Does your company culture need an overhaul?

Most organizational adversities arise because of a broken company culture. When a company or organization goes through difficulties, such as failure to meet goals or high turnover, many leaders overlook or refuse to acknowledge the source of the roadblocks they are facing. Company culture may seem inconsequential but in reality it is the core and foundation of any organization. Your values, ethics, company mission, goals and work environment are influenced by your company culture.

Christian Wandeler·June 11, 2021·7 min read

Most organizational adversities arise because of a broken company culture.

When a company or organization goes through difficulties, such as failure to meet goals or high turnover, many leaders overlook or refuse to acknowledge the source of the roadblocks they are facing.

Company culture may seem inconsequential but in reality it is the core and foundation of any organization. Your values, ethics, company mission, goals and work environment are influenced by your company culture.

In a survey conducted by Deloitte, an astounding 82 percent of respondents said they believe that culture is a competitive advantage. Influencing hiring, HR, retention and of course business performance.

You need to assess whether your current company culture is an asset or a liability. If it’s causing harm then you need to take action and address it.

Here are some signs that your company culture needs fixing:

Lack of trust between employees and leadership

In order for a team to function well, there needs to be trust between its members and leaders. If you find that there is a lot of dissonance between your leadership and their teams, then it’s a sign your company culture needs to change.

You aren’t hitting your goals

Hitting goals and targets are critical to yielding results. If you aren’t reaching your goals or constantly face delays and failure, then you need to figure out how to adjust your company culture.

Your retention rate is low

A study by Gallup found that employees who are engaged at work - due to a good company culture - are 59% less likely to look for a different job in the next 12 months.

It has also been found that 60 to 70 percent of all employee turnover is voluntary, due to low employee engagement and lackluster company culture. High turnover and low retention is another warning sign that your company culture needs improvement.

It is important to keep in mind that the cost of replacements, after turnover, is approximately $15,000 per person for an employee earning a median salary of $45,000 a year. High turnover is costly in time, money and resources.

Lack of ownership and responsibility

There are two factors to this point, one is accountability. When employees are not held accountable for misconduct or given adequate accolades for accomplishments, they begin to doubt the integrity of their company. They either become careless or become too ‘by-the-book’. Neither is good for your company.

The other factor is expectations. If expectations are not set clearly, your team members will feel ‘lost’ and it will be difficult for them to take accountability for their performance.

Accountability and standards are successfully set through company culture.

High volume of burnout

Are your employees experiencing frequent burnouts that lead to tardiness and a high volume of absences? Then it’s a significant warning bell that there’s something wrong with your company culture. High volume of burnout can usually explain a high turnover rate.

Significant need for overtime because of the need to finish tasks or the inability to accomplish tasks during the workday can also lead to burnout.

Unhealthy competition between employees

There is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition. It should serve as motivation and bring out the best amongst your employees. However, when it becomes unhealthy, chaotic and causes discord, then it’s a sign that your company culture needs to be addressed.

Too much ‘drama’

Gossip and rumours amongst your employees is another telltale sign of a broken company culture. It breeds distrust and contempt, and turns the environment within your organization toxic. Building a safe climate is important to keep employees engaged and happy.


Lack of synchronicity

When a team is not in sync, then your organization or company will be in disarray. Despite varying ideas and personalities, everyone should still be on the same page and work towards the same goals.

If you recognize one or more of these signs within your company or organization, then this probably means that your company culture needs an overhaul.

So how do you address your broken company culture?

Re-visit company core values, mission vision and purpose

Your core values, mission vision and purpose will serve as the foundation of your company culture. This will give you a focus point to align every process, system and action that everyone takes within your organisation.

If you have these already then reassess them. Figure out what is working and what isn’t. You might need to tweak them or completely change them, but this is a good place to start.

Assess leadership. Reinforce roles and responsibilities

Your leaders play an essential role in your organization. You need to assess the roles you need fulfilled and the people in them. Sometimes you might need to reposition or replace. Other times all you will need to do is reinforce what their roles are and what their responsibilities will be. This means clearly defining what is expected of them and suggesting how they might meet those expectations.

Consider your organizational design and structure

Employee motivation and engagement are linked to the autonomy and responsibility that employees have. The organizational design is key in providing opportunities for participation and self-management. The way an organization is designed has a big impact on its culture. Typically hierarchical pyramids with their silos and bureaucracy have negative side effects. They demotivate people and give them less opportunity to develop intrinsic motivation than flatter or networked organizations.


Look at your current employee engagement

Employee engagement is another crucial component of company culture. It means your employees are happy, loyal and invested in the company.

Many leaders in organizations fail when it comes to employee engagement because there is no standard way to quantify it. Start with things like employee acknowledgement. When a team member accomplishes something, what do you do? What is the quality of their work? Figuring out your employee engagement will help you with your company culture.

Listen to your people

Find a way to encourage your employees to be open and honest about what they need in the workplace. Listen to them and find a way to create a harmonious environment that everyone will be happy with. It can be difficult but it isn’t impossible.

When team members feel like they are heard, it increases employee engagement and can be extremely helpful in building a good company culture.


Culture Transformation

Culture transformation can be a huge undertaking but is sometimes necessary when company culture is broken. Taking the steps we have shared with you here is a good place to start. Remember that it will take time but will be completely worth it.

Continue to assess and adapt

Company culture is not a one and done kind of thing. It takes constant work. Once you have established your ideal company culture, continue to assess and adapt as your organization grows and changes.

What’s next?

Company culture should be a priority for any company or organization. Your company culture strategies will drive your results. It is also a constantly evolving entity that needs to be consistently monitored and adjusted. You need to be vigilant in making sure that your culture is functioning as your core and foundation and that it is aligned with your people, systems and processes.


Need help in developing your company culture or want to shape the future of work? Check out the Semco Style Expert Certification program.

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