How to Fix a Poor Company Culture

company culture

Author: Dean Hunter

Published: 13th December 2017

A company’s culture can make or break the enterprise. The perception of your brand and business is everything – without a good reputation, few will want to work for you and nobody will want to buy from you. When companies come to us for help with their high turnover or recruitment problems, the first thing we address is culture.

When businesses have underinvested in culture for years, (in both time and money) the consequences can be disastrous. A poor company culture and company value is the equivalent of an un-oiled machine – it can’t function properly and may one day break down completely. So how do you know if you’ve got culture problems? Here are the main symptoms:

  • Lack of employee engagement
  • Communication problems at all levels
  • Finding it hard to attract the right talent
  • Finding it hard to retain the right talent

So when you think you have a recruitment problem think again, it’s probably a culture problem.

One of the biggest misconceptions about culture is that it only applies to large corporations. Company culture is critical for start-ups and SMEs all the way through to international organisations. Here are some top tips for fixing a poor culture.

  1. Re-write company values

Values and mission statements can change over time as the business evolves, so it’s worth evaluating them from time to time. Involve your staff in refreshing the values. Don’t create values on behalf of the staff or they will never buy into them. In most cases the people breaching the values are the management so let’s remove any hypocrisy from the company.

2. Be honest about mistakes

Staff and customers alike will prefer to work with a company which is humble and honest, and open about past failings. Admit you have a culture problem and then address it. Once you have a dedicated plan to turn the company around tell people why and tell them about the journey that you are going to take them on. Staff respond well when management put their hands up and admit they got it wrong. We’ve seen companies with 60% staff turnover turning things around with this honest approach. Get everyone on the bus and keep communication upbeat and constant to boost engagement.

3. Replace what and who doesn’t fit

Once you’ve established a brand new winning culture, you need to make sure that every person currently in the company fits within it. It’s also time to address organisational tools and strategies which don’t fully complement the culture. Update technologies or bring in people to management level who are the right fit for the culture. Just because your Head of Sales is the best seller in the company, if they treat their staff poorly they have to go. Breach your own values and your staff will tear them up and put then where they belong – in the bin.

Rebuilding a culture isn’t easy – but it is possible with expert help. Get in touch with our culture experts today:  [email protected]