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How to identify a company culture disaster

The company culture you create is the heart of your business. If the heart of your business is skipping a beat in any way, it can have damaging effects on your output. As an entrepreneur or leader of a company, it is your responsibility to monitor the company culture and make swift moves when necessary. You have to put your finger on the pulse and be ready to resuscitate when needed. What if you do not know how to identify whether you have a company culture problem? Simply put, your business will die.

The Company Culture Is Your Responsibility

Your people are your No. 1 asset. They are your producers. If they cannot relate to your company culture or if your culture is toxic, their productivity will shut down. On the other hand, when your company culture is electric you will have more output, creative ideas, camaraderie, trust, respect, and the list goes on.

Make sure your employees know your company’s core values. These values must be discussed often and practiced persistently. Think of them as the arteries to the heart, steering employees to make the right decisions. Do not put your head in the sand. You owe it to your employees and to yourself to fix the problem.

Here are three simple ways to identify whether you have a company culture disaster:

  1. Be Very Honest With Yourself

If your gut is telling you there is a problem then chances are there is trouble.

Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Productivity is down. Are you noticing sales calls are not what they used to be?
  • Your team is slacking. Do you have more customer service complaints?
  • HR is getting involved. Human resources grievances are on the rise.
  • People are leaving. Turnover is up and may be at an all-time high.
  • The vibe is off. There’s no energy around the office.
  • You hear negative talk. Trust me, if you walk around enough and be seen, you will hear the negativity.
  1. Ask Your Employees

Remember, your employees are the lifeline of your company. If they are not happy, you must figure out why. You can get to the core of the problem by keeping the dialogue open. If you fear they will not be honest with you, I have a few workarounds to get you the feedback you desire:

  • Conduct a confidential survey. This survey does not have to be elaborate or sophisticated. You can ask a few questions and leave space for honest feedback. If you need help with this, there are some great resources online. Be honest with your employees and let them know you need their feedback in order to make necessary changes.
  • Put out a suggestion box. The key to success with a suggestion box is to promote it heavily. Encourage consistent feedback. It will become a dusty old box with no significance if you do not own it.
  • Invite a random sample of employees to come talk with you. If you feel like this might be too intimidating, have them speak with another member of your staff. This might be an HR person or another trusted leader within your organization. Make sure this person is an individual with authority and can handle confidential information.
  • Hire an outside firm. Depending on the size of your company and the severity of the issue(s), you may choose to hire someone from the outside. Employees may feel more comfortable sharing with someone that is not a colleague. Just keep in mind that it might be a little pricey — but worth it if you have that big of a problem.
  • Buy employee survey software. Click here for the top-rated employee engagement software.
  1. Clearly Communicate Company Values

If you have never clearly defined your company’s values, then it will be difficult to form the culture you need in order to be successful. If they do not have values to adhere to, it’s difficult for employees to make proper decisions or to connect with anything.

Personal development and values typically coincide with the values of the company. Employees will be confused if a core value is “trust” but all the leadership makes decisions behind closed doors. What if comradery is important to someone but creative brainstorming is only done with key members of management? You get my point — you will have disgruntled employees and poor morale.

Save yourself from a culture disaster by staying involved, asking many questions and communicating clearly. Your company’s success depends on it!

This article originally appeared here on Forbes.com.

August 7, 2017 1 comment
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