24 Jul Is Your Company Culture Setting You Up For Success?
Do you know what type of culture your organization has? Most leaders will think yes, but studies show that the impression leaders have of their organizational culture is usually pretty far off from reality. Company culture impacts everything from talent attraction and retention to productivity and profitability. In my many years working with businesses to define and improve their cultures, and in conducting research for my book, I’ve identified four common types of workplace culture. Each of these four types has defining characteristics and specific areas of improvement, but the Belonging culture is the model that others should strive towards.
Organization’s with this culture are often stuck in the past. This culture is traditional (read: archaic), patriarchal, and paternalistic… and they run on fear. What the boss says goes, and heads will roll if there’s resistance. Employees don’t feel safe to openly communicate their ideas, concerns, and feedback. While a fear-based culture may work in the short-term, it most likely won’t survive the test of time.
Employees often experience:
- A lack of psychological safety
- Silencing or ignoring dissenting or different voices
- Stress, burnout and other mental health challenges
Most often this results in innovation and creativity being squished and hindered. Ultimately your clients and consumers suffer because they aren’t getting the best product or service.
Get On Board Culture
The “Get On Board” culture is characterized by homogeneity and exclusion. It’s often male-dominated, typified by horsing around and there’s a sense that everyone is there to have “fun,” which is defined by those in power. While it may look like fun between the ping pong tables and the beer tap, there is an immense pressure to fit in and minority groups get marginalized. This culture is often very “bro-ey” and tends towards problematic situations such as inappropriate jokes and shunning people (directly or indirectly) who don’t fit a certain type. If you ever watched the show “The Office” this may seem very similar. And, while “The Office” on TV may have generated a lot of laughs, similar behaviors don’t IRL.
You may have a “get-on-board” culture if:
- Groupthink is the norm
- There’s often a high turnover rate
- You’re constantly in crisis communication mode because of scandals
In today’s world of cancel-culture and viral social media, it can quickly result in negative public perception. Investors, clients, and the general public are becoming less and less likely to support companies with this type of culture.
While a NICE Culture may sound like a good thing, it’s actually quite problematic. When we are NICE or “Not Interested to Care Enough,” we emphasize being nice and getting along, but no one speaks their mind out of worry of offending others. Without authenticity and transparency, the quality of work and relationships begins to suffer. Politeness is great except when it comes at the cost of results. It’s not uncommon that in a quest to have a respectful and caring culture, the “NICE” culture arises in its place.
Here are some of the indicators you may have a “NICE” culture in your organization.
- Insincere relationships abound
- Management may be ineffective
- Feedback and candid discussions are rare
- Employees experience exclusion and resentment
- The team experiences lowered performance
Ultimately, when company culture is suffering, so too is your bottom line. If the hard conversations are not being had, then the standard for a job well done is constantly being lowered. Employee morale gets impacted too and the vicious cycle continues.
If I’ve piqued your curiosity to dive deeper, head over to our short, 9 question complimentary assessment. You’ll not only quickly learn what type of culture your organization has, you’ll also gain valuable insights improvements you can make right away.
Cultures That Boost Performance
If you want to have a high performing organization, my best advice is to focus on building a culture that embraces curiosity and invites the whole employee — all their life experiences, their strengths, their weaknesses, everything — into the workplace. This type of culture encourages engagement, creativity, and open communication. Employees respect one another but aren’t afraid to have the tough conversations that quality work sometimes demands. This is a collaborative work environment with a modern approach to power dynamics and workflow. We call this a Belonging Culture, and it’s the ideal culture to move your company toward. If you’d like to learn strategies to build a Belonging Culture, take our short assessment. And, remember, this type of culture isn’t just the right thing to do socially and emotionally, it also boosts your bottom line!