We often talk about what makes a good culture, but what about the pitfalls to avoid? Today we’re exploring 5 things that can kill a good company culture, and how to help prevent them draining momentum from your efforts to improve your organisation’s culture.
Have you experienced any of these in a workplace? Let us know in the comments!
Yes, every workplace needs structure and rules in place, that’s a given. But where do we draw the line between guidelines that help people and those that hinder? What we’re talking about here is rules for the sake of rules, the old fashioned “this is the way we’ve always done it” approaches – guidelines that really don’t add any value, but in fact now may actually prevent people from working at their full potential.
These are some examples you might have encountered before:
If an employee comes to work and does an amazing job between the hours of 9am to 5pm or 7am to 3pm or 10am to 6pm – does their start or finish time really matter? If one employee can achieve everything they need to in 5 hrs, and another takes 8, who would you rather have working for you? Outside of industries where the work is time-sensitive, the focus should be on outcomes, not regimented hours.
When processes don’t align with modern technology, this can seriously kill efficiency, and leave your people feeling frustrated. Make sure you’re encouraging your people to constantly seek better ways to do things, not inhibiting them. We know it can be painful to constantly update policies and get them signed off when it’s a manual process – so make sure you have a way to automate this.
Open communication is key to any healthy workplace culture. It helps the leadership team stay in touch with what’s going on in every team and make sure they all have the tools they need to do their best work. Falling to have an avenue in place for people to provide input not only inhibits this but also sends a message that their voice isn’t valued.
One of the easiest ways to ensure feedback takes place regularly – without adding to the never-ending to do list managers already have – is to automate the continuous feedback process.
Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
Acting on feedback doesn’t always mean saying ‘yes’ to every request, but it does mean listening to what your people have to say, and either taking action where change is needed, or taking the time to explain the bigger picture. Not taking this step, can be easily interpreted as showing a lack of respect for your team. At best they will be frustrated, at worst, their trust will be diminished.
In other words, gathering feedback doesn’t hold any weight unless it’s actually listened to, and responded to. By demonstrating that this process is happening, your team will start to feel increased trust and transparency which are key Culture building blocks. Your people will value the feedback process and be more motivated to contribute feedback of their own.
The thing about keeping people engaged and loyal to your organisation is they need to have faith in the direction it is going in. If a promise is made but not delivered, this will most likely cause frustration and erode trust. After that, even if you have the best intentions or plans for your people, they won’t have confidence that they can trust you to follow through.
Employees in high-trust workplaces are: 76% more engaged and take 13% less sick days.
Our biggest tip to help avoid doing this inadvertently is to have all feedback recorded in one central location online. When feedback is gathered on paper, it’s far too easy for it to get misplaced or lost track of.
On top of these factors, sometimes it’s the little details that can have a big impact. Making work an enjoyable place to be helps your people do their best work and maintain a positive environment. It doesn’t mean you need to fit-out your office with bean bags and ping pong tables, but think about things like having comfortable desk and chairs, ventilation, lighting and space.
It also means giving people the resources they need to do their job, and limiting frustrating tasks, admin and paperwork as much as possible and by designing an employee experience that suits the specific needs of your organisation. By giving your people the best possible environment to work in, you can minimise distractions or any challenges that might get in the way of them performing to the level they would like to achieve.
Have you identified any of these culture traps in your workplace? Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing some more ideas to monitor and improve your company culture here on the Insights blog.