Every business has a culture—that’s right, even yours! But what makes the difference between a healthy company culture and a toxic one? Read on to find out.
First, let’s get clear about what company culture is. It can seem kind of hazy, but culture is just the collective attitudes and behaviors of your organization. Culture is how your company does things—and it’s not one-size-fits-all. Now that you know what it is, you may be asking: how do you build a great company culture? That’s a great question! And we have the answers (and some tips you can use to transform your business). Let’s get into it
The way your team experiences your business has a major impact on how effective they are in their roles. A miserable work experience (aka a hostile work environment) is bad for your business’s brand and growth potential, as well as team members’ productivity and mental health. And the opposite is true too—a healthy culture keeps your team happy and engaged in their roles and contributes to the growth of your business. According to a survey by Gallup, businesses with the highest employee engagement are 23% more profitable than those with the lowest employee engagement.
Toxic Company Culture Characteristics
So, what does a harmful company culture look like? It may be glaringly obvious in some areas, but other symptoms can be subtle. Here are a few signs you may have a bad company culture:
- Team members don’t feel safe to communicate openly with leaders
- Illegal, dishonest or unethical behaviors (especially by leadership)
- High team member turnover rate
- Pressure from leaders to constantly work long hours, not take vacation days, and neglect work-life balance
- Team members constantly fear failure or being fired without warning
- Gossip and work-related drama
- Passive-aggressive communication
Examples Of Companies With Good Cultures
Every company, big or small, has a workplace culture. Here are some examples of healthy company cultures:
This online shoe giant consistently gets ranked as one of the best corporate cultures in America—and that doesn’t happen by accident. When describing their company culture, Zappos said, “We’ve learned that if you identify your company’s core values, hire by them, onboard team members by them, and truly live by them; then your business is on a long-term path to success, profit and growth.” From its hiring practices to customer service to the work environment, everything and everyone reinforce the company’s core values.
Named one of Inc. magazine’s Best Workplaces of 2020 and listed in FlexJobs’ Top 100 Companies to Watch for Remote Jobs in 2021, the virtual staffing firm has built a highly engaged team and award-winning culture—even while working 100% remote. BELAY attributes that to knowing how culture is really built: with values, not gimmicks. “[Our culture is] not Ping-Pong tables, fully stocked beer fridges, and nap pods,” said BELAY. “We instill our mission and values of gratitude, teamwork, vision, passion, fun and God into every one of our nearly 1,200 remote workforce team members.”