Corporate culture is made up of behaviour, ideas, actions and beliefs that determine how employees feel and act, how the company’s employees work together and how the staff is treated, regarded and respected.

It is sometimes described as the personality of the business and can be influenced by:

  • Personnel
  • Hours of business
  • Processes and systems
  • Employee benefits
  • Employee relationships
  • The hierarchy and structure of the organisation
  • Staff turnover rates
  • External stakeholders
  • The recruitment process

What creates a negative corporate culture?

Every company is made up of unique personalities, influenced by its industry, location, nature of its work and countless other variables. A range of factors contribute to a negative company culture such as:

  • A management team that does not listen to its staff, or a team of managers with a focus on delegation, hierarchical separation and maintain non-collaborative practices such as closed-door policies.
  • A non-collaborative environment, where every member of the team works alone on their own projects and has a disincentive to assist their colleagues.
  • A heavily competitive environment, breeding insecurity and jealousy.
  • A culture of humiliation.
  • A strong inclination to assign blame.
  • A fear of failure amongst employees.
  • An atmosphere of extreme pressure.
  • A culture of negativity and bad mouthing, both by employees about their company and by employees about each other.
  • A lack of passion, pleasure and enjoyment.
  • A high staff turnover.
  • Any kind of special treatment or nepotism.
  • Sick leave, personal leave or annual leave time off discouraged.
  • Discrimination of any kind, including on the basis of race, gender or sexual preference.
  • A lack of diversity.

What creates a positive corporate culture?

  • Clear and considered company values.
  • Strong communication between all levels of management and staff, as well as the communication of corporate goals, issues and the current company trajectory.
  • The sharing of ideas.
  • A thorough recruitment process that doesn’t just focus on job specific skills, but also on personality traits that fit the company culture.
  • A focus on teamwork and collaboration, within an environment where each employee, regardless of their pay grade, is working towards the same goal.
  • Energised employees.
  • Clear role tasks and responsibilities.
  • A diverse workforce, made up of people from all different backgrounds, ages and demographics.
  • Employee opportunities and encouragement.
  • Helpful employees who want to help others where they can. At the same time, employees who take responsibility for their own work and avoid passing boring or difficult work to others.
  • High employee engagement.

Questions for your staff: 

  1. Do you feel appreciated, valued and heard?
  2. Do you feel a divide between the executive team and everyone else?
  3. Do you enjoy going to work?
  4. Are you passionate about what you do?
  5. Can you approach your boss with a problem?
  6. Is there a lot of negativity in your workplace?
  7. Does your workplace encourage unhealthy competition?
  8. Does your workplace encourage transparency?
  9. Do you ever feel intimidated or bullied?
  10. Is there any special treatment at your workplace?