3 Reasons Most Company Cultures Suck (And How to Fix Them)

I’ve been thinking a lot about company culture lately and what it means to do it right. As Tanga’s CEO, it’s my job to map out a culture my employees can feel good about it; to be the head cheerleader, minus the skirt (even though I’ve got the legs for it).

Numbers don’t lie. In the book Corporate Culture and Performance John Kotter and James Heskett note that in culture-rich companies:

  • Revenues are 682% higher
  • Stock prices are 902% higher
  • Valuations are 100% higher
  • Job growth is 282% higher

But a lot of companies have it wrong. Their culture doesn’t exist or is lost in the shuffle of day-to-day desk jockeying. It sucks, for the employees, for management, and the growth of the company.

The top 3 ways companies (and their CEOs) are screwing it up?

They Aren’t Communicating Their Vision

People want to solve hard problems and do big things. That’s the vision. It has to be at the center of the culture. Repeat it over and over and over until you’re sick of hearing yourself. Show people what you want to have happen. And find cool ways to talk about it. We use movie poster mock-ups to communicate our major projects and get everyone in the company psyched about what they work on and how it fits into the big picture.

They Aren’t Recognizing Their Employees

Employees need to be invested in their work, and you have to show them that it’s appreciated. If you’re the CEO, you can’t see all the good stuff they’re doing. Why not ask your managers to fill you in so you can say nice job? Recognize them with birthday cards, handwritten thank you cards, and emails throughout the year. And celebrate your employees’ successes. On of my favorite memories of 2014 was taking all employees and their families to Disneyland to thank them for an epic year. The way you celebrate doesn’t have to be this big; but it should happen.

They Aren’t Involving Employees in the Culture

You can’t dictate culture; you guide it and get your employees to help create it. They can’t feel like they’re really a part of it unless they get the fun of building it, too. Tanga has a Culture Crew (made up of employees) that plans awesome things for us to do-tailgate parties, kickball games, service projects, theme days-so we can build a culture together.

When companies don’t make culture a priority bad things happen. There’s no glue holding your employees together; no secret sauce on your burger. Good news is that it’s never too late make it better.