Is it a Flat Tire or Blown Engine? How to Fix a Broken Workplace Culture


There’s nothing more frustrating than car trouble, it doesn’t matter if it’s flat tire on the way to work or the dreaded dead engine. Workplace culture is a lot like taking care of your car, invest a little early and it can pay big dividends later.

Workplace culture is the buzzword of the business world in 2019. It’s catching on reflects the fact that consistent and positive workplace culture is essential to business success.

A workplace’s culture is the sum of the company values, superior to inferior dynamics, norms, and goals from the top down.

The workplace culture informs employees on how to handle any situation without having to ask a superior for help every time. It fills in the answer to nearly every question. It even establishes how employees handle issues or if they come to you with new ideas that could help your business grow.

Workplace culture can be intentionally and unintentionally instilled.

Typically, unless you’re really lucky, it’s the unintentional cultures that can create problems.

Evaluate Your Workplace Culture

If your workplace culture seems broken, what’s wrong? But, also what’s good?

Telltale Signs of a Poor Workplace Culture

  • Employee’s don’t communicate
  • Employee peers are more likely to complain about each other to management than they’re to help one another
  • Employees refuse to cover shifts or help another with their workload
  • High turnover of staff
  • Micromanagement by leadership
  • Issues go unreported
  • Frequent tardiness by leadership and lower-level staff
  • Inconsistent office discipline

Each of these issues can be a complete disaster for your business. And each of these issues is rooted in and perpetuate a poor office culture.

For example, when issues continually go unreported they can create more problems. However, employees will be unlikely to come to you with any problems if they fear that they’ll lose their jobs the second something that goes wrong. Then, on the flip side, they may stop reporting issues if nothing is done about the problem when they do.

If you don’t care, why should they?

How to Fix a Negative Workplace Culture

There are a few different approaches to improve your workplace culture but they all start with getting very very intentional about it. Everything from your office set up, to your personal time off policies, daily processes and procedures, to your hiring process influences your office culture.

Thus, you have to think about how routine aspects of your business influence the atmosphere of your workplace and the attitudes of your employees.

Leadership Behavior has the Biggest Impact

This shouldn’t come as a surprise but we’re going to say it anyway. Poor habits by management breed poor habits by your employees.

If a manager is always late it sends a cue to everyone that their timeliness (getting to work on time or even project deadlines) isn’t important. The same goes for other processes. A manager who complains a lot or never follows procedure will have employees who do the same.

Thus, if you have a problem with your workplace culture, start by looking at behaviors and attitudes in leadership roles (this will include you!). As you create positive change in the leadership of your business you’ll see a change throughout your entire business.

Promote Your Mission in Your Policies

To improve work culture, one of the most important things you can do is actively instill your company values in how you treat your employees. This is going to look different for every business because every business is unique.

REI’s employee retention rates are double the industry-standard. This is largely due to their above and beyond workplace culture strategies.

REI state’s it’s core purpose is to “inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship”. This is the guiding light for not only what they sell but intentional policies in place to foster this attitude and aspiration in their employees.

For example, every employee is given a “Yay Day” option every six months to go out and explore the outdoors, offer an Employee Challenge Grant to give employees access to gear, and for truly loyal employees (we’re talking 15 years with the company) they give paid sabbaticals. All of these perks support the company mission and acts on its core purpose.

Take a look at what makes your company unique and how you can create purpose in your employees.

A Broken Workplace Culture CAN be Fixed

Get creative and don’t be afraid of expecting big change. Improving your workplace culture will supercharge growth and drive success. Does your business need a culture tune-up?

See Also:

How to Create a Corporate Culture of Curiosity

Built Not Bought – How to Grow a Healthy Company Culture

Company Culture is More Than a Hiring Asset – Here’s Why

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