We often hear and read about ways to improve a company’s culture, but we often don’t realize the things that may be going on which are negatively impacting a company’s culture. Following below is my list (not totally comprehensive) of what I believe can nibble at bringing down the peace and harmony within a business.  

Only hire the same type of people – From the get-go, if you employ only those individuals who are exactly like you or like most of your existing employees, you’re probably going to end up with a work force who have all the same bad habits. The key to growing a company is having diversity of thought, backgrounds, cultures, and ways of thinking. This is what can produce endless ideas, perspectives, and deepen our sense of cooperation.

Keep poor managers around – As much as we need a diverse and dynamic team, we also need leaders within the company who are engaged with their staff. As long as a manager is continuing to evolve, take charge, and bring his team together to achieve goals, they will also contribute to the growth of the company. It’s when they become stagnant and disinterested that their presence can deflate the motivation of so many under them.

Limit learning opportunities to job descriptions – It might seem a stretch for an employee to pursue education in one area that at first doesn’t completely apply to what they are doing. But building skills in another field is an important part of a positive work experience. Allowing employees to pursue their passions, both in and outside of the office, and encourage information sharing between colleagues, leads to new ideas, improved systems, and an overall more educated team member.

Expect Human Resources to do all the work in creating a positive corporate culture – As hard as HR teams may try, work culture isn’t created by a handful of people. It’s starts from the top with guidance to every senior and junior manager in every division and department.

Encourage employees through their lunch hour – Your team is not comprised of robots, so expecting employees to continuously churn out quality work over the course of eight hours without breaks is unrealistic, as well as unhealthy. More than that, it suggests that employees are only valued for their work output, not as individuals. If there are things pressing, then a working lunch may be necessary but then make it up the following day or week by letting them know to take more time on one of their lunches.

Constantly reschedule important one-on-one meetings – If you’ve set aside time to meet with an employee individually, do your best to honor that meeting, without interruptions or calls. Doing so will show you value and respect the individual’s time, and care about what they have to say.

Let disengaged employees hang around – Having an engaged workforce will help propel your company forward on its path to success, while disengaged employees will actively get in the way. There’s a key difference between employees who are not engaged and those who are disengaged, the latter being a source of pervasive toxicity within the organization. If you notice individuals who are counterproductive to your team’s success, pull them aside to discuss their behavior. If nothing improves after making an effort to positively address the situation, it is time to part ways and help them find another position more suited for their needs and goals. Sometimes disengaged employees are stuck in a rut professionally and just need a little support to get back on their feet.

Force feed your corporate culture – Positive and fulfilling work cultures don’t just appear overnight. It often takes time for anyone to get the lay of the land. Cultures that slowly and gently invite people to participate are environments that usually thrive for the long term.

Creating a positive work culture where everyone feels valued, welcomed and respected is vital to an organization’s success. Be sure to take your employee’s feedback into account and lean on them to help cultivate a great work experience.

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Nancy Seiverd, President, CMI Credit Mediators, Inc.

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