In an international survey conducted by Glassdoor amongst workers from the US, UK, France and Germany, a majority of respondents agreed that corporate culture mattered more than salary when it came to job satisfaction, which makes sense, doesn’t it?
While examples of poor corporate culture continue to make headlines, it’s important to remember that toxic cultures don’t happen overnight. More often than not, the transition is gradual with tell-tale signs along the way and ample opportunity to intervene. If you’re worried that your own work culture is on the way out, here are four red flags to look out for.
Morale is nonexistent
Consider morale the “check engine” light for corporate culture. If morale is high, employees are happy and feel satisfied with their roles and workplace. If morale is universally low, that’s a sign there’s something wrong, but not necessarily cause for panic.
Low morale can be characterized by any of the following: lack of initiative amongst employees, poor performance, changes in attitude amongst team members (more on that later), and a general lack of enthusiasm. It’s also usually a sign that people are ready to jump ship, which means it’s time for companies to take a deep look inward and ask themselves why this is so prevalent.
“That’s not my job”
This is probably the most stereotypical sign of a less-than-ideal work culture, and for good reason. And yes, while we don’t advocate doing someone else’s job for them in addition to your own, we all need a little help sometimes. Employees should operate as a team, and as the saying goes, “One team, one dream.” If the response to asking a colleague for help is “that’s not my job”, then chances are, your staff probably isn’t working as a team.
Burnout is rampant
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization included burnout in its International Classification of Diseases, marking a new era in workplace norms and sending Twitter into a frenzy in the process.
According to the WHO, “Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and, reduced professional efficacy.”
Being busy is one thing, being burned out is another. It’s critical that employees know the difference, and managers are not only able to recognize it, but also address it. If you need some help identifying signs of burnout in your employees (or yourself), you can find our guide to combating burnout here.
Disrespect is the norm
Another tell-tale sign of somewhere you don’t want to work, and, again, for very good reason. At the very minimum, coworkers should treat each other with respect. If that isn’t happening, sound the alarm. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, but do find an HR director that can put you back on track.
Contrary to popular opinion, HR actually benefits a corporate culture - they’re not the party or policy police. Think of corporate culture as glue - if a culture is good, everything stays together. If a culture is bad, everything falls apart. HR Directors make sure there’s enough glue to keep the company intact.
Peerfit has been very intentional about keeping culture a top priority from the start, but even if a company doesn’t clearly define what their culture is, employees can still feel it. What do your employees feel?