Is your company culture broken?

Posted 12/02/19 Team Vaco

Look for these five signs of a broken or toxic company culture.
And then fix it in three steps.

Are you worried that your company culture is broken? Find out how to identify a failing company culture and then learn out how to fix it.

“If you have the right people on your team, you trust in each other, you give them the right tools, and you give them a platform, and then you get out of their way,” says Brian Waller, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Vaco.

5 signs your company culture needs a tune-up

Let’s face it — a broken, toxic, and failing company culture doesn’t happen overnight. And when you’re in the thick of things, it can be tough to pinpoint what’s wrong. The faster you’re able to identify the warning signs, the more efficiently and effectively you’ll be able to get your team back on the road to success.

Here are five indicators that your company culture or your company culture could stand some maintenance:

#1: Your team reminds you of your high school cafeteria

We’re not talking about dismal school lunches and sticky floors, we’re talking about social cliques, aggression, and back-stabbing. It was bad enough in high school, but it’s unbearable and counterproductive in the workplace.

#2: It’s impossible to attract world-class talent

If job openings remain vacant for long periods of time or your team is plugging the gaps with under-qualified candidates who are merely clocking in, it’s time to take a look inward. 

#3: Employee turnover is the norm

So you’re organizing more lack-luster send-offs than raucous birthday celebrations? That’s not good. A Gallup study found that employees who are engaged at work — and happy with their office culture — are 59% less likely to look for a different job in the next 12 months.

#4: Company leadership lacks direction

Rudderless drifting should never be mistaken for agility. If your team’s goals aren’t clear and you don’t know what your company’s leadership expects from you, it becomes impossible to succeed. 

#5: Engagement and performance are taking a nosedive

If you’re toiling in a toxic work culture and you don’t feel safe to share your ideas, then engagement, performance, and innovation all suffer. 

While these are five of the biggest indicators that your company culture is taking a nosedive, they’re not the only symptoms. Lack of employee development, departmental silos, poor communication, and a scattered organizational structure are all indicators of a broken company culture.

If any of these signs of a failing company culture sound familiar, it’s time to take immediate action.

3 steps to finding the fix for your broken company culture

Once you’ve identified your company’s most pressing issues, it’s time to focus on finding the fix. Here are three steps to help you confront and fix your company’s broken culture.

“The reality is you have to show it, and the bottom line is you show it by example, it’s what you do every day. It’s not saying you’re going to do something. It’s actually acting upon it,” notes Bart Marcum, Vaco Birmingham.

#1: Hold yourself and your leadership accountable

If something’s not right, speak up. It’s not easy, but it’s the only way to effect change. One of two things is bound to happen: either things will get better quickly or they won’t. If they don’t improve, it may be a sign that it’s time to find a new company culture to call home. Either way, you’ll feel much better.

In fact, this is the whole reason we started Vaco!

#2: Take the time to focus on fit. Company culture is important.

When a company’s culture is failing, it’s often the result of staffing issues. If your team is understaffed or poorly staffed, morale is going to suffer. 

Don’t be afraid to come up with a solution. If your company can’t accommodate full-time hires, strategic staffing may be the ticket. Vaco, for example, works hard to find candidates that complement your corporate culture. Finding the right fit is critical.

“Our culture is so special to us that we will sacrifice talent in hiring somebody to have the right culture fit,” says Renee Fisher, Executive Partner at Vaco.

#3: Foster a safe working environment

When your employees feel safe and supported, they’re more likely to produce more and innovate more. According to Gallup, just 32% of U.S. workers feel engaged by their jobs. 

Here at Vaco, we use the notion of “vulnerable leadership” as a guiding principle. We’re able to confront issues with each other in a constructive manner while leaving personal feelings outside of the room. We think a lot about practice vs. culture — and with good reason. We always put people first.

“I think what makes Vaco different from a lot of other companies is the fact that we are so driven by our culture as well as our people infusing that culture,” observes Tracey Power, Chief People Officer.

Looking to improve your company culture with the right people? Or maybe you’re ready to find your perfect team. Either way, Vaco can help. Contact Vaco today.

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