Problems with your company culture? Look in the mirror!

by Michael Haberman on March 20, 2017 · 0 comments

Culture is a leadership issue.

Have your employees been leaving? Have your Glassdoor ratings not been where you would like them to be? Employee productivity not where you would like it to be? It is very likely you have a culture problem. Who is to blame?

Who creates the culture?

Every organization has a culture. Some have a good culture where people are recognized, valued and rewarded. The employees are energized by coming to work and their productivity is high and the company is one of the best places to work for. Other companies have poor cultures. Everyone feels there is a lack of respect. The employees don’t feel rewarded or engaged. They don’t feel valued. They feel like they are just a cog in the machine. They are not productive and they are very likely looking for employment someplace else.

If you’re in the latter company you have probably been told to do something in order to improve the situation. You may have been told to improve the culture. The bad news is that culture is not an HR department issue. Culture is a company issue. It is created by how employees are treated by management. It is created by how supervisor interact with employees on a daily basis. It is created by how employees interact with each other.

Employees have been disengaged

China Gorman, writing about a recent Gallup poll, says that over the past 16 years the needle on engagement has not moved at all. During that time less than one-third of employees report they are engaged with their work. That means that two-thirds of employees are either not engaged, or are actively disengaged. According to China engagement is a leadership issue. The HR department can only do so much about it. They are a function. They cannot create daily interactions that make people feel valued. That is a management job. They cannot create daily interactions that make people feel respected, that is a supervisory job. HR cannot create good working relationships between co-workers that is the responsibility of the employees.

Culture is the job of everyone

What research has shown, so says China, is that everyone has to work at making the culture work. If you leave it solely to the HR department you are doomed to fail. Not because they are not capable people, it is because culture does not come from the work of one department. Everyone has to work on it. HR can help others realize that and perhaps provide guidance on creating and maintaining a great culture but they cannot do it alone.

So the next time someone says the culture needs to be improved tell them to go look in the mirror to see who has the solution.

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