Facing a Culture Problem? Take a Look at the 7 Steps to Turn It Around

We just covered the top 7 red flags that may indicate there’s a corporate culture problem in your organization. If you’re an employee, as pointed out, it may be easy to see these red flags and share your complaints, but what if you’re the actual leader?

Steps to turn around your culture problem

Steps to turn around your culture problem

Since corporate culture is generally believed to start at the top and move down, the responsibility is on your shoulders to make the changes that are going to shift your corporate culture and turn it into an environment where employees thrive.

But there’s just one problem…

Organization change is a huge undertaking.

It’s certainly not an overnight proposition, and there’s no magic formula to shifting a dull or downright toxic culture, but you can take some steps that will put you on the right path:


  1. It’s important to ensure the very top of your organization really recognizes there is a culture problem. If you’re not the number one leader, but you are a manager in a company, you have to make that higher up understand the realities of the problem, and even to just accept there is a problem at all. Once the top leaders are able to recognize a culture problem, it becomes easier to make the necessary changes to remedy it.
  2. Practice respect. Rather than trying to motivate employees through fear of consequences, motivate them by showing them they are valued and they are respected. This may mean changing the way leaders behave and the way they interact with employees.
  3. Make time for face-to-face interactions with employees. If you are the leader of a company, you set the tone for everything in that organization, and in particular the corporate culture, yet how are your employees supposed to identify with you and work to continue a positive culture if they see you as distant or uninvolved? Spend the time getting to know employees, letting them know you’re there and just being a part of the organization. Similarly, make yourself accessible at any time. Encourage employees to come in your office, practice an open-door policy and keep lines of communication open.
  4. Take steps to focus not just on weakness of employees, but also strengths. Many companies with a poor corporate culture are those where the spotlight is always shining on weakness and gaps, but instead you can focus on strengths, and then build upon those to reduce and eliminate those same weaknesses and gaps. When you’re able to utilize the strengths of employees you’re not only building a better corporate culture, but you’re also going to improve performance and engagement.
  5. Be clear with communication. There’s face-to-face communication which is vital and we mentioned above, but communicate as much as possible to employees in other ways as well—develop and employee newsletter and send out weekly email updates. By communicating with your employees on a consistent and regular basis they’re going to feel like you’re being honest and transparent, and they’re also going to be clearer on what’s expected of them, which means a stronger culture.
  6. Emphasize decision making on the part of employees. A great corporate culture is one where employees are well-trained and educated, and feel comfortable making their own decision. A good culture depends on empowered employees, who are not only confident but truly equipped to act autonomously and without fear. A good way to start incorporating these concepts into your culture is by taking on a comprehensive corporate training and development program where employees have the necessary tools and resources to be empowered, but also to be successful.
  7. Celebrate the good, along with working on the bad. Corporate culture that’s less than optimal tends to be one where failures and problems are the focal point of everything within that organization, and while problem-solving and closing deficiencies is vital, you should also work to create a culture that plays on the positive. When something good happens, it’s okay to celebrate it, and the result is going to be a balanced workplace where everyone doesn’t feel constantly weighed down by the negative.

If you’re an organization leader, how do you develop and maintain a strong corporate culture?

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September 30, 2014   Updated :March 17, 2015   culture, retention, talent management   

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