What Companies Get WRONG About “Culture”

Written By: Malory of The Missing Ink LLC


Company culture can transcend over time and quickly build both employee and client retention. It is the landing pad foundation where the company can take off and grow with one another.

Without a strong culture, the business can begin to fracture. The success of the business directly correlates to happiness within the office environment.

So how do companies get company culture wrong? Here are the pertinent facts you need to know:

It is Meant to be Celebrated—Not Enforced

Company culture is the standards, qualities, and methods that set them apart from other businesses. It is a set of shared core values that define the company.

Company culture can be broken down into two key components:

  • How the employees operate within the workplace
  • How the public perceives the business

Company culture focuses on the satisfaction of the employees and customers by creating an image, foundation, values, and “voice” of the business itself. The more well-structured the company’s culture, the more likely it will appeal to long-term employees and clients.

When company culture is enforced, it loses its magic. Companies that enforce these values as a set of rules are sure to lose the trust, productivity, and engagement of their employees. They must focus on celebrating what makes their company unique and wonderful to work at; not force structured procedures upon them.

Inconsistent Practices

When companies are inconsistent with their company culture, things can begin to unravel. Employees will not feel seen or valued and it may be a triggering experience for them.

Employees can lean more toward quiet quitting versus actively engaging and being productive at work. The needs of the employees must be prioritized over making money. These inconsistencies in maintaining the company culture will stall success—and lose employees.

Not Flattening the Hierarchy

When companies focus on building the hierarchy, it can be dissuading to employees. Instead of focusing on gaining promotions and growing vertically Jason Fried—founder of Basecamp, suggests focusing on growing horizontally.

He promotes the notion that employees should focus on becoming masters of their craft versus focusing on climbing the corporate ladder. When everyone focuses on a unified goal, the combined efforts create magnanimous results.

Not Focusing on the Long Term

When company leads focus on solely the here and now, it can wreak havoc on the future. Without proper planning and strategy, successfully navigating through unforeseen circumstances can become taxing.

Great leaders know that focusing on long-term goals is equally as important—if not more—than short-term goals. Leaders who do not set broad goals for their team members may end up causing confusion and breaching the company culture. Long-term provides purpose and motivation to the whole team.

No Personal Development Emphasis

When team leads do not emphasize the importance of personal development with their employees, it can end up as a static working environment. Keeping things lively, motivating, and productive is the ticket to business success.

Owners and leads must emphasize personal development as a crucial part of being an employee within the company. It should come from management and be encouraged to learn new skills to become a master of their craft.

Improperly Scaling

A great thing about smaller companies is they have more time and resources to focus on growing and maintaining their company culture. When it comes time to scale, this is when things can fall apart.

If the company is scaling, without proper nurturing, the relationships with employees and clients can often disappear. Leaders need to effectively communicate the goals so employees and clients know the expectations and can work toward fulfilling them.

Bottom Line

Many companies drop the ball when it comes time to maintain the company culture. Some companies choose to enforce it and many can overlook employees altogether.

Companies that get company culture wrong can derail the productivity, motivation, and success of their business. It all starts with the employees, with strong, motivating leads at the helm to guide the way.


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