94 percent of executives believe that a strong company culture helps business success. But how exactly do you create a brilliant culture that drives your business forward?
Well, sometimes it helps to look at both sides of the coin, and consider what failure looks like as well as success.
Only then can you gain a deeper insight into what really works and why and begin to make smarter, long-lasting improvements to your HR strategy rather than flash-in-the-pan quick fixes.
So, to shed light on the situation, let’s look at what’s bad for company culture and how to fix it.
Here are eleven ways to kill your company culture.
#1: Don’t include staff in the conversation
If you want to create a dis-engaged culture, it helps to exclude ideas and feedback from the get-go.
So, when thinking about what your culture should be, ignore everyone. And then, insist that everyone ‘get in line’ behind your vision.
However, if you want to create a culture that’s successful, you need to build a dialogue with teams and let the culture build more organically. This will ensure everyone ‘buys in’ to the company culture. Also, you’ll bring everyone together, and hopefully, get staff invested in your business goals.
#2: Don’t write it down or share it
If you don’t document your company culture, perhaps into a culture deck, staff will ignore or forget about it over time.
Instead, make your culture deck accessible and ensure everyone knows where it is. This makes it easy for staff to refresh their minds and look for guidance when they need it. Also, new hires can learn and adopt the company culture quickly.
By sharing your culture document – and other important documents like this – you’ll also improve teamwork and communication.
#3: Don’t trust your staff
If you want to kill your company culture, don’t trust your staff and do your best to make them know it.
What you should do, instead, is trust your staff and give them more responsibility when they deserve it. You’ll inevitably watch them grow and become more productive as a result.
#6 Micromanage your staff
This follows on nicely from our previous point.
That’s because one of the best ways to make staff feel like you don’t trust them is to micromanage everything they do.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to say at what point support becomes micromanaging. What’s the answer to striking the right balance? Well, the most important thing is to know that there is a balance to strike, and try to find the right balance for each staff member. Then, check in with staff during 1-1's and readjust.
Quite simply, you can ask: ‘Do you feel like you’re getting enough support and structure, or would you like some more?’
Build a dialogue and note that different staff will want different amounts of support. What’s micromanaging for one employee won’t be for another.
#4: Set a bad example
No one likes a hypocrite, and you can quickly destroy your company culture when you set a bad example.
So, if you’ve championed a progressive company culture but then don't follow it yourself, you’ll ultimately destroy it. Ultimately, using the ‘because I said so’ approach is always weak leadership.
#5: Insult your colleagues
Hopefully, this isn’t news to you: insulting your colleagues is a no-no. Unless, of course, you want to kill your culture.
It doesn’t matter what the situation is or what your reasons are – insulting your colleagues is perhaps the fastest way to turn your company culture into ruins.
It’s much better to spread the love and compliment colleagues when they do a good job.
#7 Shun responsibilities and disappear in a crisis
If you want to ruin your culture and drain confidence from a team, the best thing you can do is hide from your responsibilities and disappear in a crisis.
To contribute toward a brilliant culture, you should instead support your team and do what it takes to get your business back on track.
#8 Keep all the credit for yourself
A business thrives when staff are rewarded for the good work they’ve done. To help foster this, ensure there are clear ways for people to credit colleagues for a job well done. For example, a Slack channel dedicated to sharing positive feedback.
The worst thing you can do is take credit for someone else’s work. Only do this if you want to destroy your company culture in a hurry.
#9 Hire people who don’t match the culture
The applicant with lots of experience and qualifications may look like a great hire, and yes, they’ll be able to do the job. But, will they be a good fit for your culture?
It’s a hard decision to make.
If you’re serious about building a great culture, you must look for a good cultural fit as well as a strong CV when hiring.
#10 Undermine the job security of staff
When staff feel like their job is under threat, you’ve got a recipe for a seriously toxic culture.
You might achieve this by firing staff without giving good reasons, and without being open with the wider workforce. Or, you might start to outsource work to contractors.
#11 Allow the C-suite and stake holders to not ‘buy in’
Working on culture needs to be a part of your business from top to bottom.
However, higher-ups can get preoccupied with P&L statements rather than thinking about the company culture.
Of course, a business needs to be well run and financially sound, but this isn’t a situation of ‘either-or’ - executives at the top of the business need to set the right example and embody the culture, too.
Are you killing your culture? Or are you helping it thrive?
82 percent of respondents to a Deloitte survey believe a good culture creates a competitive advantage. If you’re not doing anything to improve your culture, you might be missing out on business growth.
From trusting your staff to hiring people who match your culture, there are plenty of ways to improve your culture and ensure it outshines your competitors.
However, building a culture is just one part of building a successful business, and only one of many plates you must spin.
For a more detailed look at how a small business can build a thriving HR department and a brilliant culture, download the guide below.