Educate yourself
March 10, 2019

Does Your Company Culture Kill?


Does Your Company Culture Kill?

The wrong company culture can kill; it kills motivation, productivity and creativity. But the right company culture does the opposite; it creates employees that work and stay and grow. It can be easy to identify what’s healthy and what unhealthy, but it’s much more difficult to know how to move from un-health to health, or how to capitalize on some healthy culture that already exists and multiply it.

Below are two examples of typical unhealthy cultures and then observations of what healthy companies do.

Right to Work Culture

I’m going to rock the boat here. This whole “Right to Work” thing, whether you’re pro or con, has created a horrible culture in the workplace. It should have no bearing in work-culture, except it does.

The days of the irreplaceable employee have come and gone. People are no longer valued and hardly appreciated. Employers seem to want more work and more hours for less pay.  It’s a “push them til break” mentality. And once they break, move on to the next candidate — use them up.

I know of meetings that have gotten the stigma of “I wonder who’s getting fired now?” And a phone call from the boss is an expected butt chewing. Annual reviews are “we need more from you..we’re sorry, a raise just isn’t in the budget this year.”  And you’re expected to smile and thank them for the opportunity.

And at the end?

No retirement parties for years of dedicated service; perhaps you’re handed a box with a gold watch with an “I was lucky to get that far” state of mind.  

It’s absolutely pathetic really.  

The higher ups get rich and the employees are expected to do more and more for no reward.

Big-family Culture

The culture is “We are one big family” with painted on smiles, no complaints, underperforming employees, because no one wants to upset this happy family. So, there’s no accountability, no execution or development, only stagnation.

Yet the gossip in the break room or around the water cooler tells a very different story, until finally the “Brady Bunch, Beaver Cleaver” breaks and the hole is so big in the dam that your tiny little finger can’t stop the flood.    

A Way Forward

So what is the perfect culture? What if raises are truly out of the question?

The real question is: would you work for you?

Every morning before you go to the office humbly ask yourself this question. As leaders of organizations we carry the key to our own cultures and it’s our responsibility to create environments that we ourselves would desire to work in, regardless of position.

Don’t get me wrong, there are companies doing it right. There are dedicated, happy, over achieving employees that wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else. But what are those companies doing that most every other company isn’t?

Let’s break it down.

1. They genuinely and sincerely care about their employees.

They have open door policies and effect change. Their employees have a voice and you are a solution. Even if it’s a down year and you can’t give them a raise, bring donuts on Monday morning, let them work from home a couple of Fridays a month. Do contests for vacation days.  Take them to lunch once in awhile. Tell them how much you appreciate them and how great of a job they’re doing…and actually mean it. Call them to tell them something great.    

2. They practice the Oreo cookie effect: Good stuff — hard stuff — good stuff.

Set meetings with your employees to tell them the great things going on with the company and where people are excelling. Then outline opportunities for growth and different areas of needed improvement, then build them up before you let them out of the room.

This is accountability, it’s creating plans for execution, and it’s motivation to get from point A to point B.

3. They build community.

Hold a “ra ra” company cookout, even if it’s just hot dogs. Do this away from work and ask them to invite their families.  

4. They develop and educate their employees.

Be a developer and educator to your employees.  Lead from the front and lead through example. Your people are starving for knowledge. Greater knowledge about the industry and their work makes them better and more equipped to do their jobs. That’s only good. Create students of the game and then watch them play the game well.

5.  They squelch negative behavior immediately.  

Negative behavior is culture killing. Don’t tolerate it, it will ruin your organization. Deal with it swiftly, decisively, and document it. If it persists, cut the cancer out and move on.

Final Thoughts

Culture is key to your success as an organization.   It keeps employees motivated, focused, happy, and productive.   It keeps your attrition rate low, which means you’re not training constantly.  

“Would you work for you?”  

Please make that answer yes.  

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Sunday, March 10, 2019


Eddie Green