Ask anyone in the workforce, company culture matters. According to Built In’s research, 47% of job seekers say that company culture is the number one driver behind looking for work, and people who don’t like their company’s culture are more likely to quit. 

Gone are the days of accepting a poor company culture environment for the sake of job security. Nowadays, employees don’t feel obligated to stay at a company if it means they’re unhappy. This is great for employees and those entering into the workforce, but this has severe repercussions for business leaders and owners if they aren’t taking their company culture seriously. 

What’s even more alarming is you may not even realize that your company culture could be lacking. Business leaders are busy, and checking culture can get pushed to the bottom of their to-do list. Also, the signs can sometimes be very subtle and difficult to notice. But, once you start looking for the warning signs, the negative shift in your company can no longer be ignored. 

Here are the tell-tale signs that your company culture is heading to bummerville: 

You Can’t Hold On To Employees 

In companies with a bad atmosphere, people are typically more open about job hunting. If there is a healthy organizational culture and the needs of the employees are consistently being met, then people will stay and look for opportunities to grow within the company. If negativity is commonplace and no one is actively looking for solutions, then change may be a long way off.

Employee turnover is a hard beast to tackle. Once one employee leaves, it starts to spark some fear or questioning in other employees. They can begin to wonder if they should stick around or start looking elsewhere. 

Trust Is Lacking 

Trust is essential for every business to run efficiently. If you’re always worried about being honest with your direct support, or if you don’t feel comfortable bringing certain issues to the right people, then how will you be expected to do your best work? 

If employee trust is an issue, then fear becomes a problem and can spread rapidly through company echelons. When people become fearful of speaking up about toxic culture, they tend to leave rather than wait to see the tide turn. Trust is the foundation that holds the company together. When it becomes shaky, then negativity can spread, and you will find your company will be underperforming in all areas.

Communication Is Broken

If you are continually seeing projects being stalled or notice that people aren’t touching base with other departments when needed, then you have a communication issue to address. Failure to be transparent in all aspects can cause significant problems throughout a company, large or small. Employee engagement and interaction needs to be developed before communication can improve. And if management is not listening, then the disconnect could not be more extensive. 

Try to create teams and concentrate on the “we” rather than “I” to develop stronger bonds. Utilize tools, like Slack, that help improve communication. Encourage regular meetings that allow departments to synch up on key projects quickly. Utilize project management software that makes it easy to delegate tasks and provide status updates so everyone can stay up to speed. 

Employees Don’t Feel Valued 

Employees will quickly lose interest and motivation if they don’t feel valued or are not rewarded for their efforts. Now, I’m not saying you have to give your employees a gift every time they do something well. But, make sure you at least are letting them know you appreciate them and all that they do for you and the company. 

If you start to notice that the number of sick days is increasing, staff turnover is on the rise, or overall moral seems down, then start asking yourself if you’re showing your appreciation enough. Recognition needs to come from all directions for it to take effect, including colleagues and management. Without it, commitment to the business will be nonexistent.

Micromanagement Is Happening 

Being micromanaged makes work feel intolerable. Micromanagement creates feelings of discouragement, fear, and doubt, and it doesn’t empower your employees to perform at their best and to grow in their roles. For people to feel like their jobs are rewarding, they need more opportunities for autonomy and guidance. Feedback should be provided from a place of care and received only when necessary. Employees should make their own decisions, offer challenges, and the chance to use their initiatives. This will allow their passion and a sense of purpose to thrive. 

If you feel like there’s a chance your management is teetering on micromanaging, instill practices that will help scale it back. Challenge your team to practice more of a hands-off approach and to keep their reports accountable for their actions and strategies. 

Core Values Are Ignored

This should be a given, but if a company does not live and breathe its core values, its culture will be severely lacking. And while a company evolves due to growth or development, it must stick to its initial values or at least update them. 

Place your core values in a place where everyone can see them. Make them a part of the daily routine by mentioning them in meetings where applicable. Evaluate the performance of your management team based on how well they uphold those values. And make sure you give reports the ability to provide feedback on their managers based on their ability to live up to those values. 

Company culture changes with backing from executives and constant communication, training, and mentoring. Make sure that your company communicates its expectations regularly and rewards those who demonstrate and promote a positive culture. Make company culture a priority, and over time you’ll see the fruits of your labor take root.