6 Telltale Signs Your Company Culture Needs Some Work

November 20, 2017

It’s not uncommon that the last people to acknowledge that their company’s culture needs work is, well, the leaders of the company itself. But even if everyone in your company is well aware of some minor company culture issues and even acknowledge it from time to time, there inevitably comes a point where you have to admit that your company culture needs some work. 

If you’re a company leader or if you simply care about the health of your company, pay attention to these telltale signs that you need wake up and start investing time and effort into your company culture in order to avoid negative repercussions. Because whether it’s a major public blowup (ahem, Uber) or things within your company just seems to be falling apart, a poor company culture may be the culprit and, if you don’t stay on top of it, it will cost you in the form of lost productivity and lost team members. 

[You know what else costs your company a lot of money and resources? A poor candidate experience. Get the free guide on The Hidden Costs of A Poor Candidate Experience]

The 6 tell-tale signs of a declining company culture:

#1 – A noticeable increase in disengaged employees

A positive company culture isn’t necessarily marked by employees singing your praises throughout their workstations, but engagement generally looks like this: people feel challenged and go above and beyond to do great things at work, unplanned absences are rare and reserved for emergencies, work friendships are common and positive, and employees are proud of their achievements at work. If you’ve noticed that these behaviors are declining – that’s it taking more and more to make employees feel valued or the culture as a whole feels heavy or negative, your company culture might be in trouble.

#2 – Negative company reviews

Have you checked your online reviews lately? Not the kind you find on Yelp! but the kind you find on employer review platforms like Kununu? If your online reviews are trending toward the negative (and we’re not talking about the just-fired, all-caps, “%&$@ YOU!” kind of reviews), it might be indicating an underlying problem with the company culture. If your leaders and staff aren’t reflecting the companies values every day, employees may leave feeling stifled, underwhelmed, undervalued, or even abused. Take your online reviews seriously despite the extra shot of courage that comes with anonymity; it’s one of your most valuable tools.

#3 – Direct feedback from employees

Some employers would do anything for an honest, transparent employee while others would prefer to believe that all is well whether all is well or not. Honest employee feedback is critical and rare; if your employees are telling you there’s a problem, there’s a problem in the way things are done or in the way things are perceived, and both problems are very real. Always let employees know that their input is highly valued and welcomed, now and in the future, even if it was shared with more passion than you can comfortably withstand.

#4 – Increase in customer complaints

Whether you sell a product or service, what you’re really selling is your team. And when your team is disengaged, disenchanted, or downright mad, your product and your customer feel the brunt of their dissatisfaction. If customer complaints are on the rise, here’s your sign: your culture is on the decline.

#5 – Difficulty filling open positions

A remarkable 79% of employees don’t accept a job offer until they’ve checked the employer’s reviews online. If you’re finding that you have fewer candidates applying for open roles or fewer candidates accepting job offers, it might be an indication that your word-of-mouth marketing – both online and in person – isn’t singing your praises. And if that’s the case, there’s likely an underlying cause for it.

#6 – Decreased productivity

Finally, engaged employees are productive employees. They come in early, stay late, and dive so deeply into their work that they produce innovative, detailed, quality work every time. They love what they do, enjoy a challenge, and take great pride in their results. If you’ve noticed that productive has declined (you can measure this using revenue per employee), it’s a strong indication that your company culture is suffering. Drill down your metrics to identify the division, department, or team that’s been most affected to begin the problem-solving process.

All companies fight the culture battle. It’s never too late to adjust your sails; if you’ve identified that your company culture needs some work, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and give it the effort it deserves to get back on track.



Linda Le Phan
Senior Content Marketing Manager at kununu.

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