5 Signs Your Culture is Failing

Culture. How a common group of people think and treat each other. It’s the expected way people behave. Your family has a culture. Your group of friends has a culture. The team you work with has a culture; and so does the company for which you work.

What’s the big deal about company culture? Company culture has been given a lot of attention of late. The reality is that culture has always been important, but many companies are now paying special attention to what it is and its effectiveness. They’ve come to understand that more employees are choosing (some demanding) that the company they work for fit their values and beliefs about how employees and coworkers should treat each other, their philosophy about customers, and their belief about social causes.

As mentioned before, your company has a culture. The question is this: Is it supporting the strategy and goals of the company, or is it working against it?

Some companies have not spelled out a mission and behaviors to support a specific culture. This creates confusion for employees. For other companies there is a disconnect. They’ve documented their mission and clearly articulated the behaviors, but the behaviors are not consistently talked about and demonstrated. Recruits may be told during an interview about the mission and how people interact but find that isn’t how people really act day to day.

Here are a few symptoms of a culture that’s working against you:

  • Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. Goals are established. Project plans are created. Assignments are handed out, but goals and projects are not completed or implemented according plan. There is the never-ending list of reasons, justifications, and excuses as to why something didn’t happen.
  • “It’s not my fault.” Similar to the previous example, people find ways to deflect responsibility. They don’t find ways to take responsibility, own it, or do what it takes. People blame other teams, vendors, or coworkers for not doing their part or meeting deadlines.
  • No one’s applying. The reputation of a company is communicated by every action and conversation an employee has. Some are as innocuous as simply complaining about what they do, while others involve posting complaints on social media or other digital boards.
  • Complaints about quality. Customers can usually tell if there is something wrong with the culture of a company because it shows up in the quality of the product or service they’re receiving. Maybe there is not enough employees, or maybe the employees don’t have much training or experience. Sometimes those with experience don’t care enough to do what needs to be done correctly.
  • High performers are going. If the best employees are looking or leaving, that is a sure sign that there is a culture issue. At the same time, those that are marginal or sub par are staying. The best performers will get tired of picking up the slack for those who won’t support the team or put forth the effort.

The list can go on. 

If you’re seeing any of these symptoms in your organization look more closely at how to make changes to create the culture that supports your strategy and goals. Your culture should support you; not work against you.

What makes a company culture? Click here to find out.