Today I googled "why workplace culture is important", and the search REsults were 303 million in less than a second. Our collective culture has us looking up things on the internet and expecting immediate answers. Google hits the mark - article after article. From Gallup, Forbes, and Entrepreneur, to SHRM, and other industry leaders talking about workplace culture. By this time, most of us understand "why" it is important.
Attracting talent, driving engagement, employee happiness and productivity, and of course - retention. All these elements impact the company’s bottom line, so why is it that even though we got 303 million results, most organizations don't focus on culture?
The answer is simple – companies do not focus on it until they know it's a problem.
The Workplace Bullying Institute’s 2021 Workplace Bullying Survey found that 65% of bullies are bosses, up from 61% in 2017. These bosses typically are successful at managing up and instilling enough fear in subordinate staff that they remain silent. Most often, leadership is not aware.
Take for example the news of the toxic culture on the Ellen DeGeneres show, (which has 1.4 million results when googled) until people began talking about it, the effects of the culture behind the scenes went unnoticed. This is unfortunate, but it is the reality. For the most part we, as a society only learn of it or think of it when we hear stories that make the news. Think about the toxic work environments that came out in Hollywood created by Harvey Weinstein, that were decades in the making. Statistically however, we likely have been a witness to; or been bullied ourselves at some time during our careers.
Not all toxic cultures are ones where people are sexually harassed, but there is almost always a factor of intimidation, and fear of retaliation for speaking up. Additionally, there are many types of toxic cultures, all with different drivers. Remember Wells Fargo and Enron? Completely different scenarios and effects, same underlying problem of a toxic culture of intimidation and fear of reprisal.
In our day-to-day work of deadlines, driving organizational goals, and striving for success, we tend to forget that there are human beings involved in the process. The people getting the job done are the ones who ultimately suffer when culture starts to slip or regress, long before it becomes toxic. In the early stages many people can “manage the stress”, but as the environment gets worse and bullies are able to stay under the radar, it becomes increasingly difficult to sustain. Even if people are starting to recognize and understand why culture is important, and that their workplace has a huge problem; they don’t know where to begin in order to make it better, and typically they don’t feel they have the power to do so. Many don’t have the courage to step up, to speak up, and instead choose to keep their head down. Until they can’t anymore, and most leave the organization searching for a better fit. Leaders rarely get the opportunity to act, until it is too late. So – how do we move the needle? How do we get from reactive to proactive in the area of workplace culture? We start by asking the right questions.
1. How do we fix our culture? The million-dollar question.
Or maybe I should say the 600-million-dollar question! There are 626 million REsults on my google search that included many HR firms, industry leaders, marketing firms, data analytic companies, and coaches like me. Organizations and people who understand culture know that there is not a one-size-fits all approach. Each company is unique, and so is its culture. Everyone in the organization has a responsibility when it comes to rescuing their culture.
2. What is involved in the rescue process?
At Culture Coaching Solutions, we help you get to the bottom of things, quickly. Our proven approach, CultuREscue, works across all levels of the organization to create a sense of involvement, empowerment, and ownership in your culture transformation.
It starts with a Call. I will provide a free consultation call to talk about our services and begin to Understand a bit about your company and its culture. If we continue our journey together, we talk about Launching your culture change initiative & the next steps in the process. We come to you, for on-site visits to Talk with Senior Leadership, and people throughout your organization. These visits typically Uncover some of the things that you may not be aware of and help us gauge the depth of the culture issues. Our next phase, Realization, can take us down different culture change paths, based on the unique struggles that have been illuminated. Next, we Expand into Solutions. There are many levers to pull here, and our Culture Coaching is what sets us apart. Coaching across your organization will Unleash the power, innovation, and creativity that is currently not enabled, because of the environment. Enact your culture transformation today!