What to Do When Company Culture Just Isn’t Thriving

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Healthy corporate culture has the power to strengthen a company’s brand, improve productivity, and increase retention. “…a strong company culture attracts better talent and, more importantly, retains that talent,” per Forbes.

Most company leaders have long been aware of the benefits of strong corporate culture. But what should be done when company culture just isn’t thriving and doesn’t seem to be responding to cultural change initiatives? Try making two simple tweaks.

#1 Prioritize Positivity to Shake Up Company Culture

Positivity is often at the core of strong corporate culture, yet many workplace atmospheres feel anything but positive. The percentage of employees who are dissatisfied at work proves this. In Canada, just 84 percent of workers are engaged in their jobs.  

There are many causes of disengagement, and one is negative company culture. This doesn’t always look like coworkers gossiping about one another or managers barking orders at employees. A negative culture can be subtle. For example, employees feeling consistently undervalued can signal negative corporate culture.

Creating a more positive company culture has little to do with promoting a generic message that everyone has what it takes to succeed, though that may be true. To foster an authentically positive, engaging culture, focus on simply acknowledging specific things individual employees are doing well. This sounds simple but can be very effective.

#2 — Deemphasize Competition

A little competition in the workplace can be healthy. It can also easily get out of hand and contribute to corporate culture that is self-seeking, divided, and stress-promoting. Company leaders often create this type of culture unknowingly, by innocently putting together contests designed to boost productivity. Here’s why this can be counterproductive:

“In ‘Drive – The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us’, author Daniel Pink shares research that shows that extrinsic motivation, such as competition and cash rewards doesn’t last. Only intrinsic motivation – the drive to do well, the urge for a ‘job well done’ is what really drives performance,” stated Business.com.

To increase productivity and performance, deemphasize competition. Instead, offer praise and recognition to workers. This not only makes for a more positive company culture, as discussed earlier, but also neutralizes competition so that corporate culture can heal and thrive.  

Be Persistent in Building Stronger Corporate Culture

Sometimes remedies for weak corporate culture don’t work. When this happens, the worst thing you can do is give up on building a stronger culture. Keep trying new things to shake corporate culture out of its lackluster state. Eventually you will find what works best for your company.

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