– By Kelly Batke, Director of Marketing, Jostle Corporation, www.jostle.me
You can fake a lot of things in this era, but strong workplace culture is not one of them.
Sadly there are a lot of companies out there ‘faking’ happy work environments. They loudly claim to have the best places to work but secretly the employees are unhappy and writing negative comments to employer review websites.
This level of desperation isn’t really much of a surprise considering how much emphasis has been put on culture these days. We read stories about companies like Zappos and we can’t help but to aspire to that, as we should. But it isn’t going to happen overnight, and it isn’t something that can be faked.
Here are seven signs that you may be faking your workplace culture:
1. You pretend to want feedback (but you only want the good stuff)
How open is your open door policy? Some companies won’t even conduct employee surveys because they fear unfavorable feedback. Don’t fear feedback. Embrace it; even the negative comments. I once worked in a company where there was a private suggestion box. Good idea in theory, but unfortunately the contents of the box were never shared with anyone, nor were the complaints addressed.
2. You don’t walk the talk
If your preach employee engagement, but instead conduct your workdays from a remote office in Tahiti, don’t expect the respect of your employees. If you truly want amazing culture, you need to be the poster-kid for this type of stuff. Yes, this sometimes means attending potlucks, office parties, and even playing the office Santa at Christmas.
3. You bribed your employees to give false positive reviews
Becoming a top employer should be a goal for your business, but it should stem from the integrity of the employees, not from fake reviews on other websites or award submissions. Also, eventually everyone spots a phony critique which will only contribute to a damaged reputation.
4. You tried to buy your culture
You invested in a big pool table, catered lunches, and a lounge room for afternoon naps. Heck you even stocked the fridge full of beer. This clearly is the best place to work right? Wrong. Ok, maybe even I am jealous of the catered lunches, but all the free stuff in the world can’t ‘buy’ your employees. Why? Because buying stuff is easy, creating and maintaining culture, not so much.
5. You think a motivational poster is the answer
I remember as a child seeing inspirational posters on my Dentist’s wall. I think it was supposed to make me feel like being there was a happy place—only it never worked. Adding a bunch of motivational posters to the wall only isn’t going to suddenly make your workplace an enjoyable atmosphere.
6. You ‘borrowed’ your mission statement from another company
Coming up with mission or vision statements is a tough job, but don’t be tempted to steal it from another company. Besides, most companies aren’t really doing a good job at this, so you would really only be stealing someone else’s poor word choices.
7. Your employees don’t understand what your values are
If you ask five random employees what your company’s core values are, do they know? Do they even care? Better yet, do they really define your company’s existence? Too often corporate values and company mission statements are full of convoluted jargon and are written by the wrong people, like your executives. If you want your values to reflect your people, involve your people.
“Real” culture stems from devoting time and energy into your people every single day. Not just one team building event, and not just by proclaiming it. Humor ay Work speaker Michael Kerr said it best: You Can’t Buy Your Culture at Walmart!
What are you doing at your workplace to keep things real?
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