7 Things That Can Kill Your Company Culture

Every company develops a unique culture that defines how people feel and behave as they work. For the most part, business owners and managers take the lead in creating a culture that reflects their values.

A study published by the Gallup organization revealed that having highly engaged employees resulted in 10% increase in customer satisfaction. Research also shows that the productivity of workers can jump by 12 percent when they feel satisfied. Such efficiency gains reduce the cost of human resources and directly impact your bottom line.

Build a healthy, satisfying work environment for your business by avoiding the following killers of your company culture.

1. Not Hiring Team Players

Some people just don’t work well with others. You might even use labels, such as “jerks” to describe them. They constantly criticize their boss and try to spread discontent. If you have this type of person on your staff, now is the time to weed them out.

Meanwhile, do everything possible to ensure that you only hire team players. Try to screen your applicants by their demeanor during interviews as well as feedback from their personal references.

2. Bureaucracy

A multitiered hierarchy can kill your company culture. Seemingly endless meetings, PowerPoints, emails, and “edicts” from upper-level management can waste time and leave your team members feeling powerless.

Help people do their job by only involving them in meetings that directly impact their work. Also, ensure that each worker directly reports to only one supervisor or manager. Empower your employees to innovate to improve quality and efficiency.

3. Stress

Deadlines are only one of the many sources of stress that can kill your company culture. You need to counter the pressure to promptly complete projects with sensible work-related practices. For instance, encourage your staff to take breaks, drink water and eat healthy food.

Fantastic managers periodically check on their direct reports to answer questions and ensure that work proceeds smoothly. If you leave your employees without the answers they need, they will feel stressed, especially as due dates approach.

4. The Boss’s Way or the Highway

As a leader, you should welcome diverse perspectives and opinions, even when they contradict your own. Furthermore, by emphasizing results rather than tasks, you can help your team develop independence and confidence.

When you let everyone participate in decision-making, you help them have a sense of value and belonging. Your employees will begin to identify themselves with the firm and always look for ways to improve the way they work.

5. Lack of “Beyond the Paycheck” Motivation

Some employees only show up to work because they want a paycheck. These workers show little intrinsic motivation and will rarely do anything outside of their job description. Such workers can kill your culture and negatively impact everything your firm does.

Engage your workforce by providing perks and incentives that transcend payday. Motivate your employees by providing each of them with a clear path to advancement. Also, consider offering non-traditional work arrangements such as remote work and flexible scheduling.

6. “Keep Your Head Down and Get it Done” Attitude

Employees who focus on doing their work without providing feedback can cripple your business. You need people on your team who will share their ideas and ask questions in ways that stimulate innovation.

To create engaged employees, never ridicule a suggestion and insist on practicing an open communications policy. By creating a safe, trusting business culture, you harness the thoughts, experiences and ingenuity of your employees for the common good.

7. Micromanagement and Lack of Trust

Healthy relationships among your team members require you to trust them. However, in many companies, business owners and managers communicate distrust by micromanaging everything their workers do.

Avoid closed-door meetings and suspicious whispers in hallways that make employees feel as though you are deciding their futures without them. Instead, treat everyone with respect and assume the role of a mentor or coach rather than an overlord.

In the end, pay attention to all the feedback you receive, including from employees who leave your business. Take your employees seriously and treat them right. By building a healthy company culture, you build a strong reputation for your firm and a solid foundation for success.

Jen McKenzie is a freelance writer from New York, NY. She is fascinated by all things having to do with words,business, education and cutting-edge. When Jennifer is not busy writing, she enjoys taking long walks and spending time with her two pets Brando & Marlon. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie

Shifting Focus: Aptitudes instead of Attitudes

We often talk about doing what we love, finding our passion, so that we can be happy at work and in life. What if we took into account our natural abilities or aptitudes when we made career decisions or before choosing a major in college. Would you be happier at work or could you get ahead faster if you worked in a field that capitalizes on your natural talents?

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Aptitudes are natural talents, special abilities for doing, or learning to do, certain kinds of things easily and quickly. Studies have shown that people are more productive, engaged and successful when their work life takes advantage of their strengths.

When I was in high school my parents took me for Natural Aptitude Testing to help me think about what I might want to major in while in college and to find out what fields I might naturally excel in when deciding on a career.

This is a great video about Aptitude Tests and How they can help you match your abilities with a career.

Aptitude Test May Match Natural Ability With Passionate Career Field

Career aptitude tests (CATs) are helpful in measuring a person’s natural skills and abilities. They can also help point out someone’s strengths and weaknesses,” says Elizabeth Lintelman, career services manager at Rasmussen College. “Good CATs can help users identify specific industries — not necessarily specific jobs — that would be a good fit for their interests. Well-written CATs can also provide test-takers with a deeper understanding of themselves and their talents. This allows test-takers to highlight those abilities and connect the dots to different job opportunities.”

Of course, there are those that think just the opposite. Serial Entrepreneur, James Caan, maintains that “It’s your ATTITUDE not your APTITUDE that determines your ALTITUDE.” According to Caan, it is important for people to have skills, training and experience but I have always been a huge believer in putting attitude above aptitude. You can come fully equipped for a role but without real enthusiasm the best skill-set will count for very little. You can train somebody and give them the tools but you can’t give them the right attitude.

What do you think? Will knowing more about your natural abilities help you make better career decisions? Join the conversation on Wednesday as #TChat welcomes Maggie Mistal and Laura Rolands to discuss how to find and claim your core career “genius.”