In Part 1 of this series, we took a close look at workplace culture to understand how it impacts both employees and business outcomes. A positive workplace culture can help employees to be more productive. By contrast, a poor culture doesn’t just reduce productivity, it can also harm employee well-being and raise costs. But how do you know what kind of culture you have? Here, in Part 2, we will look at the red flags that can indicate a problematic company culture.
1: When people quit, you don’t ask why.
Many organizations fail to investigate why valuable employees leave, or why turnover rates may be so high. That lack of investigation creates a veil that can obscure underlying cultural problems. Worse, the lack of interest in identifying root problems can itself cause or worsen culture problems.
2: Managers focus entirely on supervising and ignore coaching, growing, and inspiring team members.
Managing is only part of what a good leader does. They are also the front-line people for fostering a positive working environment. If they fail to adequately support their staff members, workplace culture will suffer.
3: Absenteeism is high.
Absenteeism – unplanned absences without good reason – is one of the best indicators of cultural problems. Pay particular attention to trends over time: as workplace culture gets worse, absenteeism will increase overall.
4: Favoritism and political maneuvering matter more than performance.
Who gets promoted, recognized, and rewarded; and why? If workers feel that “doing their best” won’t result in appropriate recognition and rewards, they won’t do their best. Worse, they may just leave.
5: Managers and employees are aggressive toward each other.
This can run the gamut from micro-managing behaviors and cruel gossip to outright harassment and bullying. The working environment doesn’t have to be literally unsafe to be toxic. Don’t wait for formal complaints, either; toxic workplaces can implicitly or explicitly discourage healthy reporting.
6: Workaholism runs rampant and is systematically encouraged by the workplace.
When the workplace routinely and consistently demands that employees sacrifice personal time to complete their duties or serve the interests of the company, there’s a good chance you have a cultural problem. Unrealistic workloads, deadlines, and demands will poison the working environment.
Remember: There’s always room for improvement.
Even if you don’t have culture problems noticeably impacting your workplace, please realize that that fact doesn’t let you off the hook. No company is perfect, and there’s always room to improve. But how? That’s what we’ll explore in the next, and final, article in our series on workplace culture.
CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.