Ryan Lucia, Founder of Such n Such Media & Aaron Overhead Doors. Ryan is an entrepreneur, speaker, podcast host, and consultant.
To attract top talent, business leaders consistently tout their company culture as amazing, forward-thinking and welcoming to all people. And yet, according to a 2022 survey , toxic company culture is the number one reason for the many employees who quit their jobs in 2021 and 2022. Are business leaders so disconnected from the daily operations of their company, or do they genuinely feel their company culture is good even when it's not?
My Experience With Poor Company Culture
Before starting my own business, I worked for a company that was eventually acquired. After the acquisition, the new leadership called a companywide meeting and explained that they wanted to prioritize mutual respect and build more meaningful relationships among employees and between employees and management. They spoke about how we spend eight hours a day together but hardly know each other in a real sense. During this speech, I wanted to stand and applaud their efforts and passion.
However, just a short time later I was called into HR and questioned about the lack of education on my resume—by a company where I'd been employed for over five years and held several management positions. I'm a high school dropout with no higher education degrees. This has never held me back, and I've found that it's important to value employees' skills and work attitude over education. But suddenly this company that preached "connections" and treating people with respect was questioning my value because I didn't have a degree. This is a great example of placing bureaucracy and ingrained mindsets above trying to create a culture of mutual respect between management and employees. There's no better way to make a current employee feel inferior than to question their education after they helped grow the company from an early stage.
How I Wanted To Shape My Own Company's Culture
I think too many business owners are disconnected from reality. I was motivated to start my own company because I wanted to be different. I didn't want to fire someone when they made a mistake or had a bad day, week or month. I definitely didn't want to question employees' education.
But it turns out it's hard to create an amazing culture where employees feel appreciated and still make tough financial decisions for the company's benefit. Is it possible to run a business while prioritizing people above everything else, even profit?
I've learned that it's how you go about the process that makes your company different. I can say firsthand that if you don't have profit, you can't have people. However, I don't believe profit can be more important than people. Finding this balance has been one of the biggest lessons I've learned over the last seven years of owning my own businesses.
Removing The Bad Is Just As Important As Adding The Good
Improving company culture is about more than just adding better communication and hiring more employees that maintain a positive attitude. It's also about removing elements of your company that are negatively influencing the culture.
One example would be firing a top-performing employee who is hurting company culture. Although profits may suffer for a few months, your team will see a boost in morale. It will also send a message that while performance is important, ensuring the integrity of the entire team is more valuable than any one employee.
This also applies to people who have been with you from the beginning but no longer carry the same vision for the company as it grows and evolves. I know when I was a small startup and started to see growth, I dealt with people who leveraged the fact that I needed them more than they needed me. As a leader who desires to put their employees first, this hurt, and I stopped proactively leading them. Looking back, I should have just let them go immediately.
How To Evaluate And Improve Your Company Culture
1. Questions To Ask:
• Are quality people leaving without a clear explanation?
• Do you and your leadership give your employees a hard time when they ask for vacation or need time off?
• Are you willing to bend rules for individual team members based on their unique needs?
• Do one or two employees consistently come up as problematic or difficult to deal with for other employees?
2. Steps To Take:
• Send an email to your employees allowing them to give anonymous feedback.
• Put together a group of people who are not "yes men/women" to form a culture committee.
There are endless seminars and programs to improve company culture. However, the simple steps above will allow you to recognize problem areas and start down the road to improvement. It's also important to remember times when poor company culture in the past impacted your work ethic or passion for the company.
Having an amazing company culture is a commitment: a commitment to not making the easy choices, to placing your people before profit, to looking long-term and staying engaged with daily operations. This will ensure that you won't become the leader who believes their company culture is great when it isn't and will help you create a company culture that can live up to your ideals.
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Every Company Has A Culture; Is Yours Good Or Bad? have 1160 words, post on www.forbes.com at October 3, 2022. This is cached page on Business News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.