Employees leave companies because of bad bosses, but they also exit because of bad cultures. What constitutes a culture gone wrong? Negativity, lack of recognition, all work and no play, stagnant personal growth, disrespect, mistrust, low engagement and suppressed innovation can all sour a workplace persona.
The only good thing about a bad culture is that it can change.
According to Maria Hernandez, founder of InnoGuía and a business coach who helps individuals, teams and companies to create cultures of engagement and innovation, “It’s not easy to transform a deeply rooted culture, but it can be done with the right mindset and coaching.”
Corporate cultures, like all cultures, have at their core a set of beliefs and related behaviors that get reinforced and perpetuated over time. For a culture to change, beliefs at the individual level have to undergo revision, starting with those of company leaders who have the most influence within an organization and who set examples for other employees to follow. “Coaching is a great start,” said Hernandez, “but the newly evangelized have to walk the talk.”
Hernandez views the coaching she does as preventative as much as a cure. “Companies should begin learning how to emanate aspects of other great places to work and start educating employees before a culture is tainted. It’s far more cost-effective to get everyone on the culture bus early than it is to replace talent due to constant turnover. “
Operating from the premise that employees who are respected, feel connected, are free to innovate, and have a sense of contribution will be more passionate as well as happier, Hernandez has seen through experience that those cultural attributes can be learned. Performance improves and so do bottom line results.
Employees often don’t realize the power they have to be agents of change and even influence culture from the bottom up. That’s why coaching also has to be pervasive and company-wide for teams and even one-on-one. If everyone can learn to work with integrity, inspiration, innovation and collaboration for a common cause, powerful transformation can occur.
Third-party training can bring the greatest benefits to a business. Employees are more likely to listen to a credible, outside source than a peer or supervisor. Once a corporate team learns new skills and consistently uses them, however, they become mutual reciprocity influencers to help build and foster a revived culture.