8 ways to ruin an office culture
While American businesses have become better able to increase productivity and improve margins, statistics show a decrease in employee engagement and rising unhappiness. In an effort to better understand how to build the right kind of office culture, where employees are happy, healthy and productive, Chris Reimer, communications strategist and author of Happywork, shares eight ways organizations create horrible office cultures. Is your organization guilty of any of these?
Hold the positive feedback, provide negative feedback.
"You don't want your people getting too high on themselves. Positive feedback is the cotton candy of HR tactics; you don't have time for this. On the flip side, these drones working for you aren't going to learn their lesson unless they stop making mistakes. They need to fear making mistakes. That way, mistakes simply won't happen!"
Take credit for the work of others.
"Hey, you hired them. The glory is yours. Besides, your employees probably would have been embarrassed had you publicly recognized their great idea and nose-to-the-grindstone effort."
Get employees to hyper-compete with each other.
"Yes, we're competing externally with a host of other talented, amazing companies. But competition begins from within, where employees duke it out in the employment octagon, leaving the most talented standing. We need to separate the wheat from the chaff; once that's done, we can start cooperating and going after our competitors."
Ignore the great ideas of your employees.
"In fact, don't even listen, unless it's an idea worth stealing (see No. 2). You're the one with the fancy degrees; these people work in lower positions for a reason, right? With a limited amount of precious time each day, mete out your listening carefully."
Keep dead weight around, but fire talent for no reason.
"And when it's time to cut off some heads, do it with extreme prejudice and impunity. It's best to keep your employees off-balance, sort of like a gunslinger making a poor sap dance by shooting at the ground near his feet. Keep 'em limber and focused!"
Haze outgoing employees.
"People quitting your organization are quitters. They need to feel pain for their betrayal, even if you're providing them a dangerous narrative to share via word of mouth, social media, blog posts, future speeches, and so on."
Keep tabs on employees by stalking social media.
"And if you get a sniff of something you don't like, ask for their personal passwords so you can log in and get the real scoop. Oh, you need not worry. It's probably not yet illegal in your state. And they're your employees; you deserve to know what they're doing online."
Ignore a work-life balance.
"We hired you to be here, working for us, and we expect you here. We don't have time for sick children, nor your own sniffles. Athletes play through pain every day. Why can't you and your kids do the same?"
Create a positive atmosphere.
As an employer, you can avoid this "house of horrors master plan,” and construct a happy workplace with healthy employees at the center. “Choose wisely, and good luck,” Reimer says. “No matter what your role at your company, you can be part of the problem- or part of the solution.”