7 Things Breaking Your Culture

Company culture is a more than just a buzzword tossed out by “Thought Leaders”. Every company has assets—most of them can be quantified. Company culture however is a critical component to the health of any organization and is nearly impossible to place a dollar value on. The costs of a bad company culture can be staggering.

In most cases company’s culture is a direct reflection of its leadership. Good leadership tends to be reflected in a good company culture. The same can be said of poor leadership leading to a poor culture. Lot’s of companies attempt to define their culture with mission and vision statements. This is a great place to start, but words on a document can often be substantially different then the overall feel, mood and performance among the people within the organization. I typically find the best way to get a sense of a company’s true culture is by understanding the people in the organization. Knowing what they think and feel is a far better indicator of the health of an organization than reading a vision or mission statement. How the team acts, speaks and performs is the most accurate indicator of the health of a company’s culture.

Over time even great companies can go from having a vibrant corporate culture to one that is caustic and leads to low productivity, high turn over and reduced profits. Of course these are two extremes, but the trip from one to the other doesn’t take that long.

If a company’s culture is starting to not feel right and the organization is starting to show symptoms of reduced productivity, margin erosion, loss of market share, or higher employee turn over you culture is at risk.

Here are 7 areas that can have an adverse effect on company culture:

Job Demand/Job Fit

Every job will recognize certain behaviors, reward specific motivational drives, and require specific skill sets. Over time, however a job can easily outgrow the employee. As companies evolve and market conditions change it’s not uncommon for a job to require more from an employee than they are currently capable of. If the employee and the company don’t recognize this soon enough once good employees can find themselves being unable to do the job.

Effort/Reward Balance

I’m not talking just about money here. Yes compensation is a critical component in the health of company culture, but it is just one component of employees feeling adequately rewarded for their contributions. Studies show the things most important to employees are respect from their peers, recognition from their managers, a positive work environment, and opportunity for personal growth. Compensation alone will not fix culture.


Today’s employees want to feel Empowered and Involved in their role in the organization. Empowerment is another corporate buzzword but it doesn’t have to be. Setting up guidelines and parameters for employees to make decisions on their own not only gets them more involved it frees management up to do other things—like manage! It’s been said companies grow when people do. One of the many jobs of leadership is to grow future leaders.

Organizational Change

The only constant in life is change. Its inevitable, but it doesn’t need to be a secret. If the team doesn’t know what’s coming, or where the company is headed they cannot follow you! Ask yourself: Does the staff know the Evolution and Vision of the company and is this clearly Communicated?


Anyone one in a leadership role, from the CEO to a team lead, has an impact on the culture of a company. All employees seek leadership! If you, as a leader, aren’t happy with the culture of your team the first place to look may be the mirror. One of my favorite expressions with leaders is “Model the behavior you seek”.

 Social Support

It’s in our DNA to seek an atmosphere of cooperation and support at work. It’s how great things get done. In the absence of social support people will avoid challenges and can easily become frustrated.

Job Security

The statistics of employee engagement are staggering. Studies show less than 70 percent of today’ workforce cares about their work and over 17 percent are actively disengaged and don’t care about their work at all. When people don’t have a sense of job security they are at risk of leaving for a better opportunity—even a perceived one. Are your people “All in” or are they just going through the motions?

Any of these areas, by themselves, can have an adverse impact on a company. When people on your team are feeling stress or pressure in more than one of these areas you’ll likely start to see a culture you don’t recognize.

If you’re a team leader and would like to know the health of your culture email here for a free culture assessment and debrief.