Are the Best Workplace Cultures Really Pain Free?

Don’t let workplace culture pain points get in the way

We’re all a little preoccupied with our health at the moment. That makes sense…

But leaders mustn’t lose sight of their organizational health.

Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that your company culture remains robust. Some of the bandaid solutions you’ve been employing in the past are probably tattered, exposing systemic wounds and weaknesses.

With most of your team working remotely, it’s an excellent time to do an in-depth examination of your workplace culture pain points.

You have an opportunity to inspire meaningful, lasting changes to your company’s health and well-being.

You just need some expert advice to get started…

If I ignore it, it’ll go away

My husband spent years managing pain radiating down his legs. For someone who is active – golfing and skiing – taking time out for surgery seemed like a prison sentence.

So he tolerated the pain, suppressing it with over-the-counter painkillers…and ignored the problem.

The breaking point? When it became too painful to lift his grandson. Suddenly, the pain of doing nothing had outstripped the perceived pain of undergoing professional treatment. He was forced into action.

Is your company culture on over-the-counter painkillers?

A US-based Gallup survey conducted in 2018 showed a meager uptick in employee engagement. An anemic 34% of workers indicated they were “engaged” in their jobs.

The majority of employees – 53% – were “not engaged”, while another 13% were “actively disengaged”.

In summary, 7 out of 10 employees were collecting a paycheque and not putting out their very best work.

Clearly, leaders are not identifying deep-rooted workplace culture pain points. As a result, too many workplaces are chronically ill. Everyone is resigned to the situation, though, because the pain isn’t that acute.

Engagement surveys tell leadership that their employees aren’t inspired…but what is being done about it?

Don’t wait for the inevitable trip to the emergency room

There’s danger in living with managed pain…

Think of Wells Fargo, whose culture of inter-branch competitiveness encouraged falsifying customer accounts.

Or Volkswagen’s “no failure” culture, which resulted in doctored vehicle emissions data.

And let’s not forget about BP’s profits-over-safety culture – the inspiration for Hollywood’s dark depiction in Deepwater Horizon.

In every case, the bottom line – and the future potential of the organization – was impacted.

Is it possible your corporate culture has some hidden ailment waiting to rupture?

Diagnosis the disease accurately and you’ll reveal the cure quickly

When you’re feeling less than 100% there are three ways to handle things:

  1. Treat it like something that’s going to pass and wait it out. Pop a cough drop or aspirin and move on.
  2. Go to a doctor. Leave their office with a prescription and get some relief.
  3. Visit a specialist who runs a complete set of diagnostics, find the root cause of the pain, and a permanent solution.

In my husband’s case, the pain in his legs was actually the result of a disc problem in his mid-back. It was nothing to do with the mechanics of his legs. They were simply where the malady manifested itself.

Are you still stuck simply managing the symptoms of poor performance? If you don’t take time to do a proper diagnosis you’re destined to keep limping along…that’s where our globally-recognized culture assessment tools can help.

Once you’ve found the root of the problem, all that’s left is setting out your treatment plan.

Find a cure that works for your team

Imagine going to the doctor because of a pain in your knee. He orders an x-ray and it reveals mild arthritis.

His next step is ordering another x-ray at a different clinic.

A month later you’re still in pain so the doctor sends you for another x-ray at a lab across town.

The arthritis still persists, and you now have three x-rays to prove it.

This is what repeated engagement surveys look like to your team. They’ve told you they’re feeling disengaged – the problem has been identified. The staff feels empowered and there’s a brief burst of enthusiasm and common purpose.

Six months later you conduct another survey to find out if your team is disengaged because the injection of interest has worn off…and nothing has changed.

This pattern can be frustrating for your Human Resources team.

An expert visits and conducts an engagement survey, presents their findings, you meet and discuss the findings, and have one-to-one conversations with each and every staff member to let them air their grievances. Problem solved, right? Wrong.

Or, leaders get detailed specifics on employee turnover – a surefire indication of an unhealthy company culture. But, instead of diving into the reasons why staff aren’t sticking around, HR recruiters are told to do a better job of attracting “the right people”.

Sound familiar?

What’s so great about beating your head against a brick wall…?

It feels so good when you stop.

It’s time to stop measuring engagement and embark on a meaningful exploration of your company culture…most importantly, the workplace culture pain points that are standing between you and sustainable corporate health.

Having a team that can “push through the pain” and still deliver moderately good results shouldn’t be a point of pride. You’re all facing enough challenges in the marketplace – a dysfunctional corporate culture shouldn’t be one of them.

Be prepared for some surprises when looking into your company culture. You may discover that what you assumed was trickling down from leadership is actually being diverted, diluted, even polluted, downstream.

Some of the values you thought were inherent to your organization might have all but vanished out in the field.

Some of those values might be outdated or irrelevant.

You’ll learn valuable insights about what drives your team if you take the time to really dig in and explore every aspect of your company’s culture. Not just the level of engagement…but the level of inspiration.

We can help you find an accurate diagnosis…and design a treatment plan that fits your unique environment. Contact us and we’ll get started.

Did you enjoy this article? You might find these helpful as well.

COVID 19 Survey Tells the Tale of Changing Workplace Cultures
Are You Preserving Your Culture During the Covid19 Crisis?
How to Reveal the Barriers to Business Success Concealed Within Your Culture

This article was originally published in 2018, and has been updated in 2020 just for you!

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