Here are five things that might be ruining your company culture right now:
1. The people you hire and those you don't fire
The effort to build a positive company culture begins with the people you hire. Incorporate your corporate values into your evaluation of job candidates, and strive to hire candidates who espouse similar values. If, despite your best efforts to hire and train employees, you find you have employees on your team who don't share your company's values and culture, it may be time to let them go.
2. Building a team of clones
Simply put, don't hire clones of yourself or carbon copies of other employees. Company culture can be undermined when you hire too many people who are the same, which can lead to too much agreement, too little creative thinking, and a general lack of debate. Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors Company, shared the following advice she attributed to Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg: "Understand your biases, and hire people who are not like you. Diversity of thought shapes our culture."
3. Expanding too fast
Your company culture requires careful maintenance, especially during times of growth. As you expand, make sure you take the time to review with your staff the values and behaviors that will make the company succeed, and pay close attention to how your culture is evolving as you grow to ensure it stays true to those values. Invest in team building; it's essential to a strong company culture. Ignoring its value can have a ruinous effect, especially during times of rapid growth.
4. Not being transparent
Keeping open lines of communication among your team must be a top priority. In fact, if you are in a managerial role, studies show that managers spend as much as 80 percent of their workday communicating. Failing to communicate or hiding important facts from your team can leave team members feeling alienated and uncertain, ultimately undermining your corporate culture.
5. Demanding too much
Unreasonable expectations can wreak havoc on your business' culture. What can make matters worse is if you hold yourself or other managers to different standards than others on the team. Making excessive and/or inconsistent demands of your team can contribute to employee frustration and dissatisfaction, leading to burnout and low employee retention.