Company Culture

4 Possible Ways to Screw Up Your Company Culture

Jorn Vanysacker

VP Marketing at Intuo I'm a strong believer in "VISION" as a base for innovation and future exploration. My entrepreneurial spirit drives my passion in creating great concepts and brands that are aligned with a shared vision, every step of the way

Before you start thinking “dude, my company's culture is solid,” do consider some stats that are relevant to any (growing) company, indicating that “culture” is more complex than merely purchasing five extra ping-pong tables, and treating your employees to 25 pizzas once a month.

Research shows that 86% of business leaders rate culture as one of the more urgent talent issues, yet, only 14 percent understand what the “right culture” really is.

So What Is the Right Culture?

Achieving the "right culture" isn't something that is done over night. It is also a unique process that will only be applicable to your specific organisation. However, it does involve avoiding a couple of pitfalls. We've summed up four popular beliefs that should be eradicated from your mind as a business owner or as a team leader. If you do this, you’ll get a whole lot closer to the “right culture” for your company.

  1. “She’s Young, so a Profitable Company Like Ours Will Be Mega Attractive."

    Study after study has shown that companies with a strong sense of purpose and a clearly defined set of cultural values outperform their peers. Millennials state that their organisation’s purpose is the main reason they choose their employer. Only 27 percent of millennials believe it is a company’s sole purpose to make money (down from 35 percent in 2013). The remaining 73% believes the main focus of an organisation ought to be on stakeholders and impact.

    Screw millennials? Think again. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that since 2015 millennials have taken over the majority of the workforce and by 2030 this hyper-connected generation will make up 75% of the workforce.

    It’s thus up to you as a company to clearly state your mission and communicate this to the outside world. This is not only valuable for attracting the right people to hire, but also to reach the right segment of customers.

  2. “We Need More Structure. We Need More Hierarchy.”

    Today’s economic model is under attack. Research shows that 92% of companies believe their organisational design is not working, yet only 14% knows how to fix it.

    The majority of these organisational models revolve around big top-down functional structures that are anything but flexible. Using a dozen of layers in your organisation hinders a fluent transition of knowledge that should, in fact, be transmitted as quick as possible.

    The manager of the team leader's coach decided that...

    Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be. The solution lies in empowering people in smaller decentralised teams. Work on an organisational culture that keeps people aligned and innovative in serving customers on the front line. Start thinking more down the line of a ‘network of teams’ instead of hierarchical units. This also implies delegating responsibility (and accountability) and grant people a certain amount of trust.

  3. “Have You Done What I Asked You To?” (Times 20)

    Micromanagement is a weapon of mass destruction that kills decentralisation and the right culture.

    ‘Power by control’ and you’re fired. Hello there, ‘Power by people’!

    What would motivate you more?

    A. Your manager telling you to stand in the cold streets and flyer for two days straight, or

    B. You and your manager agreeing that — considering the goals of the company — flyering two days straight would actually make an impact.

    The answer is simple. You WILL increase purpose and performance by allowing your team members to enjoy decision-making opportunities within autonomous work teams. Awarding people more autonomy, results not just in higher productivity, but also results directly in more satisfaction in the workplace.

    As a manager or team leader, don’t just tell the people in your team what they should do. Take the time to explain the value of this assignment, while stressing the importance of their efforts. Make the why of the task clear and paint the bigger picture. 

  4. “A Pay Raise Is the Best Praise.”

    Apart from a few specific roles (e.g. certain sales profiles that work commission based), the key to a high-performing employee isn’t money.

    Of course, money is a driver (let’s not kid ourselves), but there a few things that score higher on the list than that. We are all performing on a daily basis. So how come we are only talking about it once a year during the annual review? Instead, just do what all of us constantly do with our friends and family: TALK!

    If someone did something great , simply tell them they did an awesome job and how it impacted the team/organisation! You’ll make them feel great, and motivate them to do even more. Why wouldn’t you help someone grow to be a better person? Give feedback and they’ll thank you! Have a regular one-on-one moment with your co-workers and team leader. Find what motivates them! Agree on and set out team and personal objectives to work towards the same company purpose.

    These are just four pitfalls that can hurt your culture. If you feel you have some other examples (that you’ve experienced for yourself), we'd be glad to listen and maybe turn it into a story that other people can learn from. So reach out to us, because (excuse us for the overused phrase) sharing is caring!