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4 signs you're overdue for a culture transformation

Not sure if you and your business are on cultural life support? If you recognize any of these indicators, it's worth deeper consideration.

by Catie McHugh
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Grumpy colleagues, projects getting derailed, lack of communication across teams and departments… we've all been there, right?

Disagreements and bumps in the road are inevitable in any workplace, but if it's become the norm and things are running on one slightly resentful, dysfunctional cylinder, then it's time for a cultural revamp. In fact, according to new research from McKinsey, many founders view negative culture as one of the biggest barriers to the overall health and effectiveness of their companies.

Not sure if you and your business are on cultural life support? If you recognize any of these indicators, it's worth deeper consideration (and we’ll give you some tips on how to fix it, too!):

4. You're thinking of putting in a revolving door to handle the frequent turnover.

If there’s one thing that should strike fear into the hearts of founders, it’s a high staff turnover. It can be indicative of deeper problems within the business, and with the constant recruiting, retraining and lost productivity, it is extremely expensive.

It’s definitely a pain in the butt, but most importantly - it’s a morale-sinking anchor that you’d be best to address. Use high staff turnover as an opportunity to shine a light on the culture of the business. Exit interviews are a mutually beneficial forum to find out, direct from the source, the impact of the overall culture on individuals. Did they feel supported in their role? Were they given the tools to succeed? What would they do differently?

3. There's a sense of distrust in the leadership.

There’s all different types of leadership, but there’s one thing that is crucial for any leader: trust.

Edelman’s 2017 Trust Barometer unveiled some worrying downward trends in distrust towards leadership and leading institutions, with trust in government, business, media, and NGOs declining broadly over the last year. Just 29% of respondents to the study say government officials are credible, and a concerningly low 39% say the same about CEOs.

Culture forms at the top and trickles down, with a leader essentially setting the scene in a lot of ways. As can be gleaned from the alleged dumpster fire that was Uber’s culture with former CEO Travis Kalanick at the helm, a lack of attention on the culture being fostered can see it spiral out of control.

Working on inspiring teams from the top can be hugely beneficial to morale, employees and the company alike, and building trust through support, setting expectations and keeping promises is a great way to get there.

2. The office is negative, and productivity is at dire levels.

A big cloud of negativity hanging over the workplace is disastrous, in more ways than one. Perhaps the biggest impact it can have lies in its effect on employee mental health.

Unhappy colleagues are rarely productive, and a high tolerance in the workplace for undesirable conditions, bullying and general incivility has an incredibly detrimental effect.

A study by the Harvard Business Review on the effects of incivility in the workplace pointed to some startling stats: 98% of people revealed they had been treated with hostility in the workplace, and in 2011, half reported that they were treated rudely at least once a week.

So what’s the effect on productivity from a negative culture, then? According to the study:

* 48% intentionally decreased their work effort.
* 47% intentionally decreased the time spent at work.
* 38% intentionally decreased the quality of their work.

If this is familiar, it’s definitely time to rally the troops and put some serious effort into clearing the air.

1. People don't appear to be in the right roles.

Especially when there’s been high turnover, some team members may have had added responsibility, or their role has slowly morphed over time into something they didn’t feel they signed up for.

Other times, perhaps the hiring wasn’t quite on-point, and an ill-fitting team has been put together. Either way, it’s super important to iron these issues out and restore a sense of support and cohesiveness.

And you could use a tool like ours to form complementary teams based each individual’s intrinsic work attitudes and motivations, which is pretty darn cool.

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