Building a healthy company culture is no easy feat. It takes hard work and dedication from everyone at your company – especially those in leadership roles. And the work’s not done after you establish a great company culture. It needs to be nurtured in order to be maintained and improved. If you’re not carefully tending to it, company culture can backslide, resulting in a slump.
The phrase “culture is king” didn’t appear out of thin air. . Companies that great work environments have less turnover, excellent employer brand, and higher productivity. All of which contributes to a big payoff for your bottom-line – companies with happy employees outperform their competitors by 20%. And conversely, toxic culture can cause lasting damage to your company.
In light of this, it’s critical to keep an eye out for these top 8 tell-tale signs of culture in need of a change.
1. Longtime employees are leaving in droves.
If employees who have stuck with you for years are regularly tendering their resignation, it’s time to evaluate the work environment you’ve cultivated. Employees may feel the need to jump ship when they don’t see the business growing (or worse, see it on the decline). It’s also possible that your best workers aren’t getting the recognition they deserve for their years of dedication.
2. New hires don’t stay long.
Bringing new people into the fold is essential for growth. It’s also a costly venture. Recruiting and onboarding efforts eat up valuable time, money, and effort. But it’s a worthwhile expense to bring in new hires – provided your turnover rate stays low. If you’re churning through new recruits – especially those lasting less than a year – take a step back. Did they have sufficient training? Are employees getting burned out? Not feeling welcome? Not being appropriately compensated? When new employees don’t stick around, it’s a sign you should reevaluate your onboarding process.
3. Online reviews are negative.
Employer review sites like Glassdoor and Comparably are a finger on the pulse of your company culture. If your ratings have started to dip, take notice. Empowered by anonymity, employees tend to be (brutally) honest about their experience working for you. These reviews can be a valuable tool for understanding if things are starting to slide. Most employees don’t leave low ratings and no review – they will typically detail why they feel the way they do. Plus, many reviewers make suggestions on how they feel the company could right the ship.
4. Referral programs aren’t bringing in many options.
Company referral programs are a great way to bring in new employees who are soft-vetted by your current staff. But if your efforts aren’t bringing in many applicants (especially in spite of a referral bonus), take a step back and consider why. Many employees are eager at the prospect of working with friends or past colleagues in exchange for a nice financial incentive. However, if the culture you’ve created is toxic, people don’t want to bring their people into it.
5. Repeatedly missing your financial targets.
Sometimes, you have a rough quarter – it happens. But if your company is repeatedly falling short on their revenue goals, it’s important to consider a potential root of the cause. Do employees have the ability to meet their targets? If it’s not a skill issue, could it be a lack of interest? It’s also possible they don’t feel their efforts will be worth the reward. Poor culture has a direct negative impact on productivity. Empowering employees is key to helping each person understand how their actions contribute to the company’s bottom line. Make sure everyone has appropriate training and workers who meet (or exceed) their goals are recognized and rewarded, and you’ll see productivity bounce back.
6. Different departments don’t work together.
When departments’ efforts aren’t synchronized, it can be felt company wide. Company-wide communication and collaboration are critical to making your business function at its best. But if your departments are siloed, avoid interaction, or feel negatively about other parts of the business, this is your wakeup call. Without synergy, what could be a well-oiled machine will fall apart amid office infighting and politicking. It’s critical that your leadership teams work together to foster a sense of company-wide community. After all, every piece of the business is interconnects. Good product can be easily marketed, which can then be easily sold, and ultimately easily retained. But if there’s a break in that chain, you’ll feel ripple effects company-wide.
7. Employees don’t trust your leadership team.
Culture comes from the top. C-suite and managerial staff are the most critical players in the culture game when it comes to keeping the company happy and healthy. But if managers throw each other under the bus, disrespect their coworkers, or micromanage their reports, you’re going to have a toxic storm brewing. Employees need to feel safe to express concerns to their leaders. When they don’t, many can feel resentful or trapped in a workplace that doesn’t appear to listen to them. Make sure your workplace is welcoming. You can implement open door policies and anonymous feedback surveys to make sure that all employees have the opportunity to be heard when they need help.
8. It’s all work, all the time.
Work-life balance is the cornerstone of positive company culture. Great leaders understand that their workers have a life outside of work – and they respect it. While important, work can’t be the top priority for every employee all the time. That’s a one-way ticket to burning out your workforce. Are employees being forced to work on weekends, log 60+ hour weeks, or be constantly on-call? It’s time to reevaluate. Encourage employees to use their vacation time, foster a sense of community, and allow your employees the flexibility they need to enjoy their lives outside of work. Promoting work-life balance will lead to happier employees – and a healthier culture overall.
If you’ve noticed any of these signs, it’s time to take action.
It’s not too late to reboot your company culture. It can start with simply sending out a company-wide survey requesting honest feedback. This way, you can identify top areas of concern, figure out a game plan, and get the full support of your leadership time. Healthy company culture is an investment that pays off in the long run, with reduced turnover, higher productivity, and increased revenue. It should be a critical part of your overall organizational strategy. Prioritize your company’s culture by setting goals and plans to meet them. Focus on the wellbeing of your employees and make their fulfillment a top priority to right the ship – before it sinks.